Back to Morocco again brought back memories of my two week trip there three years ago with Tania but we never came to this part so new to me. Not as interesting as other parts but still good to be back.
Tangier has a walled casbah familiar from other parts of the country but always fun to wander around.
Once you get into the markets you can be assured of a riot of colourful stalls and street scenes.
Lunch in Tetouan was lamb and apricot Tajine – forgotten how delicious they are.
We visited synagogues in Tangier and Tetouan – all Sephardic given that many moved to Morocco from Spain during the inquisition and to this day a lot of Spanish is heard in Tangier. The street below was in the Jewish quarter and deliberately had six pointed arches to reflect the Star of David
And lastly a stop at a closed (it was Labour Day) school for students who learn the traditional arts such as leather engraving, intricate plaster carving, woodwork and copper work.
I spent a few days in and around Manaus – which is actually on the Rio Negro which is a very wide offshoot of the Amazon. Something about the ph level of this river makes it highly acid and all I understand about that is they don’t seem to have any mosquitos – and that’s a great thing.
Manaus is a bit of a tired city but with a few old (and to be honest a bit crumbly) buildings. These are the best ones.
In it’s heyday it was a super luxurious place as the rubber barons made a lot of money thanks to lots of rubber trees and slave labour and Mr Goodyear who figured out how to process it. That was all great for the city’s fortunes (if not the slaves) until the Brits came and took the seedlings away so they could propagate them in Malaysia and Indonesia and that was the beginning of the end for Manaus.
It has a main town square (with wave style flooring very reminiscent of Lisbon squares) as well as the fish and handicraft market.
The market also sells a lot of “natural viagra” potions and pills and certainly I saw a lot of people carrying back small packets after visiting there (!) but they all swore they were fresh Brazil nuts!
This part of Brazil is known for its pink dolphins. We headed out 90 minutes down the Rio Negro – first to visit a very small indigenous village – 27 people now but was once part of a rubber plantation – hence the example of tapping the rubber tree below. Also they make hammocks – everyone in Brazil has at least two hammocks and they travel with them everywhere – have hammock will travel!
And then we went to see the so-called friendly pink dolphins. Very pretty but not so friendly in the end – one swung round at me (I think he thought I wanted his fish?!?) and whacked me on the forehead above my right eye. You can see me holding my head just after it happened. I think I will stay on land in future:)
A much safer way to see the dolphins – the pretend ones!
Day 1 – bump on forehead.
Day 2-bruises on eyelid too.
Now at purple colour stage and bored of this look!