NOVEMBER 16, 2013

Monkeys, reptiles, & bananas o my (that is pretty much what today consisted of)

Julia and I landed in Manaus late last night/early this morning. I was talking with the man behind me in the customs line. We couldn’t believe how fast the luggage came out – though I could believe how long it took for the foreigners to get through! If only it could be as fast as the Brazilians when we get back to the U.S. but years of experience has taught me it will always take forever.

I had an incredibly difficult time falling asleep because I was still so excited (I am in Brazil after all).So I took some pictures of my view.

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I’m pretty sure I’ll sleep well tonight! We fly out this evening to go to Parintins.  We have tomorrow to tour our new city but we are hoping to be able to spend time in the clinic and set-up  everything for the patients that we will start seeing early Monday.

Today we met another student of audiology. He is originally from Parintins and is doing this volunteer work as part of his externship (not a bad idea…). We walked around the city (we saw a musical theater that was renovated last year, a statue representing 5 continents, and a new market).

Then we went on a four hour boat tour (cue the dramamine and ginger mints). It was amazing! Julia has some great video of it so be sure to check out her blog updates too! We went to wear the Negro River and the Solemoes River meet. You can distinctly tell the difference in color, temperature, and flow. The Negro River is much colder (though before I call that cold, I’d just call the Solemoes rather warm).

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We went fishing on this floating fish farm. Not that I am an experienced fisher (despite my father having written the book on fishing) but the size fish I typically catch was my bait. These fish were HUGE. They were longer than my first graders and probably 4x heavier. I even tried a small fillet for lunch — I found out we apparently eat the tail :/ It’s the meatiest part of the fish. Still not sure how I feel about that.

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We ate lunch at a floating restaurant that connects to a jungle. We saw lots of golden tailed monkeys (I think that’s their name. I saw them last week at the DC Zoo and noted they were indigenous to Brazil), lily pads that if I were to sit on them would make ME look like Thumblina, and very red tailed dragonflies.  Then we did a hop, skip, and a jump over to an animal float (no idea how to describe it). Where I braved holding the cobra!! – He did NOT crush me to death, hung out with a sleepy sloth, and held a baby crocodile – which was rather fun…until something got in my eye and it took me until I got back to the hotel to get it out. I missed seeing everything on the way back but it was so nice to just listen to the Portuguese behind me and feel the wind on my face. Side note about Portuguese, it really is not all that similar to Spanish. Though I am able to understand the written word. I did understand, “She is crazy”(referring to me) & “Here’s the mall”
Interesting fact about Portuguese: Gender is according to the speaker not the target. So in saying thank you, I always say, “obregada” regardless of if I’m talking to a male or female, whereas the male will always say “obregado”. I thought that was fascinating.

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One last thought: it is incredibly bizarre to see Christmas decorations when it’s 90+ degrees with 100% humidity. Very strange. I keep thinking it’s July and not November!

All in all, so far so good! I still have my ten fingers and ten toes
Can’t wait to see what Parintins has waiting for me!

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