|Saturday, January 15, 2011
All we seemed to do today is eat! We were on the excursion boat at 10:00 am that would take us to the Manaus marina, then a bus to the airport for our flight to Fortaleza. We had breakfast at the lodge before we left and the first thing we’ll be doing when we reach Manaus will be to have lunch from 11:15 - 12:00. It seemed the practical thing to do, because we’ll be going through airports with one stop-over where we won’t change planes and we won’t get a decent meal until we get to Fortaleza.
The meal we’ll be having is called a churrasco, or barbecue. Charlie told us that it‘s a kind of pot luck that can last for hours. The social protocol is to arrive two hours after the time you were invited to come; nobody arrives at the appointed time. Guests bring meats to be barbecued, plus other additions, but the main feature is the meat. We had churrasco the other night with all the meats on kebobs. The less favorite meat is cooked first, with the more ‘noble’ meat saved for last when the fire and embers are perfect for cooking.
We passed the stadium that was being constructed for the World Cup Soccer games that will be played in Manaus in 2014. Work is going on around the clock to build the stadium that will have a capacity of 60,000. Other modifications are being made to the city including redesigning the excursion boats with air conditioning and better facilities.
We got to the Bufalo Rancho Restaurant and didn’t waste any time getting into the buffet line in order to get to the airport on time. We first filled our plates with an assortment of salads, vegetables and other cooked dishes before approaching a high counter where meat cutters stood behind various types of meat ready to cut whatever and as much as you’d like. You were not limited to portions or how many times you’d like to go back for more. This was a very satisfying meal; even vegetarians in our group had plenty from which to choose.
From 12:45 pm - 8:40 pm (we lost an hour in transit) it was the usual airport routine with a stop at Belem before arriving at Fortaleza. Megan was our city guide, and, of course, the first place we headed was to a restaurant. Fortaleza’s main industry is fish, so this restaurant specialized in fish starting with fish soup. Dining is in the European tradition, very leisurely and a lot of waiting between courses. Waiters brought a variety of dishes: vegetables, salad and wonderful platters of delicious fish that were served family style. It was about midnight when we left and rode a short distance to the Holiday Express Hotel for one night when we would get back on Discovery.