February 4, 2007
It was completely quiet last night with the only guests in the entire hostel being Craig, myself, and a Brazilian rasta guy who slept in a hammock. That all changed this morning when at least two dozen young backpackers came in all at once. Before long, the hostel was full and turning people away. I found out that nearly all of them had just arrived in town this morning from a boat trip down the Amazon. When Craig and I were in Manaus, we could have jumped on a similar boat to Belem that would have taken about five days. Instead, we went with the alternative route through the Guianas and took three months.
Craig and I decided to check out the zoo/botanical gardens today. They were located in a large enclosed area in the middle of the city. Walking around was a lot like walking through the jungle, only with larger paths and a much larger density of animals lurking everywhere. The highlight was seeing a manatee, which neither of us have seen in the wild.
It poked its head out of the water just as I started to look at it, then went back under for half an hour. We also saw a jaguar that couldn't eat us even if it wanted to, some yellow parrots, and lots of other species of the jungle. When we were ready to leave, a tour group from a cruise ship, complete with its own security guard and a guy holding up a sign saying "group 4" so nobody would get lost, showed up. They've been attracted to me lately.
We heard about some sort of Carnaval celebration tonight and walked to it, but instead of seeing a parade, there were just a bunch of uncostumed people standing around and drinking. We heard the city can be dangerous at night (a different type of jungle), so we headed back to the hostel early rather than push our luck.
The photo album for this entry is here