Day 13 – Monday, January 17 – Manaus, Brazil

We are into our second day in Manaus. I had some difficulty last night with the internet and not all of my photographs were published. Hopefully the connection will be better today. As I said yesterday, our excursion was fantastic. Our guide, Conrado, was very experienced and spoke English extremely well in addition to his native Portuguese and some Japanese. He has done contract work with the Discovery Channel, the BBC and the TV series Survivor.

Manaus is a city with many colors and extremes. There are many opulent buildings which date from the rubber boom period of the late 1800’s until the early 1900’s. The most obvious example of this is the Opera House, built at the peak of the boom. The entire building was manufactured in Europe and shipped to Manaus, as were many other buildings of this period. In the other extreme are vast areas of slums and river people developments. These very low income areas are the results of immigrants who came to Manaus seeking wealth in the city. Unfortunately most of these people had little skills and were illiterate. The results were the same as has been seen over the world for centuries. They had no work, no money, and no place to live. Life becomes a daily struggle just to survive. According to our guide today on the city/Opera House tour, the government is trying to help the situation by giving families a onetime stipend of 25,000 Reals, about $15,000 if they will move back to their original homes, most in the rainforest. The alternative is to offer public housing if they decide to stay. As our guide said, this is like giving someone a fish instead of teaching them to fish. The result is a society who still cannot sustain themselves but are dependent on the government. Sound familiar?

I apologize for the photography. I have reduced the resolution to make uploading faster. Also as you will note, there is no blue skies. It has been rainy and cloudy off and on for the past two days, but what did we expect, this is the rainforest and the real rainy season is only just beginning.

Slum housing in Manaus. This photo was taken in the downtown area.

Government housing. These apartments were located less than one-half mile from the slum area.

Below are several Photos of the Opera House, a very beautiful building inside and out.

Below are a few more examples of the color in Manaus.

The Prison, at least it looks nice on the outside!

 

For those of you have adventured this far in today’s posting, I will write a few words about the ship’s entertainment. It has been excellent! As a general rule we have a different entertainer each night. They produce two shows, one at 8:00PM and as second at 10:00PM. The variety has been outstanding. So far we have had singers, dancers, instrumentalists, comedians, a juggler and tonight a harpist, Shirley Dominguez. Now normally going to see someone play the harp is not exactly at the top of my list of fun things to do. I did go tonight with the understanding that I would leave if I felt it necessary. Well, I did not leave and must say this was one of the best performances we have had. Ms Dominguez is a native of Uruguay but has lived in the United States as well as other countries. She played a selection of classic pieces as well as several original compositions.

The entertainers usually come on board and stay for 3 or 4 days, depending on the next large port of call. During this time you the do their one night of performance and then you will see them around the ship. It is not unusual to chat with them in one of the bars around the pool or even have lunch with them. On a ship this small you have an opportunity to get to know the “celebrities”. Not only do you have a chance to meet the entertainers but the crew as well. The other night as I passed through the library I found the captain reading in the public room and available for anyone to say hello or have a conversation. We already know many of the crew by name and surprisingly many of them know us. I expect before the cruise is over we will feel like a small community.

Now to answer a comment posted the other day:

Comment:

This is a great post today. Very informative. It is so hard to obtain any information about the ports in the Amazon. I loved the photos. They add so much. Did you do an organized tour with the boat or reserve the trek yourself? Also how is the weather? Is it sticky, sunny and hot or rainy, cloudy and misty? I can understand it’s a lot of work putting the blog/diary together but you will be so happy at the end of your voyage to have a detailed account of your experiences. Thank you again for sharing with us. BTW is there anything you forgot to bring that you wish you would of now that you’ve been on the ship for a week?

Hi Paul,

Thanks for your kind comments. The climate is about like we have in Georgia during the summer. I am sure you would consider it hot and sticky. The temperature today is about 87 and the humidity is probably 80-90%. We are accustomed to this type climate but many of the passengers from Canada and Europe are not faring so well..

The Santarem Trapajos National Forrest tour was a HAL tour. It was well organized, but I would have preferred a tour with fewer persons. There were about 45 people total but we split into two groups when we actually entered the forest so it wasn’t too bad.

As for what did we not bring that we wish we had? I really can’t l think of anything. The one change I will do next time is: I will not bring as many clothes. We have (and from this point forward, will always purchase) unlimited laundry. The turnaround has never been more than one day and sometimes it gets returned the same day. The only problem for a trip like this which encompasses 4 seasons is the type of clothing to carry. I personally brought too many winter clothes, but I expected to be spending a lot of time on deck taking photographs during the Antarctic phase of the journey. After our luggage was shipped, we were upgraded to a veranda cabin, and I now expect to do much of the photography from the veranda where I can frequently move in and out of the room and will require less heavy clothes.

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2 Responses to Day 13 – Monday, January 17 – Manaus, Brazil

  1. Paul (100+) says:

    Hi Wendell,
    Some great posts the past few days. It sounds like you’re having a great time both on the ship as well as off the ship. You indicated that you are spending some time uploading photos on the website. Have you met KweenKaren who was also on the Cruise Critic forum and a friend of the other Karen who organized all the tours? She is also doing a blog with lots of photos but she is converting her blog into adobe pdf files before uploading which I believe are much smaller and quicker to upload. You may want to talk to her to see how she does it because I can only guess it would save you some time (and some money).
    Have you spoken to other guests who went did the (expensive) overnight tour or the evening “croc” hunt in Manaus? I am curious because I am debating between staying in Manaus and seeing the local sites like you did or skipping that and getting more deep into the jungle like the overnight tour did. What would you suggest. We have been to other rainforests previously so I don’t know how much different it would be.
    Looking forward to the next post(s).
    Thanks,
    Paul

  2. Rick and Cindy says:

    Wendell…I haven’t missed a day our your updates. They are great! The comment of the year so far is “sound familiar” about the fish give away! Keep up the great work and have a rum and tab for me!

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