5.19.2008

In The Jungle, The Mighty Jungle...

I have arrived in the Amazon and there are many trees.

We first arrived in Manaus, which is not the middle of the jungle villiage you imagine. It is a teeming city of over two million people, which is a major hub for commerce on the river. It reminds me of something that used to be a beautiful place and could still be if it hadnt gone into disrepair years ago and never recovered. The city is filled with what used to be beautiful buildings, with tile façades and gated courtyards, but are now covered with soot and dirt and grime.

Next a boat cruise was in order. There are two ways you can do it... 1) like the locals, who use the Amazonas River as a means of transport as well as commerce. This entails a 3-5 day trip from Belem to Maunaus, which can be fun. However, the river is quite wide and you dont really get to see a lot of wild life. 2) a group tour, with a bunch of white people. We chose the latter. Which I was not really too keen on at first, becuase going with a bunch of other tourists is not usually my thing. However, it was GREAT! The first day we went on a sunset canoe ride and saw snakes, birds and frogs. The next day we went on a sunrise canoe and saw another snake and many birds, including parrots and macaws. We also took a hike and learned a lot about the flora of the jungle. There are about 800 species of vines, many of them with medicinal properties. There are more than 3000 species of trees in the Amazon. And 3000 fish, 70% which are edible. And the Amazon dumps more water in one day into the ocean than the Thames river dumps in ONE YEAR!!! Crazy huh?

The next day we went piranha fishing. I caught NO piranha, but our driver caught about 7. I kept feeling them nibble, but could never jerk the line up fast enough to catch one. They are smaller than you think and most of them do not eat human. So, there goes that myth.

The last day we went to see the meeting of the waters, where the Rio Negro meets the Amazonas river. The Rio Negro is black and the Amazonas is brown and they flow next to each other for about 3-5 miles without mixing. It is pretty cool!

So, I got a little bit of edumacation and had a very awesome time on my jungle trip!

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