The ridiculously gorgeous sunset in the Amazons
We left Tabitinga on our boat on Saturday afternoon. Once you´ve been on one of these river boats one or two times, it kind of gets monotonous. The Amazon river is huge, really huge. When you think of the Amazon, one tends ot think of wild animals and snakes and pristine rainforest but it was not like this at all on the trip from Tabatinga
. This part of the Amazon is stomped on quite a bit. There are small towns scattered on the side of the river quite frequenty and oil refineries throughout. While watching the jungle go by on the boat, it would be jungle for a while then all of a sudden there would be a large part cleared out of trees and there would be cattle grazing there.
Sleeping kitten on Em's lap
For obvious reasons, wildlife is sparse in these parts except for a few birds. No wonder they say "Save the Rainforest!" - its getting ravaged. We should mention that the forest soil is terrible for grazing or agriculture because the nutrients are not on the topsoil but in the living plants and animals, thus cutting trees results in quick draining of the soil, which results in permanent damage to the forest. *sigh* Despite these depressing realizations, the boat ride is still relaxing and quite beautiful. The aspect that we found the most beautiful was the Amazonian sky, epecially the sunrises and sunsets. Because the Amazons drops about 200 meters in altitude between Iquitos, Peru and Belem, Brasil (that´s over 3000 kilometers) the jungle is incredibly flat. This makes for amazing sunsets and if you are awake sunrises, you can see clouds for hundreds of miles and moving scnenery of forest and water just compound to make a dazzling landscape.
The theater paid by a rubber baron and brought by boat from Europe
After four days of floating, we finally made it to Manaus, the jungle city. Welcome to Brazil! This city is quite hot and humid. We made some fellow traveller friends on the boat and banned together to find a cheap hostel. After a little bit of searching, some fumbling around in Portugese, and a lot of help from Brazilians, we found a great hostel. Our first day we had our first eat-by-kilo meal. It sounds gross, but it is delicious since Brazilians have really good food. The rest of the day we walked around Manaus out of which the theater jumped out, a large pink structure with a multicolored, mosaic dome. That night we saw game 3 of the NBA finals, and decided that trying as hard as we were to watch the games, maybe was not worth it. Damn you people! Can´t you shoot higher than 36% from the floor?! Madening... The rest of our time we walked around the city, enjoyed ourselves, relaxed, and watched Pirates of the Caribbean 3, which was good but too long. By the by, Manaus as mentioned earlier, is part of the "civilized" Amazons where if it wasn´t for the sporadic rain, the huge river that runs by it, and the ridiculous humidity, you could be in New York (actually I think I just described NYC in the summer). And just like that, we were off to the airport to cut time from the floating down the river ordeal and hopefully make it back to Santiago when we are supposed to.