Sloth on the River
The floating sloth we picked up on way to the hotel
Day 3 started early for Betty and Judy as they got up to see the sunrise with a walk along the Copacabana Beach at 6 AM. This is our 3rd
day in Brazil but it makes the 4th
fall by Judy. While attempting to cross the street from our hotel to the beach, a busy street we might add, Judy does a header. While Betty is trying to help her up she falls again and Betty is trying to stop traffic. Note to the elderly – do not try to “run” across the street against the light. But they finally made it to the beach and saw the sun rise along with some interesting sand sculptures. During all of this commotion, Kirsten and Chester made the better decision to sleep in and get their beauty rest. They still need more. Our flight was not until noon, but after a 9AM pick-up and very little traffic to the airport we had more than a few hours to kill at the airport. Plenty of time to people watch. As we departed Rio, Chester and Kirsten reflected on how clean and organized the city was compared to what they expected. So don’t believe the
Betty on the beach with her new friend
hype, Rio is safe and clean and fairly well organized. World Cup 2014 here we come.
We had a 4 hour flight to Manaus, which is in the northwest portion of Brazil where the Rio Negro and Solimoes River meet to form the Amazon River. This is also in the heart of the Amazon Jungle. We flew over some of the biggest rivers we have ever seen. Once we landed, our driver was there waiting. Unfortunately he only had planned for 2 people not 4 people to be transported. The driver brought the “small car” since he thought it was only going to be 2 people. It was a Fix It Again Tony (FIAT). It was not a problem to fit 5 people in the car (some with supple behinds), but with Chester’s 32 KG (70 lbs for you Americans, we are in South America after all) suitcase. We think she smuggles Victor, our Rio tour guide, in the suitcase. But as there was not a spare tire in the car, there was room for 3 of the 4 suitcases and the 4th
went on Kirsten’s lap. Good thing the mature people pack light.
We arrived at the
Judy making friends after her fall.
Marina in Manaus to take our boat to the Eco Park Jungle Lodge to find several large boats and yachts and one pitiful wooden boat in need of repair. You guessed it that was our boat. We had about a 20 minute boat ride to our lodge. Along the way the driver spotted something in the water that we all assumed was a piece of wood or a turtle. He circled around and Kirsten spots what looks like a monkey along the side of the boat. The driver scoops it up and it was a mangy looking sloth. Not what we were expecting in any way shape or form. It seriously looked like a creature from a Star Wars movie. The sloth appeared dead at first, but since they move at super-slow motion speed, it was actually alive. It clung to the side of the boat while the diver picked off the ticks/fleas. It had been in the water so long it had green algae on its hair. As Judy was scared it would somehow get super stealth like speed and jump on her, she did not take her eyes off it.
We arrived at the lodge and there
On Copacabana Beach
was still some confusion with the rooms. We eventually got in 3 rooms when we should have had 2, but they all had AC so no one complained. The old people pulled rank and got the individual rooms. Kirsten is still stuck with Chester and her barking spiders. The lodge is exactly what you would expect in the Amazon when you can only get here via boat. The bugs are plentiful, including the ants in the shower that kept Chester freaked out the entire night. Even after Kirsten killed them all and put a towel under the door so they could not get out of the bathroom. No TV, internet, or any of the super modern luxuries. But we do have running water and toilets so can’t complain.
Before dinner we played some cards and partook in some local beer. The locals were kind enough to leave a half eaten banana (eaten by the house parrot) on the next table, which we later realized was the bats’ dinner as they kept dive bombing us at the table. We graciously moved the fruit to the garbage, and the bat moved on. Dinner was very nice in an open air restaurant.
After dinner we were all pretty tired and headed to bed. Chester did have empathy on Kirsten and before she headed back to the room, utilized the lobby bathroom and took care of business so she didn’t have to clog up the room toilet as has happened on all previous trips.
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