I wish I could explain in detail how fun and exciting it was to experience a little bit of Brazil, but I don't think I will do very well.
So, I'll put it this way..... It was awesome.
Firstly, both Lynette and I were scheduled to go to Brazil with my Dad to pick up my brother Jared from his mission in Manaus, Brazil. Due to the future addition to our family and the havoc that the addition had caused to take place in Lynette's body, she was unable to attend. Bitter sweet at the least.
You'll oft hear to "go big or go home".... and well, for the first time since we were married, we slept in different beds.... and to make it big....it just so happened to be many countries apart.
The rest of the story goes something like this.
I hopped on a flight to Texas.
Had an excessively long layover there.
Flew to Manaus.
Arrived in Manaus around Midnight.
This is where the real fun began.
My Dad had explained that we would be at a resort near the Amazon River and.... well, thats all I knew. As I cleared customs and started to walk to the exit of the Airport, I anxiously looked for my Dad....who would usually stick out very easily with a big bald white head. I couldn't find him anywhere. I realized that I had no number to call, no Resort name to find, and Portuguese was more difficult to pick up that I had expected. Just then, I saw a man with a little piece of paper that showed "Martin Jeffrey". As this was my only lead in the moment, I assumed the best and followed the man to his car.
Side note: When applying for the Brazil Visa and looking into Travel Books about things to do in Brazil, there was a very consistent list of things "Never To Do". This was the list.
1. Don't get into cars with strangers or Taxis of Companies you don't know to be safe.
2. Don't let them drive down dark roads or alley ways.
3. Don't be out past 11:00pm. Most recommended 9:30pm or 10:00pm at latest.
4. Know where you are going ahead of time.
4. Know where you are going ahead of time.
So..... As you may have noticed....I was breaking all the rules right away. I got into an unmarked taxi with a man I didn’t know or understand and we drove off down an unlit road for a good 15 mins. In his broken English he said, “Dont worry, this is safe. There is power out for whole area.” I thought to myself.... Man, I am on a roll. I broke every rule in the first 20 mins in Brazil. He then proceeded to say, “Not long. Just 15 by car, then 25 by boat.”
Yes, if you were like me, the 25 by boat was a very big surprise. Just saying “Boat” would have been sufficient enough to startle me a bit, but 25 mins on a boat at almost 1:00am? I first thought that he was joking. Then, I found that my driver was sincere in his words as we drove into a busted up, seemingly abandoned, docking area.
I silently made peace with my life, just in case the worse were to happen, and I hopped onto a rickety old, long, thin, wooden boat.
That was when the excitement passed and pure bliss commenced. I had now been awake for approximately 40 hours straight, was in a whole new Country, gliding down a black river, with a black jungle on both sides, animals awake and thriving, and the only lights I saw were the moon, the brightest stars I’d ever seen, and all their reflections on the water. I was enjoying myself thoroughly. The half an hour boat ride came to an end at some seemingly random dark beach where we got off the boat and started to walk down the beach. Suddenly, we were there, the resort. Some reason, when my dad I said resort, I imagined a some large fancy building with nice rooms and lots of people going in and out. This was none of those. It was like walking into some Amazon Village....although, the rooms were wonderful....simple....yet wonderful.
I was in the Amazon. The guide checked for spiders and bugs before allowing me into my little hut of a room, and then I fell fast asleep.
I awoke the next morning early, by a banging on my door. My dad. It was nice to finally see a familiar face and the fun just kept going.
We went for a hike in the amazon. Saw massive trees, herds of caterpillars, and those ants whose bite supposedly hurts worse than labor pains.
Saw Native monkeys.
Went piranha fishing. I caught two....and ate them. Fried. Yum.
Went swimming in natural pools. Where some other type of little fish tried to eat me. I originally made fun of my dad for yelping so loud and getting out of the water so quickly....until I was the one they started to nip at. Karma.
Then, early the next morning, after a great day 1, we went to pick up my brother at the Mission Home. It was great to see him, meet the Mission President, and be off to experience the people of Brazil. I ate the best fish of my life at a members home, experienced a legendary Amazon Rain Storms, and had another great day.
I seriously was in love with Brazil, and then in got even better.
We went to Rio and saw the sights.....I even saw "The Phenomenon" Ronaldo. For those of you who understand.....thats amazing.
I'm feeling like pictures will do best here.
The only way this trip could have been any better would have been to have Lynette there!
We all enjoyed it so much that we are planning a return trip in 2014!! I am looking forward to it.
WE are looking forward to it. :)