Chris' (Previous) Daily Journal
March 13, Day 2 in Manaus, Brazil
We were extremely happy the ship had been allowed to dock at a pier. It made disembarking so much easier and faster.
We were gone well before 8am for a couple reasons: (1) we wanted to see the fishermen coming in with their catches and (2) we wanted to visit the fish market just as the fish were arriving. Fortunately, the piers and the fish market were only a few blocks away, so a very easy walk.
The fish market in Manaus isn’t as big as some we’ve visited, but it was still very interesting and busy. The vendors were busy scaling fish, cleaning them and preparing them for display. This market also had a lot of meats – one-stop shopping.
The fish market is part of the Mercado Adolpho Lisboa, the city's oldest marketplace. It was founded in 1882. While fish is the most popular item sold, there are also lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. The Mercado is copy of the Les Halles market of Paris.
After going through the fish market, we crossed the street and walked along the elevated waterfront where the ferryboat piers are located. The piers were packed with ferry boats. Along each pier, there were all types of vendors selling food and drinks. People were everywhere – some with luggage boarding the ferries, others were carrying supplies off the ferries, lots of men were carrying heavy loads of goods to the ferries. Fishing boats had also pulled in and the fishermen were busy off-loading their catches into big containers, others were sitting in their boats cleaning fish.
The hustle and bustle was fascinating. We stood and watched for at least an hour – there was so much activity. I could not begin to figure out how the people knew which ferry they wanted to take. Just in the area where we were standing were four long piers with at least 20 ferries each.
We finally left the market and wandered back over to the big church we had seen yesterday afternoon. It was closed for the afternoon siesta and we wanted to see the inside. Today it was open. The inside, like many of the Catholic churches we’ve seen in Brazil, was quite stark. We are so used to seeing the opulence of the churches in Italy that the contrasts really stand out. There was no air conditioning in the church and it was almost stifling, so we didn’t stay long.
We wandered around the area a little bit longer, then headed back to the ship.
One more cruise ship arrived – the P & O lines, Artemis. The piers were quite busy with three ships. We were the first to leave – around 6pm. As we were departing, the Captain made his daily announcement and once again, apologized for all the confusion that had taken place yesterday in regard to our arrival and docking.
From what we were able to learn, the decisions about the cruise ships docking were all political maneuvers. The city owns the docks, the harbormaster is a federal employee. The harbormaster is the one who decided the ships could not dock, but never gave a definitive answer as to “why not?” Because he’s a federal employee and had issued a decree banning the dockage, the city could not override his decision. Thus, the federal courts had to become involved to override his decree.
At dinner, we had a lively discussion about if the harbormaster would have been a woman, the ships would have been allowed to dock right away. A woman would want those passengers off as soon as possible, so they’d start taking tours and boat rides, shopping, eating and spending money.
Tomorrow, we’re in Parintins, Brazil.