Sandwiched around our time in the jungle, we spent a few days in Manaus. This city pretty much exists as the gateway to the Amazon.
On our first full day, we visited the Opera House, built in the late 1800s with rubber baron money.
Here’s part of the inside of the opera house:
The plaza surrounding it is lovely. The stones on the ground are designed to look like the Meeting of the Waters, just outside Manaus. This is where the Amazon River and the Black River meet and run side by side for miles before finally starting to mix.
We also walked around town and found some neat old buildings:
The craft market and a beautiful painting:
We also tried our first by-weight restaurant (great for me, by the way, because there is often lots of fruit):
We took a ferry across to see the Meeting of the Waters:
We also saw buildings on stilts in the town on the other side (to accommodate tide changes), and this cool one with lily pads:
After a few days there, we headed down to the docks for a five-day boat ride down the river… Not a cruise, a boat ride. Crucial difference.
These aren’t our boats, but they’re similar:
How closely the hammocks are spaced:
Here is a short video of a little boat coming to sell stuff to passengers on the fourth day. Sorry, you’ll have to go to YouTube with that link – I can’t embed the video on here from my phone.
A boat selling watermelon, and a woman selling meals at the docks:
How to transport ducks (sad day):
We bought juice from a vendor – passion fruit on the left and acerola on the right:
People tossed plastic bags of clothes off the deck during the last leg of the trip, and locals came out to fish them out of the water. The idea is nice – help out the poor. But handouts like this don’t help – they make people dependent. They need social programs, not goods donations.
Another video, of homes along the river.
Photos of a couple river homes. These are a good day away from town by boat.
We spent a lot of time reading and sleeping, and we ate ramen every day. Cheaper than the so-so boat food, at least.
This trip was long but beautiful. I probably should have some deep insightful thing to say, but I don’t. Sorry. It was tedious, but we enjoyed it, and we met some interesting people along the way.