Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Amazonian Wonders

In the heart of South American jungle where black waters of the Rio-Negro unite with coffee and milk colored stream of the Solimones, the largest river of the planet is born - the Amazon.

It is doubtful that someone could have planned that a little settlement founded by the Portuguese in 1669 will soon become the second biggest city in Brazil according to the population. And what concerns money and gold - even the first. This city is called Manaus. Conquistadors were vainly looking for gold in these places in the 17th century. Manaus didn't become rich back then, but it did become one in the 20th century. It wasn't gold, it was caoutchouc as the rubber tree (the only source of rubber of that times) grew only in the selva of the Amazon river.

Manaus became the economical center of Brazil and real oasis of luxury. However, today the city does not look so luxurious like then. The main symbol of the city's golden days is the opera house. It is probably the only building of such kind in the jungle.

The theater was constructed to challenge the best theaters of the Old World.

It is exciting that several kilometers away from the European-like theatre there are dangerous crocodiles, malaria and yellow fever. On the picture above you may see unique phenomenon called "wedding of the rivers" - two streams flow together for several kilometers without mixing.

During rainy season the water level may rise by 15 meters. Such floating houses rise with it.

A child can step on these marvellous victorias like on some majic path.

The rubber plants were once illegally taken to the United Kingdom and then planted in Sri Lanka and other tropical regions. Their rubber was cheaper and that's how the monopoly of Manaus ended.

Aerial view of the Amazonia.

Exotic fruits and vegetables in a local market.

Local people kindly try to explain to some overseas tourists what they actually sell.

Fish market.

Local souvenirs.

And local girls.

Time to see some real jungle life. Starting by car.

And proceeding by boat.

There are no roads in the jungle. Actually, the river is the jungle road.

During their tours over Amazonia tourists live in such huts with straw roofs.

All the beds are protected with mosquito nets.

Wonderful interlaced lianas.

Banana plantation.
50% of oxygen are generated in the very Amazonian tropical forests that's why Amazonia is called "lungs of the Earth". About 25% of all the pharmaceutecals are extracted from some plant or tree from Amazonia as they all have some useful application.

If you are thirsty in the jungle you mal easily drink from such liana.

This is a "telephone tree". Its stem forms long ribs, if one hits such rib with a stick, the sound will be heard over several kilometers. Indians used to communicate with the help of such trees.

There are also many edible fruits and plants.

But be careful with this leaves.

The stem of this tree is all covered with spikes.

The black part of this stem might seem soft at first sight, in fact these are pretty unpleasant spikes.

Feel yourself a Lilliputian.

Crocodiles become more active at night. That's the right time to show the tourists one famous trick - catch a crocodile with bare hands.

The trick is that the bright light blinds a crocodile and it falls into a kind of trance. And then it's only the matter of dexterity.

via silvar

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