by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
The Rock-itt : September 2009
did check my entry ticket because if I go back tomorrow I get a reduction; there are 270 waterfalls, most higher than Niagara or Victoria. Next day I booked with an eco and water tour. There are several, so rode in an open truck and had the flora and fauna explained. I had an exhilarating ride in a big rubber ducky which took us under some of the falls. I was drenched and shivery. Some people had the sense to bring plastic ponchos, not me! Still, I should have asked. On return to base I had a hot coffee, sat in the sun and dried out, more or less. Everything went smoothly, I was way too early at the airport for the 7a.m. flight, arriving at 6a.m. would have been fine. My card with the address came in handy and I got a good taxi ride to Hostel Manaus, run by Alex, an expatriate Australian from Sydney (25US). After settling in, (no ensuite but just across the hall shower toilet & basin), I had an excellent breakfast with plenty of fruit and good fresh rolls, The place is going through a bit of a makeover so maybe it will improve, although it was very popular with the younger crowd ($1US a day for the computer and 25 for the room). I set out to explore but did not make much effort, as I was tired with time changes and a lot of flying. In the morning I booked a seat on a day tour on the Amazon for the following day and then set off to explore this remarkable city. It has the worst pavements for rough, up and down, steps, change of surface I have ever seen, but at each corner there is a wheel chair ramp! Ugly blocks of modern units rub shoulders with Edwardian charm shops. No one pushed stuff at me, but I long ago learnt not to make eye contact. Eventually I found a branch of the HSBC which I needed. I then got directions to the opera house, which was probably the main reason I wanted to visit Manaus. Well it is a jewel set in a grubby ugly setting. Teatro Amazonas was built in the 1890s with lavish. The city was in the middle of the rubber boom and must have been extraordinarily wealthy to have created this. It only seats 707 people and is amazingly constructed, including a tiled dome. The floors are all Brazilian woods, but the columns are cast iron painted to look like marble shipped from England, the seats were originally basket work on cast iron and now they are red plush. The acoustics are considered excellent and they have a permanent orchestra of 75, originally 50, I can go on and on, but you should see for yourselves. I missed the end of season by one day but all the classic operas, including Wagner's Ring Cycle have been performed there with local and overseas artists, even Melba I understand. I would love to attend an opera there. Apparently the earliest opera goers grumbled at the noise of the carriages on the cobbles so a mixture of rubber and sand was laid over them. The tour I had booked for day 2 cost R.150 I was picked up by a cab and taken to the Port area. I found my boat and joined other tourists from all over the world, even Brazil. It was very warm, even on the water. I have been told that deforestation has increased local temperatures and humidity. I enjoyed the river and was suitably impressed by the meeting of the waters about 15k upstream of Manaus(pronounced Manow). The Solimoes River (pale beige) meets River Negro (black) and is strictly speaking the beginning of the Amazon, which flows to the Atlantic. The trip was four days on local transport, ten days upstream to and from Belem. The reason the two waters don't blend immediately is the Solimoes water is 5-6 degrees colder than Negro water. It's impressive; we then went in a rubber ducky into the jungle and had a stopover for lunch. Everything was included except alcohol. I thoroughly enjoyed my day out; the guide could communicate in several languages, but my hearing let me down, so I missed a lot of that. I enjoyed my time in Manaus, and need to know more about its history, and I would have liked to see more of the jungle but next time, maybe I could do the trip down river from Manaus. So again an early morning call to the airport and I flew back to Sao Paulo, for my plane to Lima to meet my friend.