First the Opera then North.

Manaus was one of the richest cities in the world and for a time it had a near monopoly on the supply of rubber (until the British took tens of thousands of rubber tree seeds to Kew Gardens). In its heyday the "rubber barons" had a magnificent opera house built (everything, except the wood, was imported from Europe).

After many years of neglect the opera house has now been restored and is in use nearly every day, with most performances being free!

We went to a performance of several extracts from Mozart operas with four out-of-town singers performing the major roles, a 60 piece local orchestra and a 90 strong chorus. A memorable performance. (The photograph, below, was taken the following day and shows part of the orchestra rehearsing.)

After re-stocked the vans at the worst Carrefour supermarket I have every visited (but still the best supermarket we could find in the centre of town, at S03.133149 W 60.023816) we headed north towards Venezuela. On the way out of town we passed a much larger Carrefour at S03.078332 W60.024458.

There are only two major roads out of Manaus, one heading north (the one we wanted) and one heading north-east. We managed to pick the wrong one. There are no signs and even when we retraced our route the correct road was hard to find. (For the record the road to Boa Vista starts just after a police check point at S02.971633 W60.014745 as an unsigned left turn.)

We had been told many times that the Manaus to Boa Vista road was "good". It is tarmac and in many places very good tarmac but there are many sections with pot holes, particularly in the Waimiri Atroari Reserve (where you are not allowed to stop or take photographs).

We are now parked in a layby (N01.369797 W60.626630) surrounded by birds (good) and insects (bad) having crossed the equator again.

Stephen Stewart.

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