Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Day Twenty-One, Tuesday, January 27: Surprise Layover

Day Twenty-One, Tuesday, January 27: Surprise Layover

Our day started early, as we decided to pack our last day in Brazil with as many great experiences as we could.  First on the agenda was an early morning trip to a local zoo/animal hospital that cares for injured wild animals and trafficked animals that have been confiscated.  We decided to get there as close to 8am as we could so we got up at about 6:45 to make sure we had plenty of time.

There are LOTS of monkeys there, some hurt but more abandoned by their former caretakers.  They have big enclosures with trees growing in them so they really swing around and act like the cartoon version of monkeys might act.  You can walk right up to some of the enclosures and the monkeys will reach through and hold your hand or even hug you.  We learned today that Marissa used to be obsessed with monkeys as a young girl and the monkeys seemed to sense her affection, as they all clustered around her and found her fascinating.  We all got a huge kick out of hanging out around the (friendly) monkey cages. 

There were lots of non-monkey animals there too, including some that we don’t really have words for in English.  We saw a special kind of deer and a special kind of pig and even a tapir.  We saw beautiful hawks and lots of parrots, macaws and parakeets.  There were some lemur-like animals that were called something different and there were even alligators and turtles.  There was even a pair of adult pumas. 

After walking the main path around the zoo, we visited the quarantine area, where there are several tanks for injured fresh water manatees, which are only in the Amazon basin.  There are also some monkeys over there, including a howler monkey (the first one we’ve seen up close) and the zogzogs that we have heard almost every day near our hammock hut in Anã. 

One monkey is very much on the mend and was clinging to one of the caretakers like it was his bracelet or something.  When we walked up, the monkey would transfer over to one of us and then another, giving us plenty of time to get pictures before it moved on. 

We also got to see a jaguar from just a few feet away.  There were sloths, too; this time not way, way up in trees but just inches away from us.  We were full of wonder and happiness being among the animals but we also needed to hustle to make a few other things happen so we left the zoo to head downtown again for our last minute shopping needs.  We had urgent needs for more hammocks (we love them now!) and machetes (ditto), along with Havaianas sandals for ourselves and a few friends and family members.  We made quick work of this stop so that we could head to our next destination: Alter do Chão. 

Alter do Chão is a beautiful Amazon beach that is basically a very large sandbar just off the shore of the Tapajos.  It has cabanas and palm trees and lots of people, so we wanted to check out that part of Brazilian culture too before we left the country. 

We were joined there by our friends Josy (from Santarém) and Monica and Diorlando (from Anã).  We played in the water a bit, sat at the edge of the waves, tasted some beach foods and then called it a day, as we had to get back to our hostel and pack out our baggage one last time. We made quick work of the move-out and got to the airport with ease. 

Our flight to Manaus was uneventful until we landed and learned that we would not be making our connecting flight because it had been delayed by about twelve hours.  We further learned that once we get out of Manaus and head for Miami, we will find ourselves stranded there tomorrow night. 

We are going to make the most of our unexpected stay (the airline is putting us up in a NICE hotel and buying us food) by scheduling a visit to the famous Manaus opera house in the center of the city.  We will then make our way to the airport and spend more time trying to figure out how we are eventually going to get home. 

We are confident it will work out; we just wish we had more clean laundry to get us through these next couple of days.  Can someone look into that underwear drone again?

Daily Photos

A family of Capuchin monkeys sit together at the zoo. These monkeys are known to be extremely smart and sneaky. 

A baby monkey from the animal rehabilitation center sits in the hands of the zookeeper. 

From a few feet away, the smell of this area is quite noticeable. These hogs roam around and cause trouble in more densely populated areas. 

One of the birds in this cage, made it’s way up the cage by using its beak and claws along the cage. Not all of the birds here know how to fly, those that can’t may never be able to be released out into the wild. 

The beach of Alter do Chão where we spent our last afternoon in Brasil.

A blue parrot sits on the windowsill at the rehabilitation center at the zoo.

Two parrots groom each other in the trees at the zoo. These parrots are known to have one partner and stay with them for their whole lives. 

Caught a tapir grinning for the camera at the zoo.

This was a spotted cougar that we saw at the zoo. Sadly, it has an injured hip so it will not be returned to the wild.

We went to Alter de Chão for our last day in Brazil. It was a beautiful beach.

We arrived to this beautiful sign that reads, "Welcome to Alter do Chão," on our way to the beach.

This is a shot from the sand on the beach at Alter de Chão. 

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