Parintins, Brazil

April 13, 2018

Parintins is a city of about 100,000 and is on the right bank of the Amazon River on Tupinambarana Island.  It can only be reached by boat or plane. It is known as the most hospitable cultural city in this region and we certainly found that to be true.  We took a tender to shore and were greeted by their “boy and girl scouts” who smiled with us and helped anyone who needed any kind of assistance. 

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It was raining pretty hard when we got to shore, but we were intrepid walkers in spite of the many pedicabs that are here and really wanted to take us around town! Everyone we encountered had a smile and friendly greeting for us. We visited a very open modern church and walked through many markets where people were eager to show us their wares, especially the teeth of the piranha!

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They have some unique planters – these are tires that have a variety of plants in them.  Very pretty.

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As we walked around, the rain stopped and we went to a craft market area where we bought a couple of things.  I like to support the local people!

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One of the unique features of this city is the Boi Bumba festival held in June – the biggest annual festival in Amazonas.  It enacts the kidnapping, death and resurrection of an ox (boi), a metaphor for agricultural cycles. The event is turned into a competition between two Boi teams, each with several thousand members – Caprichoso in blue and Garantido in red.  The rivalry apparently grew out of a “friendly” feud between two families over 90 years ago. Tens of thousands of people come here for the festival and virtually every citizen supports either red or blue. Even when it is not festival time, it is common to see the colors of red and blue and bull symbolism everywhere.  One of the pictures below is of bull phone booths!  It is even said that the Coke advertises  the typical red can and also one in blue, the only place that Coke does this!  We didn’t spot any blue signs or cans. But we did see the blue headquarters and some of the replica bulls on the street.

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This costume on the back of the scooter is a typical Boi Bumba costume.

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Very little graffiti was seen here – different from many of the other cities we visited.  The sidewalks are often made of tile (slippery in the rain!) and there are some beautiful murals and buildings.

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There are many fishing boats and transportation boats, in fact our tender docked next to a boat that we had to walk through to get to the dock.  The docks and many houses are floating to accomodate the changes in height of the river in the rainy season.  Yesterday, Francisco said that it is a good thing if you don’t like your neighbor.  You can just attach your boat and pull your house to somewhere else!

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Tomorrow is our last port in the Amazon.  After that we head to Devil’s Island, French Guiana which is the site of the famous Papillion.  Rumor has it that they will show the movie in Horizons on Sunday evening before we arrive on Monday.

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