The coin landed on the side of the Amazon, so that’s what happened. Not without incident, of course… Took what I thought was a bus from the centre of Campo Grande to the airport, as the name had “Aero” in it, but I ended up down in some southern suburb, the airport being out to the north west, D’OH!! Not having enough time to get a bus back to the centre, and not being able to find a taxi anywhere, the only option was a “moto taxi” which is where you cling on to the back of a motorbike being driven by a mad Brazilian. After the initial effort of getting him to understand that I wanted to go to the airport (largely involving running around on the pavement with my arms out to each side and singing the Biggles music) he took me with all my luggage hanging off up there. As luck would have it he was a relatively safe driver!
So, the “direct” flight which actually consisted of 5 individual flights and took 13 hours got me to Manaus at 2:30 am, I decided to sit it out in the airport until sunrise at 6:00 and get a bus into town. Found myself a reasonable hotel and tried to get some sleep without much success, then went into town and gathered arm loads of leaflets about the various jungle outfits, and found a street bar to read them over a couple of beers. As I hadn’t slept for 36 hours or whatever the beers knocked me out virtually, and ended up negotiating a deal where the guy was talking in USD and I thought he was talking in Reals, bit of a screw up, and also booked 2 nights when I only really had time for 1. They promised me a refund of the 3rd day but of course it didn’t materialise, so paid a bit over the odds for all that.
Other than that the trip to the lodge was fascinating, very peaceful of course, and high water so you can paddle through the treetops which is an eerie feeling, because the water is so still you get the very deep reflection of the trees in the water, and is sort of feels like you’re flying in the canoe. Very trippy…
I caught a few piranhas which we had for dinner, and an alligator which we decided to pass on. Next day we’re walking on what little dry land there is through the jungle, by which I mean we were cutting our way through thick jungle with a machete. Lovely conditions as well, not too hot, no rain, and very few mosquitoes which surprised me.
After getting back to Manaus a day early, I then had to kill time until the flight left at 3:20 am, but when I got to the airport, the flight was full, so had to take another flight for an extra 200 reais or so, I was starting to think I was having one of those days. Now I am back in Rio, and my favourite hotel I was staying in is full, ARRRRRGGGGGHHHHHH!!!! So for now I’m going to cry into my beer for a while and then sit on the beach, it’s 32 and gorgeous here today. Something will sort itself out!