Harry’s birthday and the 65th anniversary of the succession to the throne of HM Queen Elizabeth II – what changes she has seen since 1952!
As we arrive we pass the Favelas that Brazil is (in)famous for, very colourful with some of them seemingly at an angle.
We are late arriving into Manaus due to strong down stream currents so our tour that was originally due to leave at 09:45, gets put back to 10:45 finally gets under way at 11:45 after we eventually dock at about 10:45.
Manaus is a unique city that has grown substantially in the last 20 or so years but has no road access with the rest of Brazil.
Transport is by boat and, more recently, by plane. There are hundreds of little ferries at the quaysides of all shapes and sizes but not many with seats, they have hammocks instead.
Our tour is just of the central part of the city and the coach is modern and air conditioned, which is a surprise.
First stop is the markets where we walk through the fruit and vegetable section with virtually every spare bit of floor taken up by stalls of, mostly, bananas.
This is one of the few vegetables grown locally as the soil is not suitable for many crops which are therefore imported from other parts of Brazil. Lots of people doing business here and many bags being carried of fruit.
On to the meat and fish market where all meat is exposed to the elements, there being no refrigeration.
Our guide says he would not buy from here, preferring to pay that little bit extra to buy from a supermarket. The market vendors have been offered refrigeration but very few have taken up the Government’s offer.
Before we leave the market we pass the fish section with an enormous amount of freshly caught local fish as well as some imported varieties.
We have a little free time here but nothing is inspiring us to buy although we do come across some interesting ironwork used in the build of the market and of course it’s stained glass window.
Boarding our coach we are taken to the Opera House and pass more modern shops including a C & A which used to be a firm UK (clothing) favourite some years ago.
We now depart for our next stop at the Opera House.
Built by the rubber barons, the inside is magnificent with individual seats, under chair air conditioning and boxes all round with unobstructed views.
Either he was on a tour and had lost his tour sticker, or he had made it there by himself but Benjamin Makisi was sitting in the auditorium and he didn’t take much persuasion to give an impromptu rendition of Nesson Dorma – wonderful, especially as I managed to videos it. https://youtu.be/OgttgI36TJ0
This is a magnificent building which the locals are obviously really proud of although our guide did say that not many people go to the concerts that are staged there which is a shame. I suppose this is not all that surprising given the average wages.
We then leave the Opera House in all it’s splendour and cross the square which at one time had a railway or tram running around part of it and into a small up market souvenir shop but again, nothing really worth buying so it is on to a small museum which shows lots of the Amazonian Indian’s history and culture.
A good tour showing some of the sights of Manaus, a city of well over 1million people that has no road contact with the outside world, only plane and water links.
The tour guide’s English was good, self taught we were told.
We return to the ship with even more local ferries awaiting departure for a conversation by What’s App with Sarah & Harry at Pizza Express in Jersey and then afternoon tea, we missed lunch again, and a brief visit to the cruise terminal with it’s one shop but for John, some internet time.
We manage to What’s App both Flic and Mel as well before dinner and a show by 3 Argentinian guys – Impact – whose dancing and music making with boxes, drums and cords (whips) was amazing and so energetic, the sweat was just rolling off them.
We are overnighting here so it’s Manaus Part 2 tomorrow.