We are having a great time in this English-speaking, peanut-butter-loving nation, but before I get into that, I want to catch you up on our last few days in Brazil.
As Andy hinted in the last post, I did not really enjoy our rainforest excursion in Brazil so much. I have been to rainforests in three or four other places before, so I thought I knew what I was getting into, but I have to say, the bugs (mosquitoes, black flies, ticks, ants, spiders, and the famous tarantula in Andy's pants) were really awful, the wildlife sightings really few and far between, and the accommodations rough--especially at the satelite camp, where we slept in uncomfortable hammocks covered by holey mosquito nets. (And I'll just add that I'd really prefer not to spend my next "that time of the month" camping out in the jungle if at all possible, thanks. Though my Lunette served me admirably!)
Built at the height of the rubber boom in the early 1900s (of whose horrors we heard many tales, so it's important to note that this lovely if somewhat extravagant architecture came at a great cost to the poor rubber workers of the region), it is apparently the only domed opera houses in the world, though that's kind of a misnomer because the ceiling inside didn't appear to be domed, meaning the dome is just a decoration.
So, yes, we went inside--we happened to be in town during the Amazonas Jazz Festival, and were able to get tickets for third-tier seats for $5 US apiece! So we enjoyed a double-bill of a terrific Brazilian jazz pianist and a saxophonist from New York (whose set was billed as something like "Vanguard of New York jazz," and we thought it was funny that we had come all the way to Manaus to hear the latest from the NY jazz scene).
The theater, built at the turn of the century, was just as beautiful inside as it was on the outside. We felt like we were in one of those Degas or Cassat paintings of people at the theater (well, except that we were wearing smelly tourist clothes and muddied sneakers instead of lovely ball gowns and suits).
For me, it was the perfect antidote to days of sweating and being bitten up in the jungle.