03.07.2008 - 07.07.2008 34 °C
Manaus is a city in the centre of the Amazonian rainforest, made popular by the rubber boom in the early 20th century. It’s a huge city but its main transport system in the Rio Negro and Amazon River, so basically has one road in from Venezuela, and then the only transport out is by river. The city was really hot and humid and we sat outside the Teatro Amazionias and had pizza on the first night, debating what to do now that our overlanding had ended.
It was the first time in 5 months that we had had to organise anything and so the next day was a full day spent on the computer researching. I wanted beach and relaxing, Ollie wanted waves and excitement, as usual we had completely different ideas and expectations. After a full two days we had decided the place where we both could be satisfied and booked the last two weeks of our adventure.
During the time in Manaus we said goodbye to both those who were leaving and those who were continuing with Dragoman. One night we were told of a café that turned into a dancing bar later in the evening. It was in the middle of the huge millennium shopping centre and so to save money we drank beer in the food court first. It’s the first time I’ve ever had a night out in a food court. Security guards were looking at us gone out but we were excused when they realised we were foreign. We then went off to nearby Ponta Negra, the beach resort of Manaus on the river side. We found a rock club that sold extremely potent and cheap Caprihinhas. Everyone was dancing to music they would never personally even listen to and loving it. One guy ended up being the worse for wear in the taxi on the way home, Ollie and I awoke feeling extremely delicate.
We had decided on our last day in Manaus we would see the spectacle of the meeting of the waters, this is where black waters of the Rio Negro run alongside the Rio Solimoes without mixing for 8km to make up the Amazon river. Heading out in a small boat from the port we travelled for 20mins, passing a few river dolphins on the way until we came to the edge of the dark black Negro River water. Like the edge of a cloud it meets the lighter coloured slightly green Amazon. As you dip your hand into the rivers you can clearly feel the temperature difference of the warmer River Negro compared to the Solimoes.
Catching a quick movie (Hancock) at the Millennium Shopping Complex we headed back to the hotel to try and pack up our 5 months of stuff we had collected from the truck. Ramming things into the backpacks, making it as small as possible we were quite aware we had two huge bags to check in each, way over our luggage allowance. I still have no idea where it all came from, especially as I seem to have worn the same outfit for the whole holiday and Ollie has lost almost everything he originally came out with.
That night at 22:30 it was really sweet as everyone came down to reception to see us off. Even I had a few tears as we said goodbye, you really don’t realise how close you get when you're practically living in each others personal space for weeks on end. I was really looking forward to a relaxing two weeks with just Ollie and myself but I knew that this ending just made the ultimate trip end tangibly close.