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Tried to find an Amazon tour

My god do I hate it here.

We arrived in Manaus at about 9 am. I went straight for the tourist information centre because I foolishly thought they could help me book a tour or find my couchsurfing host or something.

First I asked for the company Franciele told me about. They told me where to go but it seemed like the wrong company. They were very pushy, so I ran back out and then back to the tourism office. I asked to make a local call and they said they had no phone. I asked for wifi and they had no idea where I could get some. They didn't even have any maps of the area. Seriously what is this farcical office for then?

The pizza place next door even refused to sell me a pop and allow me to use the wifi because they weren't supposed to be open for another 30 minutes. Why don't you lock the door then genius?

The police officer kindly let me call my couchsurfing host. He wasn't there so I went looking for wifi. I told the four (!!!) people working at the tourism office that this is the worst tourism office I have ever seen. Overstaffed and no help at all. One of them followed me to see where I was going, for what purpose I don't know.

I went to a small cafe because by now it was time for lunch. She had wifi no problem. I messaged a guy (Joshua) who invited me to take a tour with him (for money of course, even couchsurfing is not free in Manaus, more on this later)

He came to meet me at the cafe and he had some reasonable prices, although higher than someone Portuguese could have found, I know. I was just tired and wanted to find my host. I agreed to meet Joshua on Saturday morning for my Amazon tour.

Just to make sure, I went to the hosteling international place, who also have tours. I was happy that they cost way more than Joshua's. So I just decided to trust him.

I went back to the bus, mildly satisfied with Joshua. It took about an hour and a half to get to my host adainor's house. He had the fakest smile I'd ever seen and when I said I was going on a tour on Saturday he told me he had tours too. He handed me a paper with a bunch of rules for his house and also a list of the tours he provides. Who doesn't give tours in this town? My god. I was ready to leave. It would've been nice if he mentioned this was a high pressure sales tactic before I came so far on the bus in the 33 degree heat.

I wasn't about to pay for a tour on a lake, especially without meals (the "brochure" explicitly stated that he doesn't provide food) and only a dirty mattress to sleep on the floor. I didn't agree to anything but I let him think I would though.

I went for a walk to buy some fruit to share with him as a sort of good will offering, and also to think by myself about the circumstances.

Adainor is a pastor. He has his own independent church and they were having a prayer meeting that night. He manipulated me into going to it with some guilt tactics. "Oh do you go to church much?" Etc. I told him that I did when It was convenient for me, but it's awkward because I don't speak Portuguese and he said don't worry there's an English bible there. Great.

So I went because I had nothing else to do anyway. It was so boring and everyone shook my hand at the end. Maybe they thought they were getting a share of the tour money.

After that we went on a "night walk" through the depressing village. I really really don't mind spending my money in small poor villages, in fact it's one of my favourite things to do. But this time I felt manipulated and cheated. Nothing was explained on his profile, none of his references mentioned his tour guide service. He only said how much he liked to "help" people. I went to bed uncomfortable and trying to find a way out of this strange situation without having an outburst on anybody.

Interestingly, and a little conveniently, my earache started up again. At 3 am I woke up with a stabbing pain in the side of my head. I'd have to find a doctor in the morning. At least I had an excuse to get out now I guess.

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Brazil

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