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Brazil '98: Introduction
Brazil '98: Participants
Brazil '98: Map of Brazil
Brazil '98: Itinerary
Brazil '98: Itinerary - Introduction
Brazil '98: Itinerary - Rio de Janeiro
Brazil '98: Itinerary - Rondonio
Brazil '98: Itinerary - Roads to hell
Brazil '98: Itinerary - Deforestation
Brazil '98: Itinerary - Acre
Brazil '98: Itinerary - The working day of a Rubber Tapper in Acre
Brazil '98: Itinerary - The Chico Mendes story
Brazil '98: Itinerary - Manaus
Brazil '98: Itinerary - Para
Brazil '98: Itinerary - Dam Busters
Brazil '98: Itinerary - The Gold Rush and bombing of air strips
Brazil '98: Itinerary - Brasilia D.F.
Brazil '98: Itinerary - Rio de Janeiro and the return
Brazil '98: Debates
Brazil '98: Sponsors
Brazil '98: Brazil Facts

From Rio Branco, Acre, we
will fly some 1200 Kilometres
to the capital of the amazon
state of amazonas

Manaus

Our visit to Manaus will be mainly for some well-earned rest and relaxation after our hectic visits to Rondônia and Acre. We hope to have a meeting with key figures from conflicting perspectives over how the Brazilian Amazon should be developed: a representative from the influential National Amazon Research Institute, INPA, which is funded by the World Bank and supports sustainable development in the Amazon and Armando Amazonino Mendes, the governor of Amazonas and a fervent opponent of sustainable development and the activities of foreign environmentalists in the Amazon. Mendes shares many of the opinions of his predecessor, Gilberto Mestrinho, who once stated that he was ‘the governor of men not animals and the forest’.
Apart from this meeting, we will spend our time relaxing on the beaches and touring the city and its locality.
Manaus is the capital of the state of Amazonas covering an area of over 1.5 million square kilometres (about three times the size of France or over six times the size of the UK) and is Brazil’s largest state. Though typical of Amazon states it has a relatively tiny population of approximately two million inhabitants.
Manaus will be the hottest and most humid location that we will visit. When we arrive the average temperature will be 33°c and it will probably rain at least once during our stay. Manaus is situated on the Rio Negro, near to where it meets the Rio Solimões. We will be able to see the extraordinary site of the two waters, one black and the other white (dirty yellow really), meeting and gradually mixing to form the Rio Amazonas.
Manaus is an extraordinary place with an incredible history. Once the centre of the rubber boom in the nineteenth century, it is now the commercial hub of the Amazon region. Manaus was made a Free Trade Zone in 1966, with tax and tariff benefits and has since burgeoned into a centre for electronic industries. We will be able to visit some of the landmarks of its history. We can visit the floating docks and the British Customs House, both installed at the height of the rubber boom by the British businessmen who dominated commerce in the Amazon. The docks are a hive of activity, a mad mixture of boats, goods and people.
We can visit the Teatro Amazonas, the famous opera house built in the same period, which affords a glimpse of the vision that people in that period had for the Amazon. The Ballet Russe danced there in 1896. The materials for its construction were brought from Britain, France and Italy. Finally, we can visit the municipal market, where you can purchase provisions of every description for a journey on the Rio Amazonas. If time permits we will also go on a boat trip to one of the many eco-tourism projects which are considered another sustainable alternative for the Amazon. Alternatively, we could take a bus to the Praia da Ponta Negra, a river beach which has plenty of amenities and beautiful swimming waters.
Or we may just sit in one of the cafes, eating the many fish varieties specific to the Amazon, or the Amazon ‘delicacy’, Tacacá, a gummy soup made from manioc, lip-numbing jambu leaves and shrimp. Or we might enjoy the ice-cold juices or ice-creams made from fruits that we will never have tasted before and will never forget, like the gorgeous cupuaçú, guaraná, acerola and graviola.
After this brief period of rest, we fly off to our next series of destinations.