Off the grid in the Amazon

On our final day off the grid in the Amazon, we woke up early to welcome the day on the river in a canoe at sunrise. I woke up at 0430 with Tarek frantically knocking on my door, thinking it was 0530 and that we were late. This was a great opportunity for me to again have a leisurely morning, saying hello to my bathroom frogs again and performing some yoga. We met Kennedy at 0530 prior to breakfast to get on the river. This was the morning where I really felt off the grid in the Amazon. Once we were on the water, all we could hear was the sound of our oars moving in the tranquil water, and all we could see was the sounds of fish jumping and birds chirping. I needed this. Being off the grid in the Amazon helped put the trivial first-world problems in perspective, and while I hadn’t thought about work in over a week already, further put the challenges back home from my mind. This was a time for reflection, regeneration, and big-time perspective. As hectic as Brazil had been for us, and as little as we got to relax, our minds….

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Amazon Gero Tours – Into the Jungle

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….

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Amazonian adventure

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….

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Sao Paulo in a Day – #layovertips

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….

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