Show me the way to Amazonas…

Time for a note on where we’re going and what we’re hoping to do when we get there.

As mentioned earlier, Manaus is our initial destination. Capital of Amazonas – the largest Brazilian state – and gateway to the Brazilian Amazon, this will be our metropolitan base. But I must admit I’m more drawn to the jungle or river (one big dirty city is much like another, to me), so we’re also hoping to have a base in Careiro do Castanho, 100km south on the road to Porto Velho (the as-yet-unfinished BR319). After you cross the Amazon, this is as far down the road as you can get without using a ferry. I think it’s perfect, and an added bonus is that Naice’s brother Romulo has a house there. So whatever we ultimately do, this will be roughly the area of operations.

One of the first things we agreed is that we would take six months off, just for ourselves. Personally, I’d like to take the rest of my life off, but everyone tells me I’d soon get bored (are they kidding?). In any case, we’ll need to earn some money fairly soon, so six months it is. High on my agenda are some blokish things I just have to do, which Naice (my wife) feigns polite interest in. These include climbing the highest mountain in Brazil, the Pico da Neblina (Cloud Peak, or Misty Mountain, maybe), building a floating lodge, or flutuante, and buying a boat with an outboard motor. Naice, on the other hand, is looking forward to spending some time with her family, who live just south of Manaus on the BR319, where her dad has a store and petrol station (Posto de Gasolina Sao Francisco – if you’re ever in the area, pop in!). I think this is another one of those “you’ll soon get bored” scenarios, but we’ll see.

For the geographically-minded, using Google Earth you can see Naice’s father’s petrol station in pretty good definition at 3 degrees, 22 minutes, 11.12 seconds South/59 degrees, 52 minutes, 46.89 seconds West. The site for the floating lodge is further down the road and available in lower definition at 3 degrees 49 minutes, 15.21 seconds South/60 degrees, 22 minutes, 15.66 seconds West. Manaus, of course, is almost directly north of the petrol station, on the other side of the Amazon (actually at the confluence of the rivers Negro and Solimoes, forming the famous Meeting of the Waters in the photo at top left.)
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