On Tuesday May 21st, we started our journey to Brazil. After a delayed flight and having to unexpectedly to check baggage, we finally arrived at the airport in Manaus. Once through customs, we were taken to our hotel for the night, Casa Teatro. This boutique hotel had an upscale hostel feel, and while the rooms were tiny, we were glad to have our own floor to spend the night.
On Wednesday, we had breakfast and then left for our meeting with Joao Araujo at Amazonastur, the Director Chief of Promotion and Tourism Marketing. While waiting, Professor Janbek explained that for the most part in the United States there is a monochonronic perception of time where we schedule things at specific times (ex. Meeting with someone at 10am). In some cultures, like that of Brazil, there is a polychronic perception of time, where people are less scheduled and do many things at once.
In our meeting, Joao showed us the promotional materials that the tourism office uses both domestically and internationally. Joao also told us how Brazil, and specifically Manaus, is preparing to host the FIFA World Cup games next summer. In preparation for the games, there are several hotels being built to accommodate the expected 80,000 visitors, as well as a brand new stadium that will hopefully be used to host concerts and other large events once the cup has finished. When asked what preparations are being made specifically in mind with the environment, Joao told us that he hopes that all visitors will already have a knowledge of and respect for the environment of Brazil, and that handouts will also be made for visitors listing the basic do’s and dont’s. In addition to these preparations, Joao also hopes to make the visa process easier and less expensive, particularly for Asian visitors, to increase tourism in general.
After a long and bumpy ride from Manaus, we arrived at our lodging for the next few nights, Anavilhanas Jungle Lodge. Before dinner, we were given a tour of the beautiful property that includes a pool, watchtower, and hammock room and had time to explore the property more. After our dinner of fish and fried chicken, we started our night-spotting tour on the Rio Negro. We were able to see a few small caimans, but unfortunately we had to return to the lodge early due to a heavy downpour and thunderstorm.
We are all very eager to see what tomorrow has in store for us, and if the rains will continue for the rest of our adventure.