Sunday, January 23, 2011

Manaus, Brazil

Today we arrived in Manaus, Brazil a bustling city of 2-3 million people that is Brazil’s gateway to the Amazon Jungle. Before arriving we were bombarded with information about how dangerous Brazil can be. Violent crime on tourists is rare, but muggings and theft is common. It has been drilled into our heads to travel in groups. So, we headed out with a group of 12. Before we were even out of the port it seemed like a bad idea. Within the first 500 yards we stopped four to six times for photos, someone peaking into a store, the group getting too spread out, etc. This was definitely not making us safer. If anything we were now a more obvious target. We soon found a bank with 15-20 ATMs inside a lobby. While some people were getting money we decided to split into two groups and meet up later at the Opera House. That worked really well and the six of us who already had money left.

We headed to the Amazon Teatro or the Opera House. It’s the most beautiful building in the town. As we stepped inside we saw other people were filling the seats. We followed the crowd and in about 20 minutes a beautiful classical performance started. Wow, were we surprised! What great timing! We had no idea. The conductor was wonderful to watch. He was really a dancer with a baton and all the musicians responded to his moves. Manaus is considered the classical capitol of Brazil and they are very proud of their beautiful building.

The balcony in Amazon Teatro

After the performance Julie and I split off from the group because we wanted to go to the Manaus Hostel to inquire about another hostel in the jungle. We wanted to sign up for a tour and we had found the place online. There are a lot of tourist scams and everything we read about Manaus and Amazon jungle tours says to book tours in person at a hotel or the tour office. We were glad we followed that advice because apparently the place was fake. Hostels generally know about each other and they had never heard of the place. We went to three tour operators and ended up booking with the one located in the hostel called Amazon Antonio Jungle Tours. Our trip goes up north a couple hours from Manaus up the Rio Urubu. This river is more acidic which means fewer mosquitoes, which will be particularly nice in malaria country. We leave in the morning for 3 days and two nights in the Amazon jungle.

We came back to the ship for dinner because there is not much open on Sunday in Manaus and I am not feeling well. I picked up a cold from Julie last night. She’s fine now, but I’m stuffy and tired. She went out Samba dancing with some other friends, but I’m staying in tonight and hoping to rest up and feel better before our jungle tour.


Jerry said...

Sounds great, except for the part about the cold. Have fun!

Laurie said...

Hi there- I stumbled upon your blog and hope you don't mind me following. I was an LLC on Spring 09 voyage and I loved every minute of it! I especially miss those fun nights of Mafia in the F & S lounge that you mentioned! :) Thank you for sharing your journey!

francesdasher said...

Where are you? Have not received any blogs for a while. Hope you are having a great time and are both felling well. I finally got on the blog from Semester at Sea because I was worried about you.