Some Connecticut Yankees In Manaus: February 9, 1998

Surprisingly, there seem to be few tourists around. Well, perhaps just none so obvious as us, carrying elaborate video gear and sporting the unhealthy paleness of a North American winter! We get our fair share of attention, even in the multi-colored melting pot of Manaus, as very blonde Ann finds out. Even among Brazilians, however, Manaus is not a popular tourist destination, considering its premier location in the middle of one the most amazing regions of Earth. As one person explained to us, “Manaus and the rainforest are beautiful, but very difficult to get to for most people. Consider in the United States, how many Americans have been to Alaska?”

As we walk along the waterfront, we encounter another relic from Manaus’ glittering past, from the same era as the Teatro Amazonas: the city marketplace which contains an elaborate market plaza designed by the French engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel—yes, THAT Eiffel, the same person who designed the Eiffel Tower in Paris! Like its distant relative, the Manaus marketplace features ornate ironwork, highlighted by beautiful stained glass windows. As we walk through the aisles, there is every kind of fruit and vegetable, many totally unrecognizable from your local supermarket. The large indoor markets have various kinds of meats for sale, and in the early morning, fresh fish, straight off fishing boats from the river.

Brian is the star of our expedition, capturing the movement of Manaus on tape and using smiles and friendly gestures where our Portuguese is lacking. John and Ann get to play tourist for much of the time, snapping pictures and sampling the local fare in the markets. Back in the U.S., both John and Ann are communications engineers, jobs requiring advanced education and years of experience. On a PTK location crew, though, everyone pitches in where they can, and so John and Ann take turns hauling tripods and camera bags. Perhaps next time, we’ll get Brian to carry the 10 foot satellite antenna.

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