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Published: June 25th 2014
I woke up and had breakfast at the hostel. I put the same dirty clothes on from the last Amazon adventure and packed for the coming days adventure in the rainforest. On the agenda was fishing for piranha, seeing the meeting of the rivers, meeting different natives than the other day, and eating at a floating restaurant. The tour company was supposed to pick me up at 8 and then I was supposed to pay for the trip. At 9 I figured they were running on Brazil time. At 9:15 I had my hostel call them... no answer. Called again at 9:30, 9:45, and 10. Still no answer. I decided to accept that they had left me behind and to do something else with my day. I changed out of the dirty clothes, wrote a postcard to mom, did a little body-weight workout, and took a short nap to restart my day. When I woke up my throat still hurt and I had a slight headache with some dizziness. During my nap I realized I ha a fever and it was breaking. After my nap, I had my first hot shower of the trip, put on fresh duds, and went walking. I felt loads better. Whatever I had I was over. At a nearby bar I watched the Colombia v Ivory Coat game and cheered for Drogba. After the game I kept walking around and saw the south side of the city. I went to see the Rio Negro Palace, but it was closed. So I went around back to try and get in, but no luck. The building was amazing, like a diamond in the poor rough. I strolled through a nearby park, which was nice, and the most relaxing thing I've done on this trip. The park was nice, aside from the favela it bordered. The river running through it was disgusting though. The water was grey and bubbled every now and then. The edges of it had so much trash it seemed as if it had a plastic and aluminum shore. I walked past the Praca do Policia and a local cathedral. I continued walking to one of the main streets to grab some food, but everything was closed except for Splash, the pizzaria I went to previously. Grabbed a snack and went to a nearby cathedral that was open. The architecture was amazing. It gave the church that gloomy, medieval, everyone is going to hell, feel that most Catholic churches have. I returned to the hostel to watch the Uruguay v England game and cheered for England. Chilled at the hostel for a bit and ran into two sisters, Meg and Claire, from SLC. Claire, 26, works in public health and is about to move from Boston to Baltimore to get her PhD in public health, epidemiology I think. Meg, 21, is about to be a senior at Wake Forest in economic and poli-sci (small world huh?) and is finishing a semester abroad in Santiago, Chile. We got a bite to eat at Splash and sat outside next to the Teatro Amazonas. They had live music and the atmosphere was awesome. We are and talked for about 2 hours before we left. Found out they have a middle sister who's a Mormon home-body with twins, and lots of other interesting things about them. After the days games the stage near the Teatro Amazonas had a band playing on it. The square had what seemed like a fourth of the city, or just all the foreigners. We got some beers and enjoyed the concert. The singer dropped some Red Hot Chili Peppers, Swedish House Mafia, Pharell, etc in perfect English, then addressed the crowd in fluent Portuguese, followed by extremely broken English, proving that Brazilians (and I'm guessing most people from Central and South America) have no idea what they're singing or what the words mean. They're just memorizing the English words and repeating them. I found out that Claire might be in Colonia and Buenos Aires while I am. When I got back to the hostel I packed and laid out the clothes for the next day.
Since my tour bailed on me my hostel paid for my transfer to the airport so that I wouldn't leave Manaus with a bad taste in my mouth. Hell yeah! I got to my gate and realized I left my book at the hostel. Damnit. My flight kept getting delayed and then back on time, delayed then back on time, over an over again. Eventually it was delayed just 20 minutes and I had a middle seat for the first time on this trip. I slept most of the flight and got an aisle seat from São Pauli to Rio. I took a nice bus from the airport to a square near my hostel. Saw a beautiful theater, and the skyscrapers here kept you from seeing most weather, kinda like NYC. I walked up some stairs made of different colored mosaic tiles with drawings all over them. It looked amazing! I ended up getting lost in the maze that is Santa Teresa. I asked a couple people for directions and they sent me the complete wrong way... awesome. The last woman I asked took me in her car to the road I needed to be on. Her name was Ada and she had been to NC before, visiting her daughter and Marine son-in-law prior to the Vietnam War. When she dropped me off she told me that if I ever get into any trouble or need a place to stay I should come to her house and she'll put me up. I eventually found my way to my hostel and checked in. It was on the edge of the favelas and had a very gypsy/bohemian feel about it. After getting situated I met up with Taylor, the guy I met in the Miami airport. We cooked hot dogs and pasta while having some brews at his apartment while he told me about the ins and outs of the surrounding area. We had planned to go to Sugar Loaf the next day, but a guy at my hostel said if we waited until Monday he would take us hiking and rock climbing up the side of it. So we decided to do that on Monday and see Copacabana and Christ the Redeemer the next day. The rest of the night I chilled at the hostel watching comedy.
When I woke up to take a shower I noticed my soap had leaked into my bag, which was great. Cleaned that up and walked to Taylor's place to wake him up. We rode a bus to Botofogo, but realized we were going in the wrong direction. We got off and walked the remaining 20 minutes to Copacabana. When we got to the beach I finally found someone selling an American Flag! The flag was cheap and not of the quality I hoped it would be, but it had the correct amount of stars and stripes so it'll do. We walked on the beach for a while enjoying all of the "sights." I saw the Sugar Loaf Mts. and they looked awesome! I couldn't wait to climb them. We got a burger and fries at a beach stand. It was sub-par. Bought a few souvenirs on the street and checked out the FanFest and the FIFA Shop. The FanFest was larger than the others and so was the store. Went looking for any USA gear, but there was none. Wtf, USA bought the second most tickets of any country and none of the stores have our stuff!? Let me spend my money FIFA! Absolutely ridiculous. Walked to the other end of the beach and saw some colorful bear statues. They had a bear for every country on Earth and each one had an original design on it to represent that country. USA's bear was painted as the Statue of Liberty. We got some Açai in town and it was delicious. It's this fruit that's used as a smoothie and tastes kinda like bubble gum. We took a bus back to Centro and walked past a park full of weird animals that looked like a cross between a rat and a rabbit. I got back to the hostel and got my calling card to work. I emailed Andrew and the other two couples from Manaus to see what they were up to and planned to see Christ the Redeemer the next morning with them. I spent the rest of the night watching games and calling people.
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