We spent ages walking around photographing the massive floats. Some were being dismantled others being constructed. You could see the frames covered in material and then painted in the most vivid colours. There was a whole industry!!
Parantins is a small town on the Amazon famous for the spectacle of its folklore festival which is a massive display of costumes, dance and huge floats that takes place in an arena called Bumbódromo.
We largely avoided that.
The bus dropped us off at the market. There is always something enticing about markets in foreign countries. They are full of strange fruits, smells and objects. It is fascinating to walk around through the stalls looking at the goods and talking to the traders, exchanging smiles and laughs.
We saw a lot of big birds circling overhead. That was the fish market. The fish were gutted and the heads and entrails thrown to the vultures and egrets. As we got near we found ourselves walking through the vultures and egrets. They were standing around waiting to be fed.
Inside the fish were all extremely exotic. The smell wasn’t quite as exotic.
The beach at the fishing port was covered with rubbish with vultures and egrets picking through it. It did not look very enticing. All around was the squalor of decaying colonial buildings. Nothing was maintained. It reeked of poverty.
Belem was an abbreviation of Bethlehem. It did not live up to its name.
We arrived at sunrise at the port of Icoaracy – about twenty miles from Belem. Vultures and egrets were scavenging on the beach. We were greeted with carnival dancing, costume and music – but all around were heavily armed guards.
I saw some security guys with the biggest rifle I’ve ever seen. The town exuded colour and danger.
It is fabulous to be in the rainforest with its rich array of wildlife. Colourful birds, iguanas – a tropical paradise for naturalists like me.
Quite weird to have a sandy beach and holiday resort on the Amazon river!! The fresh water of the lagoon floods every season. When you swim in the warm water fish nibble your toes.
It was idyllic.
It was fabulous to see the wildlife and surreal to be paddling around the tops of huge trees.
We went on a journey into the Amazon rainforest.
There are vultures everywhere in Brazil. They are scavengers. They clear up after us. This lot were picking over the carcass of a dead animal. They are big birds.
There was more to the opera house that the main performance area – there were a number of other rooms with pillars, ornate ceilings and decoration. They certain went to extremes to create something they wanted to be the equivalent of what they had in Europe.
They had ambition.