The bus arrived to the Rodoviario in Salvador at 6 a.m. in a downpour of rain. Once again, the bus between the Airport and the Rodoviario did not arrive on time, and another man and I shared a taxi to the airport to make sure we caught our respective flights.
The flight went from rain on the coast, to sun in the interior of Brazil at it’s capitol city of Brasilia, and back to rain again as we landed in Manaus at 3:30 p.m..
The Hostel Manaus where I would be based out of worked in conjunction with Antonio’s Jungle Tour, and they had sent a taxi for me. I was met at the Airport by Roberto, a kind and friendly older gentleman. He drove me through the busy streets and freeways to my accommodations. The Hostel Manaus has an assortment of room types, floor levels, and activity areas. Great views from the top floor, which is an open air public lounge area with a few hanging hammocks.
After paying for my upcoming Amazon Jungle Tour and dorm room, I walked through the bustling, busy city of Manaus to the Opera Theatre Plaza. Back during the rubber boom, this town was actually more European than Brazilian, in that the city was built by Europeans for themselves, with all the ammenities of 1700s Europe. When the rubber industry was shifted to Malaysia and the boom ended in Brazil, Manaus’s wealthy Europeans left and the city continued to build out, but less richly. The core of historical Manaus is quite stunning, with the Teatro Opera House, private homes since turned into Museums, and grand statues set in open gardens and plazas.
That evening I dined on an excellent fish dinner at the Teatro Opera House Plaza. The next morning, April 30, I walked a few blocks to the Palais do Policia, a well-done two-floor museum and cafe. Later on I walked up through a large tent market filling entire streets that happens once a week, and bumped into two Scottish women from the Hostel Manaus. They had just purchased tickets for an opera tomorrow night, so I went to the box office and purchased one, too, with a seat right next to theirs.
I headed down to a lower section of Manaus, not far from the Port area, and did a loop walk back to the Hostel. It was very muggy and tiring, and I felt quite spent of energy. After a rest back at the Hostel I went out to dinner at the same restaurant as last night, but my Hearts of Palm pizza seemed to take forever to arrive. While waiting for it, I contemplated the press of people in a large city, which seems to extract energy from me. I’m not a city person by nature, as I was born and raised in rural Alaska. I’m more comfortable in the wilderness, and trust it more, than the streets of a large, densely populated city. Nonetheless, I’m a great people watcher, and from my open-air restaurant table on the street next to the Teatro Opera Plaza, there was plenty of human behavior to observe. Finally the pizza arrived, and after that I hit the hay, one tired puppy.