Chris' (Previous) Daily Journal
March 12, Manaus, Brazil
Manaus is located at the heart of the Amazon forest and is best known for the meeting of the waters – the Rio Negro and Amazon Rivers. It’s the main gateway for visitors who want to visit the interior of the Amazon jungle.
We arrived outside the Manaus port around 9:30am and came to a stop. At 10am, the Captain announced that due to conflicts between the Port authorities and the Brazilian Navy, we were not allowed to dock. The dispute was serious enough to involve the high courts in Rio de Janeiro.
Every half hour, the Captain provided an update – primarily that nothing was determined yet. Another cruise ship, Royal Princess, was waiting for the decision along with us.
Finally, at 12:30, the Captain announced an agreement had been reached and that the Royal Princess would pull into the pier. Our ship would be running tenders until such time as another dock was opened up.
All the tours were rescheduled and began running at 1:30pm. We had booked one that was a 7 ½ hour trip. The part we were the most interested in seeing was at the very end – meaning it would be dark by the time we arrived. We cancelled.
We took the tender to the pier, then a shuttle bus to the terminal and headed out. Just outside the terminal was a market with all types of vendors taking up several blocks.
We walked into the city center and popped into several of the large clothing stores along the way. We acted like we were really interested in the apparel, but in all actuality, we were enjoying the air conditioning. It was warm (hot) this afternoon, and of course, we took off on our trek in the heat of the day.
When a customer enters the store, one of the sales personnel walks around behind – maybe for assistance, maybe to make sure nothing is stolen. The young lady with us kept bending down, getting very close to John and staring. Finally, he stopped and looked at her and she pointed to his wrist and said “Mickey Mouse”. John was wearing his Mickey Mouse watch and she thought it was just fascinating. We all got a good laugh.
One of the places we wanted to be sure to visit was the Teatro Amazonas – the opera house. It was built from materials imported from Europe: polished wood from France, white marble from Italy and iron pillars from England.
The highlights (at least to me) were the painted curtain on the main stage and the wooden floor. The painted curtain was created by a local artist, Crispim do Amaral, to depict the meeting of the waters. The curtain has a specially designed cupola that it is pulled into at the start of each performance.
When we entered the room with the wooden floor, we had to put slippers on over our shoes in order to not scratch the floor. The floor is laid with thousands of pieces of Amazon timber, in a light and dark pattern, representing the meeting of the rivers.
Outside, we were impressed with the cupola atop the opera house. It was created using 36,000 very colorful, ceramic tiles that were imported from Alsace, France.
The city center is quite compact so walking from the port is convenient. There were markets everywhere, it seemed. Small canopies were set up with just about anything for sale a person could probably need or want.
We returned to the ship late afternoon. A cool shower was very welcome.
Jim, our tablemate from Canada, took a riverboat tour into the jungle. The trip was interesting and the guide shared information with them about living in the jungle. The only disappointment was they didn’t see any wildlife. It was probably due to the time of the day, since all the tours departed later than originally scheduled.
Around 8:30pm, the Captain announced we finally had a pier, so he would be moving the ship within the hour and that would be our spot until we leave end of day tomorrow. That will allow us to walk off the ship rather than take the tenders.
Tomorrow morning, we plan to leave the ship early so we can see the fishermen and the fish market.