From samba music in small pubs to children’s Christmas choir concerts in beautiful theaters to local reggae rock shows in art bars, Manaus has it all. Delicious street food, a variety of ice cold beer and an incredible amount of public transportation. It’s a city of nearly two million, but it feels more like a small town if you stick close to the center. It feels safer than anywhere in Colombia felt, Brazilians are always smiling and making friendly conversation. People still stare, but they stare less, or they stare with a smile, which is alright.
We spent two nights in the jungle just a few hours outside of Manaus on the Rio Urubu. The lodge was really nice, classy but rustic. Since the river is so low this time of year, a lot of earth that is usually covered was exposed, making it harder to navigate and more difficult to spot certain wildlife. So no river dolphins or monkeys, but we saw some beautiful birds, lots of plant life and a baby cayman. We trekked a couple hours into the jungle the second day to camp. Our guide, Pedro, had some serious skills; we cooked up a delicious dinner that we ate off of huge leaves by candle light. The small creek near camp was lit with fireflies and glowing water worms; pretty magical. The next morning we hiked out, had a big lunch and headed back to Manaus. In the last few days, we’ve been wandering around hearing music and eating street food, drinking beers and Cachaça- a traditional Brazilian liquor made with sugar cane. Life is beautiful.
Tomorrow we hop a river boat heading east to Santarém, which is luckily only a 36 hour trip. Sleeping in a hammock is becoming increasingly more and more comfortable, I’m looking forward to making simpler camping trips when I get home by ditching the tent altogether.