We were both up unintentionally at 0530, so I was able to spend some time doing yoga and enjoying a relaxing morning for once before getting in to the Amazon Gero Tours again. I slept fabulously despite the heat, sub-par fan, and the mosquito net. I took a page from Tarek’s book and simply pushed the “sleep” button the night before (he would be proud). It turns out that a day full of various physical exertion leads to a dead sleep, something I forgot after years in an office job. I awoke to several frogs exploring my room, seemingly coming out of the bathroom sink drain (one seemed permanently lodged within until of course I turned the water on). Breakfast consisted of bread, cold cuts, and some eggs, which ran out quickly, and some new variety of juice.After breakfast, we arranged for a 3 hour hike with Amazon Gero Tours in to the small flood-plain jungle, and then onward into the larger, more primitive jungle (larger for this area) that didn’t flood in the wet season. Our guide was a guy named Kennedy, who we would have for the next two days. He was excellent, hailing from an indigenous village….
The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel which was not great, and prepared for our Amazonian adventure. At least the hotel (Go Inn Manaus) had coffee. We met our driver at 0810. Tarek was running late getting his stuff from the room so we waited with the other two people already picked up and waiting in the van about 10 minutes for her to come down. We piled in the van with our luggage (Tarek’s hiking pack, my hiking pack, and my carry-on suitcase), went to the tour office, and picked up more people. We had about 8 people in the van, and began our Amazonian adventure departing from Manaus and heading south. After a 30 minute drive, we stopped at the banks of the Amazon and we were told we would be taking a boat across. Nobody really thought to give us an overall explanation of the plan, but rather fed us bits of information at the time they became relevant. Now we started to understand why having suitcases would be a nuisance. Tarek had to carry my bag across a dusty parking lot, through the ferry terminal, and on to a boat. We waited for another….
Tarek and I arrived for our Manaus daytripping adventure by 1400 including an hour time change. The descent in to Manaus offered a gorgeous view of the Amazon….
I arrived in Sao Paulo by 0900 on Friday morning (my friends got in about 30 minutes prior) and easily picked up an Uber from the airport with the GRU’s free Wi-Fi to experience Sao Paulo in a day. The Uber ride downtown took back about an hour and cost R60 ($20). It was rush hour unfortunately so the highways were jammed and we were also jammed in to a tiny fiat that miraculously held 5 people and all of our luggage. The weather was sunny and a nice change from Iguaçu Falls….
We decided to spend our final full day in Iguaçu at the Iguaçu National Park on the Brazil side and take our chances with the weather. We agreed to meet between 0830 and 0900 at the entrance to the Iguaçu National Park, the last stop of our 120 bus route if coming from town. To make this early arrival time, I had to wake up at 7AM, have breakfast, and get to the bus terminal at 0745 to catch the 0800 bus. I barely made it in time and luckily was more efficient the payment this time since I knew the drill and what to ask for: “Ciento veinte por favor”. I was on the bus at 0752 and it pulled away a minute later (again leaving 5 minutes early). The bus arrived at the Iguaçu National Park visitor’s entrance at 0835, passing by the stop I usually got off at to get to the hostel as well as the helicopter tour building. I didn’t see the guys there yet but a line was already forming so I stepped in it and waiting. The park apparently opened at 0900 so we still had a few minutes to go. At 5 minutes to 0900,….