Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Manaus: Gateway to the Amazon

In all the times I've visited family in Brazil, I never had the opportunity to visit the Amazon rainforest. This trip I finally made it happen. I started in Manaus, the capital of the state of Amazonas, Brazil.

I am a theater girl at heart, so when I visited the Teatro Amazonas in Manaus I was floored by how gorgeous it is. An orchestra was in rehearsal when I visited, so I had to resist the urge to jump on stage and sing.

River boat tours are very popular with tourists in Manaus, so I made my way to the banks of the Rio Negro. The sights were a stark contrast to the beautiful theater.

River boat tours are fairly expensive, so I decided to see the Rio Negro by taking the boat that the locals ride to cross the river. For only a few dollars, I enjoyed beautiful views of manaus and discovered that I really like boats!

Back in Manaus, I wandered the streets and markets. I couldn't believe how many things could be purchased on the streets. I saw everything from home cooked meals served from pots to a tattoo artist giving real tattoos to people sitting on the ground underneath a tree! My favorite street vendor was this watch repairman who worked from a makeshift booth on the sidewalk.

In the center of Manaus is an amazonian oasis called INPA, the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amaz├┤nia. There they preserve a snippet of amazon rainforest where researchers care for animals and educate the public about environmental issues. It was a really beautiful preview for what I was soon going to see in the actual rainforest.


Tiffany said...

Claire... Sloths are one my favorite animals in the world! Any worry of leeches? The Rainforest sounds crazy and filled with all sorts of adventure. I want to see you hypnotize an alligator when i see you next. (stuffed animal is fine hehe)

ml said...

The picture about INPA reminds me of this beautiful thought:
* In some mysterious way woods have never seemed to me to be static things. In physical terms, I move through them; yet in metaphysical ones, they seem to move through me. - John Fowles