FIRST POST-RACE WORKOUTS IN THE AMAZON
upon arriving in Manaus, the capitol of Amizonas, Brasil, i left THE FUCKER behind at our driver, Kaydinho's apartment where his daughter is living and going to medical school. wow, leaving my ride behind at a perfect stranger's house in a foreign city wasn't as hard as i thought it would be. needless to say, there's been no cycling in the amazon...
swimming, well swimming has consisted of aimlessly floating around in the pools under the waterfalls and rapids of the Rio Urubu in the Presidente Figuereira region. i also rode one rapid in an innertube and walked under a waterfall cave at another. the water looks like a dirty brown but it's actually quite clear. the color actually comes from the acidity of the leaves from the trees and other flora that border the river and fill the Amazon region. it kinda looks like a dark amber ale. i'm reminded of the candy pool in willy wonka and the chocolate factory. i'm swimmin' in beer, people!!!! it's warm and inviting, and i've been doing this all in a bikini despite the looks of horror from the locals at my insane cycling shorts tan lines.
after getting in at 3am from dancing all night long at a party for a local band, i was surprised at not having a hangover at all this morning, so i decided to pull out the running shoes and actually make an attempt at a 30 minute run. it's insanely humid here today, and most of the town was still asleep from being at the same party. i headed out from my host family's house and made my way to the main promenade that runs through the town here in Itacoatiara. it's a really cute tree-lined walkway they call "the tunnel of trees" that sits in between the two-way traffic of mostly mopeds and bicycles. as i ran i got a few funny looks, a few head cranks from the guys. i could just imagine what the response would be if i had ridden THE FUCKER through town!!!
no heart rate, no time, and my hydration of choice is an actual Brasilian version of Gatorade that's flovored with acai and guarana!!! i felt pretty sluggish in the heat and humidity, but it was nice to be running again. i've had my share of beer here. apparently the lack of hangover comes from the antioxidants found in the varioius local brews. hmmmmmmm????
i've eaten all the local delicacies, piranha soup, fresh pod-like fruits i can't even pronounce straight from the trees, and roadside snacks that would make that obnoxious guy on the discovery channel cringe. it's all been incredible and nothing's killed me yet!!! i've seen a pink dolphin, a sloth, 2 baby alligators, various monkey species, vultures, toucans and a gang of fish ALL IN THE WILD.
and the people, OH THE PEOPLE HERE!!! so many different faces, so many colors of skin. and they've all adopted me. i'm passing for a Brasileira for the most part and everyone seems to understand my attempt at Portuguese. my host family, Pepper and Joana and their two daughters, Sienna and Jillian, are just incredible and have opened their home to me. as is our driver, Kaydinho, and his wife, Ediuma. they especially adopted me last night, speaking Portuguese with me when our table pretty much stuck to Eniglish and teaching me the local style of dance called FoHo. it's a little like Urban Cowboy meets Dirty Dancing. Oy!! and our boat guides on the Amazon, Prieto and Dougie showed us the time of our lives yesterday. i will hold these people deep in my heart forever.
today we've just been lazing arond the compound here. Pep and Jo and their extended family of grandparents, aunts, and cousins have made a huge feast centered around a dish called foijoada (sp?), a base of black beans with various meats, sausage and potato. the music has been blaring all day as we eat, drink, play futbol, dance and laugh our way through a torrential downpour of a sunday. the rain has stopped now, and we'll sit and enjoy the sobremesa (dessert) of pudgin (pudding or flan) that VoVo (grandma) made from scratch.
tonight, i'll sadly pack my things and be ready to leave with Kaydinho at 7am tomorrow morning for the 2 hour drive back to Manaus. we'll pick up THE FUCKER and then tothe airport where it's back on a plane to Miami and then home to HELL-A.
this trip has been amazing, a trip of a lifetime. Ironman wasn't even the half of it. i promise though, a full race report once i've settled back in.