The Amazon is exotic by any standard, but a particularly enchanting time to cruise the mightiest of all rivers is during the Christmas season. At this time of year, a new, festive spirit inhabits Manaus by night as the legendary Teatro Amazonas dazzles the eye with its Christmas finery:
The Christmas celebration is complete with the biggest Christmas Angel I have ever seen, plus some shining reindeer!
Of course, there is an Amazonian Christmas pageant …
Luckily for us, the pageant was held in the Teatro Amazonas. A chance to experience a Brazilian Christmas performance in one of the most famous venues in the land. (The Teatro’s schedule is next to impossible to fathom on line, therefore, it is imperative to gather this information first thing when you arrive at the port.)
The ambience is worth the price of admission all by itself, as you can see from the smile on the face of the Star Lady. As a photographic subject, the Teatro just won’t fit into most cameras, and really requires a fisheye lens. On other occasions we have attended smaller samba-oriented concerts where the audience sat on stage looking past the performer out towards the beauty of the theatre. In many respects this is the best of all possible worlds
The Christmas pageant includes (what else would you expect in Manaus!) the meeting of the waters. Here we have the Rio Negro on the left and the Rio Solimõe on the right:
The actual meeting of the waters looks like this. These photos were taken just to the east of Manaus, Manus being at the top left of the picture. The clear darker tea-water on the right flows from the Rio Negro, while the beige, silt-colored water arrives from the Rio Solimões. This meeting is not so open-armed, the two flow in parallel for a stretch owing to differences in density and composition.
On our way back to the ship, the families of Manaus stroll in Praça São Sebastião
… and Santa makes an appearance on a rooftop!
All in all, a magical Christmas evening, fully 900 miles up the Amazon River, just a few miles from the equator!