A few million gazillion people will be heading to Manaus, that cultural metropolis deep in the Brazilian rainforest, when it becomes one of the host cities in the football (or soccer, whatever) World Cup 2014.
My advice is to go now. I would like to go now. I want to take an Amazon cruise and search for pink dolphins. It’s said that the rare pink river dolphins are unusual – that they can crane their heads. Like people! I desperately wanted to see one when I cruised the Amazon in Peru, but I only saw boring old grey dolphins. Kidding! Any dolphin sighting is a thrill. Except, you know, they weren’t pink. I also saw piranhas, a sloth and a few pink-spotted tarantulas, and while I didn’t see pumas or panthers I knew they were there.
I just went to a press conference for the FIFA World Cup and was reminded that Manaus, population 2 million, is famous for its opera house, which took 14 years to build back in 1897 when Manaus was filled with rubber barons and was one of the richest city’s in the world. (I’m not saying the barons were made of rubber, like Gumby, but that they made their money from rubber. Just to clarify.)
At the press conference I was also reminded how much I loved the Amazon. I mean, LOVED it. Especially once we got to the old growth forest where I met with a shaman, and orchids and vines strangle the trees and drip down into the ferns, and it’s all quiet and earthy and dark. Bottom line? I guess I’m just an Amazon at heart.