Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Monday 15 September / Tuesday 16 September, 2014

Last day in the Amazons so we had a walk through the rainforest to where they are teaching the locals how to propagate and look after orchids. They had over a hundred plants of all sizes. Sadly none were in bloom. A group teaches the locals so that they do not go in the rainforest and just take them to sell and then they don't have any left. By teaching them to look after them and to propagate them, they are teaching the locals about sustainability which is a huge focus in the Amazon area.
We left for the airport at 11 on our last boat trip on the Amazon and headed back to Manaus to catch our plane to Rio de Janiero. On the way you could see how bad the flood had been this year by where it cut the banks of the river. We got to the airport at noon but our plane didn't leave until 4:30 so it was one of those "travel" days that are not enjoyable but all part of the journey. Believe it or not, we had to walk out on the Tarmac and up the stairs to get on the plane!!! Can't remember the last time I did that. It is such a budget airline that we had this small bread roll for dinner (we got into Rio at 9:30) that had a small piece of cheese and 2 small pieces of ham plus an orange juice! But all worth it when we saw the view from our room on the 24th floor of the Sheraton.
It was nearly 11:30 by the time we were checked in at the hotel so it was a very long day.

Tues we had a leisurely breakfast buffet. we watched these people climb up this rope to the top of a huge rock and then jump off the rock into the water! We knew we would never see someone in Australia secure a rope on a rock that would then allow the public to use it to have some fun! After that we headed into the local area of Lebon, which is next to Ipanema and Cococabana Beaches. Rio has 6 million people in the metropolitan area and I think 18 million in the whole city. It is very crowded, traffic and people wise. There are apartment blocks everywhere or houses that are crammed so tightly together. There is construction everywhere as they are getting ready for the Olympics in 2016.
On several of the lamp posts they grow orchids. Many were in bloom and looked so pretty. On the way back to the hotel, the wind was blowing a gale and as we were walking next to the beach, it stung our faces, hands and legs. And of course we had sand everywhere....clothes, hair, ears etc! Yuck!
We met our tour guide and the other 35 travelers in the afternoon. Aussies and Americans make up the majority with other couples from Switzerland and Canada and a lady from New Zealand.
We took an afternoon tour which headed to the cable car to Sugar Loaf mountain. Very overcast but we were glad it wasn't raining! What stunning views of the domestic airport, beaches, lake and city!
Dinner was at a local restaurant and was prawn crepes and a delicious local fish with rice pilaf. No colour to the meal, all white, but very tasty. Baked bananas and ice cream for dessert. Interesting that at the grocery store and at the buffet breakfast they have all these signs near colourful food suggesting having colour on you plate!!!

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