November 12, 2006
We arrived in Manaus late last night, but saw no point in leaving the ship just to find a hotel room and go to bed. Instead, we slept one last night on board and headed out this morning. Charlie desperately needed a shower, so he used our facilities and left around noon to catch his flight. Today he's on the Amazon, tomorrow he'll be at work in Seattle.
Craig and I tried to get organized for our upcoming Roraima excursion, but everything in town was closed because it was a Sunday. There's probably a boat up to Boa Vista, in the north of Brazil, from here, but it looks like it might take two weeks to get there, so it's probably not a great idea. Luckily, Manaus is the biggest city on the Amazon, so it actually has road access. Taking a couple overnight buses looks like our best bet, but we'll have to wait at least another day when the port and information centers open to know for sure.
The city of Manaus doesn't impress me much. It has a beautiful opera house built in 1896 that's surrounded by other architecture left over from the rubber boom of the late 1800's, but most of the city appears to be falling apart. There are crumbling buildings and garbage everywhere. I thought Brazil might be cleaner than Peru because people on the boat didn't throw any garbage into the river (in Peru, the Amazon is one big garbage can), but that's not the case here. I couldn't even sit down to eat some food without being overwhelmed by the smell of beer and urine. On top of that, the 40 degree temperature (over 100 F) was too much for me. Hopefully I'll be able to leave here soon.