|I don't even know where to start with the Amazon...there were 30 of us on a river boat, and we all got along so well, the other boat of 30 not so much, you could definitely tell they all formed little groups of people. We all bonded pretty quickly and our boat at 2 professors and a 75 year old Life Long Learner...just imagine Grandma Ella on a boat with a bunch of college kids in the middle of the jungle...she was a riot - everyone loved her! And our guides were great and we got a long with them great and even our Portuguese only speaking boat crew...we got passed the language barrier and had such good times. Hmm so I'll make a list of all the things we did, I think that would be easiest for me
1)Free Amazon Explorer Hat and Necklace from "Amazonians."
3)Giant Lily Pad Ponds and Crocodiles - we threw fish down on a platform and one of our guides did Crocodile calls to attract them and we watched them do the whole sneaking around, whos going to get the fish first with out getting caught - it was really neat to watch
4)Saw spider monkeys in the trees - no I did not feed them
5)Jungle tour in canoes
6)Held an Anaconda, and 3 toed sloth
7)Piranha fishing - didn't catch any, lots of bites but I think I'm too slow and cant flick my wrist quick enough to set the hook. Oh and we fished with Bamboo shoots!
8)Alligator Hunting - guides catch alligators with their bare hands
9)Jungle Trek - lots of army ants, lots of people got bit but I didn't luckily, I hear they hurt.. A little background fact about them is that they use army ants for stitches because once they bite, they are their until they die. Their jaws clamp shut so when you have a bad wound you get army ants to bite the pieces together and then rip their heads off and the jaws will act as the stitch, crazy huh!
10)Indigenous Village - one our guides use to live in that village before he moved to Menaus. It was very cool, very interesting to see how they lived. It doesn't seem that bad. What I thought was interesting is EVERYONE and their mothers wears Havaiana flip flops. We went to their "grocery store" and they sold havaianas right in the village and make pretty much everything else. Also, that same grocery store...a couple years ago had a jaguar run through it night after night and soon enough the owner was able to kill him, so in the front of the store they have the jaguar fur and skull setting out, it was pretty neat!
-soccer game against villagers. Boys of the boat vs. boys of the village. As you can probably guess the village guys won 3-1. Hilarious game to watch. I think there was only one guy that had ever played soccer before on our team! And then the girls of the boat vs. girls of the village. We won 3-0, and it actually looked like we were playing soccer. There were about 6 of us who all played through High School so it was a little more formed! At the end of the games we picked MVPs. We gave their best players the game ball and they gave our MVP's Brazilian soccer jerseys, it was very cool...unfortunately I was not MVP!
11) "Alligator hunting" or so they say, but really we just sat out in the middle of the Amazon and waited for a couple hours and no one knew why. We were all complaining about how hungry we were and how the bugs were biting and whatever else and the guides wouldn't take us in, we just sat out there...saw a couple pink dolphins actually and then when the stars came out I saw a shooting star so I guess it wasn't a total waste but finally they were like "fine, we've had enough of your complaining, we'll go in and see if the food is done." well on our way back in fire works start going off and we see all these lights set up on the beach. We had a surprise party waiting for us on the beach, it was so cool, we had so much fun. There was a huge buffet of all sorts of food and dessert was chocolate cake with a guava jelly type frosting, very good! And then we had competitions between boats (there were 2 boats of 30 people) so we had Limbo, Tug-a-war, and musical chairs. It was hilarious and so much fun!
11)Piranha fishing again - still no luck for me, I'm too slow!
12)Jungle Trek again - this time we saw some poisonous snakes, some of the guys ate some larvae worm things that live in coconuts, apparently they taste like coconuts. I ate Brazil Nuts which taste like macadamia nuts and almonds combined, very good! And also drank water from a water vine. One of the guides took a machete to the tree and took down a log like branch and when you hold it upright it pours water out of it! Not bad water either, better than the ships!
13)Indigenous Village again - we watched a boat being built, they go out into the forest and cut down and strip their own wood, cut it and sand it all by hand. Build it and we were there when they were putting in some fibers from a tree that they twisted into a rope like thing and were pounding into the seems to make it water proof. It only takes 15 days from start to finish (once they have the wood...they don't include that because its so unpredictable on the wood).
14)Swimming at the beach. - the water looks almost like rust and its because of all the minerals in the water! Its kind of cool looking but at the same time makes you question whats really in the water.
15)Dance party on the boat while heading back to Menaus - we had everyone dancing, guides, cooks, boat crew, professors, life long learners...everyone. Theme song of the trip is Living On A Prayer (Not Bon Jovi, but the techno version by a girl).
16)Fiesta at a Lodge - live music, dancers, performers and then we all got up and danced and the dancers were "trying" to teach us their moves which obviously wasn't working for us gringos!
17)Flights back to Salvador - which weren't quite as bad as the way there but still scary!
So that was the Amazon in a nut shell, it was very interesting, a lot of fun, very hot, when we would jump in for our swims and get out you could see all of the suntan lotion and bug spray oils floating in the water, it was disgusting how much stuff we had to put on. Four days with out showering, only bathing we got was in the Amazon river and we kept putting on more and more suntan lotion, and DEET and sweating. I felt really bad for whoever had to sit on the airplanes with us, it was not pleasant!
Once back in Salvador a group of us went off to the Mercado Market again for a little shopping and then up to the downtown area for more shopping and lunch/dinner before heading back to the ship!
On ship time was at 2100 and at 2115 we were still missing 3 people. We never head back whether or not they were found or are on the ship, but hopefully everyone is back on. There were a few incidents while in Brazil too. A lot of people got things stolen, a couple people were held at knife point until they gave them everything they had on them. And I haven't heard too many stories about Carnival yet, but I know either you had a great time or else it was awful. No happy mediums. Which is why I'm very glad I went to the Amazon and got out of the city, I think I would like it a lot better with out Carnival like it was the last day! Oh and one of the guys on our Amazon trip got a water bottle thrown back to him and somehow he missed it, hit him in the mouth and shattered his 2 front teeth L Luckily it was the last day we were out there, but I felt very bad for him and fortunately we made it back to Salvador early and Carnival was over so the city opened back up and he was able to get caps on his teeth right away instead of waiting another week until we get to Cape Town - he said he's just very sensitive but he's in good spirits about it! So those are the highlights of my trip.