Monday, October 19, 2015

Sailing down the amazon

This has been quite a week, starting in Manaus, in the middle of the Amazon. Monday was a holiday for Brazil - Children,s Day (as well as Columbus Day in the USA and Thanksgiving in Canada). We decided to take a boat tour on the Rio Negro.
Getting on the river boat
Passing the Manaus Temple
Manaus from Rio Negro
We actually went to see the Encontro das Aguas. Manaus is on Rio Negro, the largest tributary of the Amazon River. It is black because of decaying vegetation up river. It joins with Rio Solimões (a brown river due to sediments) to form the Amazon River. Because of different temperatures and densities of the two rivers they flow side-by-side for several miles without mixing.

Enconrto das Aguas
Encontro dos missionários
 The river level changes by about 45 feet between seasons. This is the dry season so the river is at its lowest level. Because of this we got stuck on a sandbar.
A boat trying to push us off the sandbar
Everyone moved up front to get us free of the sandbar.
 There are small villages along the river built on posts to allow flooding.
Small village on stilts
They took us in canoes (smaller boats) to navigate a small channel of the river. We had lunch at a floating restaurant.

Our canoe driver
Restaurant on the river
Food from the Amazon River
 During the wet season the Amazon Forest is flooded. Since it is the dry season the ground was bare except for little lakes left behind.
A "lake" in the Amazon rainforest
The big tree
As well as villages along the river, some of the people live in houseboats.

Houseboat on the Amazon
We stopped at a place for some fishing for piranha. I tried it, but I´m not a good fisherman. I would starve on the Amazon!
Maybe it´s the blue shirt
The fish I didn´t catch
We got back on our riverboat and returned to Manaus. This is the main source of transportation from one city to another on the river, sometimes taking a week or more on the riverboat.
Sleeping accommodations on the riverboat
Landing back in Manaus
Tuesday was a workday. We went to see some far-away chapels. We started the morning meeting with Ednei, one of the FM managers for Manaus. Manaus has nine stakes and most of the wards are within the city.
Ednei at the FM office
Since we are introducing the new webcast to Brazil we wanted to see some chapels remote from stake centers. We found them. We first went to a chapel in a small city called Manacapuru which is across the river and about an hour drive from Manaus.

A small camp along the road to Manacapuru
Primitive house in Manacapuru
There is a nice chapel in Manacapuru that accommodates the Manacaparu and Miriti wards. The internet is unstable, but using webcast for stake conference would eliminate a lot of travel.
Manacapuru chapel
In front of the chapel
We like to evaluate potential technical problems with chapels.

How do flip flops effect reception of General Conference?
Our host for the trip was Micias, a technician for FM. He picked out a restaurant for lunch along the side of the road. It was actually good food.
Fancy restaurant in Manacapuru
Lunch time
Manacapuru is a city along the Solimões (Amazon) River. The pirarucu is a giant fish they find in the Amazon River. We had pirarucu several times for dinner.

In front of a small pirarucu
We next went to a small chapel of the Iranduba Branch. It is a small building that doesn´t even look like a chapel. We then went back to Manaus for the evening.

The Iranduba Branch
Wednesday we looked at some chapels within Manaus, We started out in the chapel with the self-reliance center. It was an active place for the middle of the week. We visited the call center where helpers follow up on people seeking jobs.
Smiling faces in the call center
 We then peeked in on a class for self reliance. This is one of the main points of emphasis for the area presidency.
Self-reliance class
 Diane found a piano in the chapel instead of the keyboard most often encountered.
The piano player
 We passed by the Museum of the People of the North that gives an anthropological view of the peoples of the Amazon.
Typical lodging for Amazon Indian tribes
Series of statues of Indigenous people
Small canoe for river life
Our English-speaking tour guide
 We next went by President Domingo´s house to get keys for his stake center. He sells ice cream from his home. There has been a series of break-ins at various chapels. Last night they caught one of the thieves which led to a whole gang trying to break into chapels.
President Domingo and his wife
 Micias took us to see the peixe-boi, which means fish-cow. We couldn´t picture what he was talking about. It ended up being an Amazon Manatee. It was a nice peaceful park.

The peixe-boi (fish-cow)
this is the creature
Monkeys on the rooftops
That´s not the way to catch piranha!
 It was a pleasant way to end our trip to Manaus. Now for an early flight to Belém.
Reflections on Manaus

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