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Sunday, 26 January 2014

Day 19 Thursday 23rd January - Manaus - Capital of Amazonas

We reached Manaus at lunchtime - Peter had been painting in the morning and produced a fantastic picture of an iguana. I attended a lecture by Louise Bonner about the lost tribes of the Amazon - Louise is a good speaker, and her talks are always really interesting.

After lunch, we went to wait on the quay ready to act as tour escorts on a bus tour - "Manaus - Capital of Amazonas". We were puzzled as to the ships location, as it was on a different floating dock than usual and away from the port terminal. Peter found out later that this was due to a disagreement between the government and the owner of the land who apparently hasn't been keeping to his side of a bargain. As Manaus is due to host some of the World Cup games, the government is keen improve and develop the facilities ready for the hoards of visitors, and at the moment, it just ain't happening.

The Opera House, Manaus
But back to our tour - a simple excursion to include the Opera House, the Palacio Rio Negro, and the Muncipal Market. The advantage of a tour over visiting on your own is the guide. The guides can tell you so much of what you are seeing around you, and ours told us of the recent floods, the effect on the local people and how the government were building new homes for them. All interesting stuff.

One of the fantastic chandeliers inside - from France I believe

We visited the Opera House first, somewhere that Peter and I have visited before. It really is an amazing building. Like many of the historic buildings in the city, it was mostly transported piece by piece from Europe. It is such an over indulgent and opulent building, you could stand and look for years.

The beautifully decorated ceiling of the opulent reception room upstairs in the theatre
We've not been to the Palacio Rio Negro before though and thought it quite grand, a really gorgeous building to look round.
Palacio Rio Negro - this used to belong to a Rubber Baron

A fantastic staircase inside the Palacio Rio Negro
And then we were taken to have a quick look round the Municipal Market. Again, this is another building created in Europe (Liverpool actually), and shipped across. It has just been refurbished (ready for the hoards), and is a pleasant place to walk around and see the fish, craft and meat markets. 
Manaus Municipal Market............   Made in Liverpool!
And then it was back to the ship. I found out that evening that, despite repeated warnings from the ships customer services manager about keeping valuables out of sight, one of our passengers had been mugged. The poor lady had had a gold chain ripped from around her neck. Thanks to some locals that gave chase, she got it back. Fellow tourists and visitors take note.

We stop in Manaus overnight. Peter and I have been here before and know that it is difficult to find a bar that looks safe, so we didn't bother trying to go ashore for the evening. Tomorrow we have another excursion, one of our favourites -that we are really looking forward to - "The Amazonian Experience". So we have to be up early in the morning. Class!

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