Welcome to the jungle! We (Keith, Abby and I) have arrived in Brasil, greeted by hot, humid weather… Just the way I like it. We’re here for the World Cup, and what a place to see it. The whole country is alive, at least from what we’ve seen so far. The Brazilian flag is everywhere, and down nearly every street there are blue, yellow and green streamers strung across.
Our itinerary in Manaus includes the Croatia-Cameroon game (a blowout, but great experience), the US-Portugal game (an absolute amazing experience), and lots of football watching in between. We go back and forth to Manaus, hitting the Amazon and Rio in between stints in the urban island of the jungle. We were able to watch the Brasil-Mexico game televised in the main square in Manaus, which was nothing short of a huge party. And on the way there, we were on a roller coaster of a bus, speeding down the streets, with everyone in yellow #10 jerseys running alongside us, ready to cheer on the seleção.
We’ve also been eating well enough, and even Abby has too considering she’s a vegetarian in a meat-heavy country. I’ve been trying to eat as much local flavors as possible, though from my impression so far, our options are limited. People must cook mostly at home; from what I’ve seen, our choices to eat here in Manaus consist of lanchonetes (greasy spoons), lanches (kiosk greasy spoons), and Glacial–the local ice cream shop of which we’ve seen six so far. [They’re amazing and absolutely destroy you.] One of our first nights here, I had a sundae with brigadeiro (the famous Brazilian chocolate treat) flavored ice cream. (That’s Keith’s brownie ice cream, which was equally delicious, next to my sundae.) From time to time we’ve also stumbled on more restaurant-like options. I’m sure there is upscale dining, but my impression is that most everything is quite casual. I’m sure the heat, humidity and constant rain doesn’t help. Most eateries are full of plastic dining sets strewn into the sidewalk (and at night, the streets), and sandals are the footwear status quo. My torta de frango con queijos e catupiri (chicken torte with cheeses and catupiri cheese, a local creamy cheese): Brazilian chicken, aka chicken roast with rice and manioc flour: Our frango tudo sanduiches (chicken everything sandwiches, everything being ham and bacon on the sandwich, which suited me just fine). We had this during the second half of the Brasil/Mexico game, at seemingly the only restaurant open in town. The amazing fig, ham and pineapple pizza that Keith had, and Abby’s rice and beans: Another pizza atop the Manaus rooftop: Keith supporting the US and soccer ice cream (what a great way to beat the heat): Abby’s fail-safe food option, Brasil-style:
Next we’re off to the Amazon, where I’m sure we’ll at least have an interesting story to tell!