Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Manaus and the Amazon

Even though it was a little costly to fly to Manaus for 2.5 nights, I didn't feel like we could pass up seeing the Amazon while in Brazil. And I'm glad that we booked a tour to experience a little bit of the area.

Sao Paulo airport was crazy crowded

Our flight landed at  around 10:30pm on December 18. After checking in and getting settled, we probably got 6 hours of sleep before heading out on the tour the next morning.

Landing in Manaus

The tour was by boat. When Paul was looking into different types of tours, we both (obviously) expected to book a tour on a boat similar to what Jon Voight, JLo, and Ice Cube were on in the critically acclaimed 1997 film, Anaconda.

Where is Jon Voight?

We passed by this record marker - each year the height of the water is measured and marked

Enjoying the ride

Welcome to Manaus...I like the Christmas tree decorations

Manaus Iranduba Bridge - 3595 meters long

The Meeting of the Waters - where the Rio Negro and Rio Solimoes meet

The two rivers don't mix because of the difference in temperature, acidity, density and current

It was very cool to see how clear the divide is

Here's one of us and the two rivers behind us

We then stopped off at this place where we were allowed to feed monster looking fish called pirarucu (also known as arapaima or paiche). The pirarucu is one of the largest freshwater fish in the world.

Fishing for some monsters

My turn

The bait

Here's a look at one

They were all staring up at me...they can get to about 10 feet long and weigh 400 pounds!

Another shot of the bait

Can you see them all?

Fish kibble

This is how you do it

There were a lot of different fish (kind of) eating the fish kibble

Ahhhh!

Knives for sale

We passed through a floating village

Floating houses in various sizes

Christmas decorations on this house

Paul is having so much fun

Floating school

Bird

Flap flap flap

Egret

A close up

I like how the grass in the water looks with the egret in the background

Local kids fishing

For their brother, I think

School boat

I spy another egret

Another shot of the river

Our next stop was a surprise to me. Actually, I didn't really read this tour description so I really didn't know what we were doing for the day except the fact that we'd be on a boat in the Amazon.

But we got to hold a sloth! 

They were cute in a weird sort of way

It didn't smell too good

It's like a cross between a panda and a koala

It had a good grip on me

It looks like it's laughing

Look at its claws

Reminded me of E.T. a little bit

I also got to hold an alligator - this one scared me

After everyone was done holding him, they put him on the pole

Hello again!

Then there was a python


He was just casually holding/choking it

Scary

Yeah, I was afraid of this one too

Look at its tongue!

I'm just glad I didn't have to hold its head

After holding all the animals (which Paul had no interest in), we headed towards Lake Janauari Ecological Park.

Squirrel monkey 

He was very curious

On the walkway leading to the lake

We stopped by a big old kapok tree for a photo


Then headed towards the lake to see the huge lily pads

Pretty

Scenic

Paul was enjoying it

After lunch, Paul played me a special song

And blow darted the wall

We then headed towards an area where you can swim with the Amazon river dolphins 

There's an Amazon river dolphin right there

Here's a better shot

They are kind of pink

And lumpy

It is actually also known as the pink dolphin

Not quite like flipper

That's my hand to the left trying to pet it - I did and it was smooth and slippery

Hey, look at me with the dolphin!

There was another one under the water that whipped my leg

Not bad for a self photo!

Cool looking clouds

The next batch of people when in for some dolphin time - big splash!

See how pink they are?

The dolphins really loved this lady

Local boy hanging in a hammock

And local girl walking around in her diaper

We then headed to an indigenous village.

OK U.S.A!

Focker

Manaus city skyline

Passing the bridge again

The river is huge!

Approaching the village

Boats

Boat on the river

Here we are in the village - about 35 people live here

Hut

This hut is where the village performs their dances for us

We met the chief of the Desanas tribe

He was quite fit

He welcomed us to his village and explained the different dances

Unfortunately I don't remember this one

Instruments on their ankles

Chief's necklace

He didn't speak English but our guide translated for us

Here he explains how the boys become men and how they only choose the boys
who don't cry when they are whipped with this stick; the boys who restrain
from crying are then trained to become leaders

The men doing a dance with an instrument called a pohare

Men and boys participated 

Then the chief did a dance with his wife, daughter, and brother; the instrument is called a japuluto

In sync

They were all very coordinated

We were invited to dance with the group at the end

We like participating

Our guide was nice enough to snap some photos for us

We were kind of in a circle - I thought Paul was going to bust out with some of his own moves here

I was trying to keep up - they were walking very fast

Look how pale I am next to the guy I'm walking with

I think Paul looks a lot more pale next to his dance partner

The village people

Our guide said we should take a photo without the "white people" first

And now, with the "white people"

I think the chief is looking off into the middle distance

Village kids

Chief

Dreamcatcher

More village kids

I like their outfits

Sloth carving - and yes, I bought one

Village boy enjoying his birthday suit

Cool design


Almost looks like a face here

The girl on the left was totally mad dogging me

My favorite photo from our time in the Desanas village

Bathrooms

Heading back to our boat

Look at how tiny our boat is next to the riverboat

The last stop of the day was a channel where we were told we could swim but nobody was interested so we just walked around on a nearby beach.

Local kids pulling in their fishing net

Cool reflections

More reflections

I liked how the ripples in the water looked

Another reflection shot in the channel

It's like a mirror

Dog curled up in the sand

Vulture

Not sure he caught anything

The dog was lonely so swam across to greet us

She was a good swimmer

We're in the Amazon!

She was very hyper

The dog whisperer

Sit UBU sit. Good dog. Woof!

She was friendly but also like to bite/nibble on your hands

She did pose for me for a few shots though

Following Paul

Looking towards the Manaus Iranduba Bridge

A good shot of the bridge

Tree and bridge

Big ant

Big footprints left by Paul


She was sad to see us go

And swam back across the channel

Here are some more reflection shots as we cruised through another channel that connected to Rio Negro.






The sky started turning pretty dark as we got closer to the dock.

Ponta Negra Beach

Merry Christmas!!!

Another shot of the bridge

Shipping boat


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