By Daniel Duchene. Respond on Twitter.
Day 14: Welcome to the Jungle
We arrived in Manaus on Wednesday at 3:30am, tired and glad to change scenery from São Paulo.
- First impressions
Manaus is growing at an incredibly fast rate, and it’s population has tripled in the last 40 years, reaching almost 2 million in 2014. Like most big cities in Brazil, Manaus is expanding without a specific urbanization plan and has a very unorganized feel. It is now the 7th biggest city in the country. When I asked a taxi driver about his thoughts on the city’s fast growth, he answered “This place is turning into one hot mess. The traffic is terrible!“.
At first, what probably strikes the most is the humidity and the heat of the Amazon.
Much like the summer on the East coast of the U.S., you can feel an extra weight on your shoulders as you walk outside, and the air-conditioning becomes a crucial tool of survival, that is, for those who can afford it.
- The jungle
After resting from the trip during our first day, we decided to spend our second day in the jungle. With a very tight budget, we had to settle for a very touristic tour, but we were still able to make the most out of it, getting great shots for our movie.
Despite the heavy rain of the morning, we took a boat towards a natural reserve where they preserved river dolphins, known as Botos in the area. A few of us jumped in the warm water to swim with these human-accustomed dolphins that gently caressed our legs as they slid under us.
After, when the rain started to settle, we headed towards an Indian tribe that lived on the edge of the Rio Negro (Black River), on the way to the Colombian border. They greeted us with traditional dances and artisanal pieces. Despite being a very rehearsed and commercial way of discovering an Indian tribe, it was a touching experience nonetheless.
From there, we took a boat to a floating restaurant in the middle of the river where we were scheduled to eat the traditional foods of the region. Everything was delicious! A large group of monkeys were waiting for the tourists to show some tricks in exchange of food.
Our last stop was the water encounters, where the Rio Negro meets the Rio Solimoes, providing a beautiful mixture of different colors coming together. It is at this point that the Amazon river begins. I think it is safe to say that our first day was full of new experiences. So far, so good, in this new chapter of our great adventure...