Friday, September 26, 2008

3 compelling comments generated from my travel blog and emails sent to me on Amazon boat journey, tropical food and sex motels in Manaus!

I am on the airplane today, ten hours to Lima, Peru, from Manaus, Brazil, with a stop in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Update: I missed my connection to Lima, Peru, and am now stuck in Sao Paulo airport. (My TAM airlines flight was late so it was their fault). I now have a 9-hour wait here until my 3 a.m. boarding for the 6 a.m. flight to Peru. Part of the adventure (ugh!) TAM did offer a hotel, but with the shuttle and traffic, I figure it is easier to stay put. Plus, I don't fully trust them to get me back in time for my flight!

Here are comments I paricularly enjoyed:
1. From: Scribetrotter
RE: River boat trip from Porto Velho

I did take an Amazon boat journey - and being a woman alone was not much fun. The boat was a 'working boat' ferrying men to a camp upriver and I was one of very few women on board. I didn't feel safe, and the lack of decent sanitary facilities made this a memorable trip - but not in the way I'd like.

One town I enjoyed in that part of Brazil was the town of Rio Branco in the state of Acre, which is next door to Rhondonia. It had (but this was a number of years ago) a cowboy feel to it, and I spent several weeks in the rainforest with rubber tappers - definitely and experience, especially if you don't mind hot, wet and not much food. We had to kill a caiman for food once, and subsisted mostly on mangoes. Still, it was a wonderful trip with plenty of magnificent memories.

I love that whole area of Brazil - I'm a little envious!

2. From: Marilyn Diggs in Sao Paulo - excerpt from her email
RE: Food in the Amazon region

I hope you try piranha soup. It is delicious. ( But of course you are talking to a person who eats chicken hearts, with gusto!). You are next door to a state ( Pará) that cooks Pato ao tucupi. Duck with yellow manioca. It is cooked with a plant that looks like algae and it numbs your mouth a bit. Indians use it for tooth aches. I think it is very savory. I´m an adventerous gourmand. Manaus is famous for regional fruit ice-cream. If they have cupuaçu, try it! (That is from Pará, also, but who knows...it is to die for.)
I´m very happy you are going to Manaus. Be sure to see the Meeting of the Waters. Remember that the black-water system is bug free due to minerals in the water. It is always wise to stay on that system when looking for lodgings.


3. Roberto Mello comment on blog post "Top 10 Ways to Survive a Nasty Motel - Made it to ..."
RE: Motels in Brazil

It's worth mentioning to the English-speaking public that a motel in Brazil is quite different from what the average person from America is used to.

Motels in Brazil inherit the same "motorized hotel" theme of their American counterparts, but that's where similarities end.

Motels in Brazil are not places to just spend the night while you're traveling from place to place. They're not an inexpensive, no-frills version of a hotel. Motels in Brazil are places where you go to have sex, and that's pretty much it.

The Motel business in Brazil is very good business. As it turns out, people like to have anonymous sex. There's a wide range of Motel prices, and consequently, quality of facilities and services.

At R$ 30 it's pretty clear you ended up at an extremely cheap place with terrible installations.

In short, for travellers heading to Manaus (or other Brazilian cities), don't go to a motel, unless that's really what you want to do. Manaus offers many inexpensive (and expensive) lodging options, as you noted.