Not quite yet but that is the plan sometime next week commencing 11/1/21. Well, depending on Covid, lockdown and permissible flights of course. Each of these easily are able to scupper plans at short notice and that’s a problem I really don’t what to consider.
So it’s been over three weeks since we departed the UK but for me, it’s felt longer and completely unrelatable to any of my 2015/16 travels. I suppose that’s because we’ve not really ‘travelled’ as yet but soon I hope that’s a challenge that will come our way.
I had no expectations of Manaus largely because Vivian hasn’t ever said much about it. I know she lived here for her first 21 years, self-studied English (in a family environment where nobody else did), went on to study Business and obtain a degree, all here in Manaus. She found employment working for Nokia which enabled her to save a few thousand pounds and that’s how her journey to the UK started those many years ago.
“Wouldn’t the US have been a little closer, dear?”, I’ve curiously asked her.
“I remember feeling the States wasn’t as safe. Maybe it was all the movies I’d watch growing up? Besides, having spent so long learning the language, I always favoured the British accent and their perceived mannerisms. And you, my dear, certainly live up to the little finger drinking your tea ”.
British readers will enjoy those lines but as for “safe” – that was a thought before you visited Weston-super-Mare, right? Our “zombie walking-dead” are amongst the scariest anywhere in the World.
As I’ve now essentially lived here for a couple of weeks, my admiration for her seeking a more prosperous life so far away has heightened. Here, poverty is impossible to miss. I’ve also read reports that claim 15 million people throughout Brazil are living in extreme poverty and that definition defines persons earning or receiving less than $1.90 (£1.40) a day.
As for Manaus, it’s actually a very busy city, port and indeed the gateway for the Amazon so it’s an important area. In fact, there are even tax incentives here and I quote:
“…aimed at the development of the industrial, commercial and agricultural activities within the State of Amazonas, located in the north of Brazil. In this way, special tax treatment is granted to operations from/to, as well as within, this free trade zone”.
Truth is, it wasn’t until my tenth day that I saw more of Manaus that didn’t resemble impoverished surroundings. There were some skyscrapers, high rise hotels and even an Opera house (Teatro Amazonas) . In the evening we walked along the promenade of Ponta Negra where the wealthier people reside and where tourists would typically stay. It was enjoyable evening.
Here are some snippets I’ve discovered and found interesting whilst in Brazil and Manaus:
In contrast to English, here Lemon is Lime and Lime is Lemon. I see now how this caused difficulty at home when we’ve cooked together 🙂
Weather. It’s hot all year round in Manaus just at varying degrees. This is the wet season which explains why it rains in largely short bursts each day! I can tell you that I’ve never seen and heard rain like this before, believe me.
You’ll like this one – it’s COLD showers only. Yes, you read that correctly As in, there is no hot feed in general. I’d imagine the option for an electric shower does exist in areas but considering I’ve been to several areas (including Sao Paulo) and a hotel and seen no signs of life for such a device, well, enough said. Needless to say my typical 5 minute “man shower” takes just that bit longer now as I muster the courage to slowly submerge each limb part by part.
Common Brazilian words we use back home are of course nowhere near the correct pronunciation (and even that varies regionally). Take Aryton Senna and Rio De Janeiro for example. Aryton is pronounced “eye-air-ton” and Rio De Janeiro “hio-day jen-ay-roo”. Give them a try 🙂
Motels are not the same as what you associate them with in, say, the US. Here they are “love motels”. That may concur up something seedy but I don’t think they generally have that stigma here. I understand they provide a combination of entertainment, fantasy, and escapism for the middle class” – or anyone seeking privacy. So, they’re either used for “affairs”, “privacy” or even a lunch-time quickie, if you’re so inclined.
Everything is large here, particularly food and people. Check out these common-sized pumpkins and Avocados. I genuinely bought one to confirm Vivian wasn’t having a laugh at me. (She wasn’t). Annoyingly I failed to take a photo of the half watermelon we bought the other day. That too, was something to behold, believe me, as my God-daughter Renai was witness too during during a New Year’s video-call.
There’s a plant here that does something pretty cool. In Latin, it’s known as “Mimosa pudica“, English “touch-me-not” or even “shameplant“ and in Portuguese “Maria-fecha-a-porta“. Here’s a quick 17 second video showing the #touchofdoom.
The Pound is strong against the Brazilian Real. Great for me as a visitor. For some reason (probably income tax) Brazil and some other countries pay more for some products than almost anywhere else in the World. Take Apple and even Zara for example. A clothing retailer, whatever, no big deal but for a monopolist and super-brand such as Apple, how unfair that must feel. Get this: The UK price for the new Airpods MAX are already set at an eye watering £549. In Brazil, the same product is 6900 REAIs currently equating to £943. Say whaaat!?
(Remember funny pronunciations earlier, well I got another for you. The currency here, the Brazilian REAL is, of course not pronounced as easily as that reads to us! REAL is actually “hay-al” and where it’s plural, it changes completely. Firstly the ‘L’ becomes I (so REAIS) and the sound is “hay-ICE”).
I’ll leave you with a city-high view of a moody day here Manaus. It was taken using my DSLR camera which marks the first time I’ve actually used it.
So folks our next targeted destination (currently feeling ambitious) is of course, Rio de Janeiro.
Tune in next week to find out if it happens and whether we’re able to actually make it there! We will update our “map” applet on the site, if we do.
Have a great weekend, all.