Trip Start Jan 17, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Brazil  ,
Monday, January 28, 2008

So we´re back safe and sound from junglin, although a little redder than usual and covered in mosquito bites - even a record 11 on my face... sexy, eh? After being hounded by dodgy touts, we did a bit of our own research and went with Gero´s tours (who were excellent) for four days and three nights. It was so nice to just get away from the city dirt and spend our days canoeing around beautiful green waterways.  A few highlights...

Nature spotting
We saw graceful river dolphins (although I didn´t get to see the pink ones so I´m going to have to come back), angry baby caimen, mishievious capuchin monkeys, hirsute tarantulas, electric blue butterflies, deadly snakes and our old favourite, the slothful sloth. 

Near Death experiences
1) Narrowly missed being attacked by a one of the most deadly vipers in the Amazon, whilst jungle trekking.  Fortunately it went for our friend Matiaus behind me instead, and perhaps more fortunately, it missed him and Matt accidently stepped on it´s head. (don´t worry it survived!)
2) Getting the canoe tightly wedged between two trees in the flooded forest, in the middle of nowhere and with the river full of vengeful piranhas and potentially anacondas (I´ve seen the film).
3) Digging for manioc root - the juice of which is concentrated cyanide.  Instead, we saw it processed into one of the staple foods on the region, resembling cous cous but harder and tasting like corn flakes.
4) Monkey chasing - running through the rainforest in the rain jumping over fallen tree trunks into mud pools.  The rascals were still too quick for us on that occasion.

Myths & Legends
Not a legend as such, but apparently if you are lost in the jungle then it is probably because a snake has hynotised you into walking round in circles, so he can lure you to his lair and then eat you.  In this situation all you apparently need to do is turn your clothes inside out so the snake is fooled into thinking you are a different person and you can quickly escape.  Not too convinced, however if I am ever in that situation, I´m sure I´d be willing to give anything a try.

Jungle discoveries
Orgasmically good pineapple.
Hammocks are exceedingly comfortable to sleep on (esp if you approach them diagonally) although getting out is slightly more tricky.
Amazon men do no work on a Sunday as they are out playing football and looking for wives.

Most Magical moments
Generally snoozing and cruising on the river
Warm night in the canoe for caimen spotting, clear sky full of stars, fireflies cracking all around us, lighting storm flashes in the distance and the air full of mysterious creatures calling to each other across the water.
The look on Liser´s face after we ate squirming white grubs alive (very `` I´m a Celebrity´´) - apparently they´re full of protein if you get lost and surprisingly tasty (of coconut).
Swimming in the Amazon river with our group and an Amazon family - in bright sunshine with dolphins on the other side of the river and water flowers drifting pass us. 

Jewel of the Amazon
Manaus itself (the city in the middle of the jungle) is not particularly spectacular - it´s a free trade zone so there are many electronics factories and wholesale shops. But we did visit the stunning Teatro Amazonas - an elegant european Opera House built in the 1890´s as the area was being exploited by the Europeans for natural rubber, where the well to do could socialise.  The building is beautifully finished with tiles imported from Alsace (obviously, close to my own heart), italian chandeliers and beautiful fine woods, and it´s a shame we couldn´t attend one of the many free performances still held there - especially from one of the ornate gallery boxes.

Anyhow, we´re off to meet up with Kel and Helen for a few days on the North Eastern beaches before Carnival officially starts.  Will update blog after the hangover subsides...

lots of love, Fran x
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starlagurl on

Piiiiiiiineapple. I can just imagine how juicy and sweet it must have been. Aw...

Louise Brown
TravelPod Community Manager

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