28 October 2023 Manaus
In search of a salad
“There are these two extremes that are not to be indulged in by one who has gone forth. Which two? That which is devoted to sensual pleasure with reference to sensual objects: base, vulgar, common, ignoble, unprofitable; and that which is devoted to self-affliction: painful, ignoble, unprofitable.”Buddha (excerpt from his first teaching)
Woke up at 8 am but didn’t move. Had a relaxing morning sorting out packing and laundry. I finally ventured outside just after midday.
I walked around the corner to the Teatro Amazonas (Amazon Theatre) then stopped myself going any further. I have a bad habit of forgetting to eat and walking kilometres on an empty stomach. Well, not today. I checked Google maps for places to eat which told me that just a 100 metres away was Bistro Fitz Carraldo. It’s top rated and not cheap by Brazilian standards, but after the ‘fine dining’ of the last 7-days, I am craving a good salad at the very least. I had a large tropical salad to start (€ 11) followed by the Amazon fish Tambaqui with sauteed potatoes, jambu cassava flour & jambu (€ 17). The final bill was € 33 which is about the same as I paid for 3 small open sandwichs in both Norway and Denmark earlier this year. The atmosphere at Bistro Fitz Carraldo was good, and the food was good even if a little over budget.
I left the restaurant feeling nearly satisfied. I just needed some desert! Brazilian Ice-cream was the order of the day at ‘Tu gela’ where you help yourself to whatever flavours of ice-cream and toppings is your want… but be careful… it’s sold by weight!
Sated, for now, I headed towards Porto de Manaus to take a look around and hopefully get some daytime photos. I prefer to arrive in new places during the day because arriving at night gives a very different impression.
On my way I walked down a couple of busy market streets filled with stalls offering the exotic to the mundane. I picked up some ‘budgie smugglers’ as I might just go swimming sometime, somewhere.
At Porto da Manaus, you have to pay to enter the boat area, so I didn’t bother. As I left the terminal building, I met Marina who was on her way to get information about boats to Belem. I tagged along as these details may be useful to me if I decide to do that journey in the future. It seems the boats leave on Wednesday and Saturday and cost B$ 450 (about € 86) for 4-days/3-nights minimum travel time. I said goodbye to Marina and we went out separate ways.
As I mentioned elsewhere, the Amazon River is running very low. In Manaus, the Rio Negro, which joins the Amazon here, is at it’s lowest level for 121 years.
This part of Brazil is on the equator and consequently very hot. A hat is absolutely necessary.
As I walked back towards my hotel it was sad to see so many, young and old, homeless and shoeless individuals around the dock and market areas.
I walked very slowly and needed to get out of the heat. I knew that there was a guided tour in English of Teatro Amazonas at 4 pm, so headed to the box office. After I had my ticket, the guide advised that the theatre’s Aircon was broken! Nevermind, it was a very interesting tour lasting about 30-minutes.
The busy square in front of Teatro Amazonas called ‘Largo de São Sebastião’ is popular with both locals and visitors. There was a bit of an event happening with different bands playing and the audience dancing.
Across the square is ‘Cafeteria do Largo’ where I indulged in an excellent cup of coffee and two pastries… one of which was a Pastel da Belem custard tart.
After coffee I took a 10-minute stroll to a supermarket near my hotel to buy some soda, water, and cookies.
At the hotel, I turned my laptop on, set my VPN to UK and watched the latest episode of ‘Bake Off’ followed by an early night.
- Hotel Ibis Styles Manaus (booked through the Accor website) € 39 without breakfast.
- Bistro Fitz Carraldo 2 course lunch € 33
- Large (heavy) Brazilian Ice-cream € 6
- Budgie Smugglers € 3
- Teatro Amazonas tour € 4
- Fika (coffee and cakes) € 5
- Supermarket snacks € 3