Monday, June 23, 2014

Tummy pains and taxi lanes.

The adventure is finally setting in. I am writing this entry on my flight from Manaus to the next destination where I, or we American fans, await the next match versus Germany. Firstly I'd like to thank the audience for giving me a 2nd, or first reason to have a diary a all. So thank you.
For those of you that watched the USA Portugal match Sunday night, what a game!!! The massive support from the American fans in the area was amazing. Rivaling the fans cheering for Portugal and in respect to the brazilians, America let it's presence be known. Now, had it been an American victory party instead, than a split decision, I think this plane flight filled with Americans would have a different demeanor. In my opinion, the small Amazonian city of Manaus would not be prepared for a USA victory party. The build up before the game had an attitude that spoke for itself. I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN!
As I look out the plane window watching the Amazon pass below, I can't help but think of all the facts the Amazon holds. All the wildlife and plant species that can only be supported here. And how much oxygen production the rainforest contributes to the whole Earth.
Briefly, I would describe my 5 nights in Manaus as a semi solitary test of my own resolve. I say that for a few reasons. Only until the night before I arrived did I have a reservation for a place to stay. There was an advertisement on for a cabin on a boat docked at the marina. This boat is primarily used for transporting people to different smaller cities along the amazon. (It still amazes me that people live among these regions.) So this boat, was docked to sell space for people that needed a place to stay. Hammocks for $45 and cabins for $160. I booked a cabin for a night. The stay was interesting, it led to a few benefits. As I arrived from the airport to the boat, people were leaving to go to the match that night, Croatia vs Cameroon. They had an extra ticket for $100 us, so I took it. So these English blokes that sold me the ticket, I had found out that they had gone to the last 7 world cups! Since 1990 and this trip the guys have been to a game every day! Just hopping in and out of cities every day and night. Amazing to be in the presence of, what I called them, World Cup hall of fame fandom. So for me, that game was a great experience to check out a game earlier than planned. Croatia won. Leaving the stadium, helped me later on to have a geographical knowledge in relation to how far things were from each other in the city. The next day I spent lunch time going to the city square where Teatro de amazonas, an opera house, that was the focal point of the arts and nightlife in Manaus. I had found a place for a single, for consecutive nights, the rest of my trip. Great success. I had a tip to try the local fish while in the amazon. Tambaqui was the name of the popular fish, among others which I can't remember anymore. That night I had ordered it at this restaurant on the top story of a hotel. This restaurant was round and the floor revolved slowly around the window glass, so you could have this 360 view of the city. The dish was good, real buttery, cooked asada style. Great tip from my lonely planet book to dine there. The next day I had the same thing for lunch at a different place, because it was so good the first time, at an outdoor seated restaurant in the city square. Later that night I had pizza too. Now this set in motion future for the next 48 hours because I had the worse heartburn in the middle of the night, followed by the usual symptoms of the, latter determined, food poisoning. I use the term latter, because I had become paranoid, that because I came to the Amazonian city with no vaccinations or shots at all besides my tetanus shot like 3 years ago, @Joe Fuertsch know why. So yeah, I was scared that it was worse than I thought it was. Upper abdominal cramps that lingered, no appetite, some sweating, nausea. Maybe I was hallucinating? Just paranoid? At some moment, I thought i had malaria? I do naturally attract mosquitoes anywhere I go, bitten countless times where ever I travel through nature. So in my mind, curled up in my hotel bed like, "fuck." So much that I didn't even want to google malaria symptoms, in case whatever I read happen to match with the indicators. I stayed in all day, just trying to relax and sip water. I felt better somewhat the next day but still worried I had something unknown. In the afternoon, I mustered enough courage to go to the Fan Fest to watch the Germany vs Ghana game, which ended up as a 2-2 tie. I was determined to fight the sickness but retreated back to my room for the rest of the evening on an empty stomach. The next morning I woke with no cramps but still weary about what I could introduce to my gastronomy. Since I had not eaten anything in over 24 hours I had to be careful. Tea, good. Fruits, good. Later on, a small ham and cheese sandwich. Ok, not bad. This was game day for the USA so, I was feeling good slash better. I went on to the American Outlaw pre-game rally and didn't have any sign of the upset stomach I had. Success! I had a couple beers at the game, and pizza for dinner. So, I think we made it out of the jungle just fine, fingers crossed.
Lastly, I want to comment on how much soccer I've watched in the last 2 weeks! Crazy, or in Portuguese maluco.
Finally, landed now waiting for my connection in Brazil's capital, Brasilia where for 2 hours, stop working because it's a holiday to watch the home team play. Cheers.

Waiting for the rain to pass: Day 1

Teatros de Amazonas

View from atop the revolving restaurant 

Croatia vs Cameroon sitting up top.

Some architecture in the city square

Now you know how to say it in Portuguese.

Arena from the sky

At night

Where you can find me on your DVR

That's supposed to be all green right? Do you think that's the deforestation that people are fighting against? 

Mini Fan Fest at the airport