Saturday 19 April 2014
Looking a bit like a giant R2D2 jammed into a Barbie Dream House, the Amazon Theatre is definitely distinctive to look at.
It's of course a huge display of garish conspicuous consumption designed to impress. The newly rich "rubber barons" in the centre of Brazil that enjoyed a monopoly on the gummy stuff at the end of the 19th century had money and they wanted the rest of the world to know it!
Completed it 1896, it still stands more or less intact, despite a few ransackings and looting when the chips were down in the early 20c. The damaged bits have since been replaced, and it's been repainted its original pink. And for 5 reals straight into a worker's back pocket we got an awesome tour during the recitals for an upcoming opera. Got to hear some opera singing on stage... and not have to endure a 5 hour production. Boom!
Manaus is a good looking city, especially the square that houses the Teatro Amazonus. The dome with the Brazilian flag on top is a little out of place for the style, but unique nevertheless. It is also a lovely place to wander at night for the cool breeze, people watching, performers and to grab a bit to eat or a drink. It does seem crazy to have an opera house in the middle of a jungle, but that was the point; a way to brag.
As we arrived on Good Friday, the place was pretty quiet as many people had left the city to visit family. Luckily we were able to meet up with some friends we had met in Ushuaia as they were in Manaus waiting to get on a boat. It was fortunate that they had experienced how the fluvial system operates in Brazil as they were able to show us where to go in the port to look for vessels. After a while we found a lady who was advertising a boat to Porto Velho and we asked to see the boat. After a quick drive to another area of the boat in the salesperson's car, a look around the boat and some negotiating we purchased our ticket for a cabin on a cargo boat. In order to prep for the trip we dashed to the supermarket to stock up on all the essentials: beer, biscuits and Easter eggs!! The supermarket was lined with brightly wrapped eggs adorning the ceiling. I felt like a kid as I chose my bright yellow egg.