John writing this time:
On Thursday morning we left under sunny skies and had one last look at the falls from our hotel. All of our flights were roughly on time, but LATAM Airlines has the smallest pitch (distance from the backrest of our seats to the back of the seats in front of us) of any airline I have been on. Even without the seat in front of us being reclined, my knees pressed painfully into the back of the seats in front of us, so the flights were not pleasant. This was the third time we had to change planes in Sao Paulo. Nine flights down, only 3 to go.
We arrived in Manaus at 4 PM (with a two hour time change) and were met by our driver. It was about a 30 minute drive to our hotel; a very nice small hotel with only 30 rooms. This time our hotel is in the central city, so after we unpacked a bit, we went for a short walk to a square that had a lot of activity including a belly dancer performing. We are also across the street from the Opera House.
We had supper at a little restaurant that offers a lot of traditional dishes. We ordered a local fish dish that promised no bones, only ribs! What they meant was that the fish rib bones were almost as large as rib bones in a mammal. The fish was about 15 inches long, and 8 inches wide so there was a lot of fish for Lois and me. It only cost about $17 for the two of us. The downside was that our table was on the street, so it was pretty warm.
Manaus is a city of 2,300,000 people, but the traffic isn’t too bad. At first the street around our hotel seemed a little intimidating at night because of all the graffiti and some empty buildings, but there are a lot of people on the street including small children. The people are very friendly, so it will be fun to walk around to get to know the city. It is just too bad neither of us speaks Portuguese, but quite a few locals can communicate in English. By the way, it is hot but not buggy, so we may sweat a bit, but it's nice to be in a real community, not simply surrounded by other tourists. We will be here for two nights, and then will board our river cruise on Saturday.