Brazil, here am I! My flight arrived in São Paulo in the early morning around 5am. After I went through immigration and customs I checked in my luggage for the domestic flight to Manaus departing at 9:30am. I killed time by wandering around the airport and getting some money exchanged. The flight to Manaus took four hours and when the plane landed I was welcomed by hot and humid air. I actually like the heat and was happy to be far away from the cold and rainy weather back home.
When speaking to a lady at the information desk, I found out that the cheapest way to get to my hotel in town is by bus and I thought I better save some money and go by bus rather than taxi. I spent approx. 30 to 40min waiting at the bus stop but neither the bus with the mentioned number didn’t show up nor was there any timetable on which I could have looked up when to expect the bus. So I started to chat with the locals hanging around at the bus stop to find out when the bus might be arriving. Nobody seemed to know it and since it started to rain heavily I thought I better change my plan and go by taxi. In this moment I was chatting to a guy who offered me that his driver brings me to the hotel and I happily accepted his offer.
The drive to the city was maybe another 30 to 45min or so. I arrived around lunch time and when leaving the car, the driver invited me to join him for a drink in the evening… I checked into the hotel and while doing so I met Kim which turned out to be a fellow traveler of mine during the next months. Kim has just finished her law studies in the UK and before starting to work she is taking some time off to travel around in India and South America. Her future boss actually recommended her to travel with Dragoman and so she joined this tour.
After dropping my bags in the room, I went off with Kim to have lunch in a little restaurant around the corner. Compared to the restaurant prices in Africa and even to the prices back home the meals where quite pricy. The cheapest option was to share a meal which was 38 Real (22 USD) not including drinks.
In the afternoon my roommate Molly arrived. She is from the UK and a very lovely and lively girl. Compared to the business women I was dealing with during the last years, Molly and her hippie like lifestyle is a welcomed change. It’s nice to see people who simply enjoy their live without being obsessed to follow a strict career path.
The Dragoman joining meeting was at 6pm. Here I met the other travelers joining me on this trip and our leader Ross. In total we are eight people travelling from Manaus to Salvador da Bahia, four boys and four girls. Three people are from the UK, two from the US, one from Australia, one from New Zealand and then there is me from Germany. The ages range from 23 to 70, so we have a quite colorful mix of people. Most of my fellow travelers are long-term travelers as me thus taking a sabbatical leave from work. Our leader Ross is an artist from the UK who integrates his art with the travel he’s doing. You might want to visit his website Unglue My Limb. Our other crew member Anki from Sweden will join us at a later point in time since she is currently doing maintenance work on our truck in Belém.
After the group meeting all of us went out for a group dinner to the central plaza of Manaus where the Amazonas Opera House, the cities largest attraction, is situated. Molly, who is a vegetarian, had a four-cheese pizza and honestly I never saw more cheese fitting on a pizza than on the one Molly had. The Brazilians seem to love their cheese.