I arrived home from the Amazon today, so let me write this all down before I forget something. I apologize now for my horrid English. So the first day we went to Presidente Figueiredo. We ate typical amazon food so lots of fish and yummy rice. These days were fun minus the cockroaches and spiders we found all in our hotel room, but we are were in the Amazon so of course there will be bugs.
We went on a hike through the forest and saw some waterfalls and explored a cave. I got a great video of Nicole falling on her butt as we were going downhill through the mud. In the night we hung out at the hotel and played games like "what are the odds" which is always fun and a good way to get to know eachother. We went to a few zoos near the city where we saw monkeys and parrots, etc.
One of the days we went to a giant waterfall where we jumped off a dock and swam all day. We stayed at that hotel for a few nights then moved to a 5-star hotel in Manuas. This was quite a change. We swam in the pool and played soccer with the other exchange students. There were about 90 of us on the trip. In the night we went to a show and watched some Brazilians dancing in an Amazon Rainforest themed show. They called us all on stage to dance with them and then we had a mini dance off.
We went to the market there and bought lots of presents for our fams the next day. We also went to a really old, beautiful theater in Manaus. The real fun started when we got on the boat. We had 3 boats and slept in them either 4 or 5 nights. I completely lost track of time on this trip. The boats had two stories and we slept in hammocks on the top. In these days we swam in the river and watched the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets that I have ever seen.
We took smaller boats to the forest and went on a survival hike through the forest with men that have stayed nights there with nothing but a knife and a few supplies from your backpack. We learned how to make fire with a cell-phone battery, how to make shelter from palmettos, how to trap animals and where to find them, what fruits you can eat, and I even ate a worm. Afterwards we had a delicious lunch of fish, farofa, and watermelon, using our hands to eat and a leaf as a plate, naturally.
This was an interesting day, but also the worst day for me because I was getting eaten alive by mosquitos, despite using every different type of repellent I could find and reapplying every 7 minutes. After this we took the boats back to the bigger boats. On the way, we swam in the river in the rain and had a war between biats of throwing seeds and berries etc.
One of the nights we went to an indigenious village and watched them perform typical dances and ceremonies. They even invited us to do a dance with them which was really cool and then we shopped a little at their market with all the things they made. A different day we went to a village of native people where they taught us how to make tapioca and acai from scratch. We also played soccer with some of the natives and then later had a mud fight in the rain. We went swimming in the river to wash it all of and did backflips off the boat.
In the night we would seperate girls and boys boats, so we could have shower dance parties at midnight and talk in our hammocks all night long. My favorite day was when we seperated into 4 small boats and a tour guide took us around. I was so lucky that I picked the best boat. We had the best tour guide and the best coordinator(Laura).
We were riding down the river and our tour guide stopped the boat because he spotted something in the tree. He climbs up it from the boat and brings us a sloth to hold and take pics with and then puts the little guy back in the tree. This was such a cool experience. He literally just plucked a sloth right from the rainforest. After this we stopped next to the forest near the trees and pulled out some bananas.
All of a sudden a dozen little monkeys are climbing all over us. At one point there were 6 monkeys climbing on my body from my lap to one sitting on my head and I think this was the happiest moment of my life. I had tears in my eyes. After the monkeys we went to a different spot and fished for piranhas and only the girls were able to actually catch any fish. And more monkeys came to hang with us.
After fishing, we drove the boat to an open part of the river and watched the sunset and we were the only boat that was there and we got to swim a well. This was probably the most peaceful moment of my life and I just swam there thanking God for making such a beautiful view. Once the sun went down we went through a small canal under a canopy of trees and caught us a baby gator. We got to hold it and it was so small but already it had 7 years of age. After that we went back to the big boat and ate and hung out. All the meals on the boat were delicious too.
The next day we swam with pink river dolphins near the beach. This was awesome and they weren't shy at all and stayed swimming with us long after we stopped feeding them and all the fish were gone. On the last night we had a luau on the beach and ate and danced and had a final party before we had to get back on the boat and head to the city. We slept on the boat for our last night and it stormed so heavy all through the night, which represented our feelings of saying goodbye I think. Surprisingly I slept great in the hammock every night and I actually miss it right now as I sit in my bed writing this. When we got back to Manaus we went shopping. Thank God for that because I did not have one single peice of clean clothes left, and we found Mexican food.
After shopping we went to the airport and said our goodbyes and everyone went in their different directions. This trip was an amazing experience, but really it is thanks to the coordinatos Ron and Laura. They really treated us as their equals and considered us friends instead of a bunch of kids they have to look after. So a big thanks to them for the experience of a lifetime!
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