Travel, Inc.

Well, sorry for the L...O...N...G delay between posts, but I've been spiriting about the wilds of Brazil for the past couple of weeks and only returned home last Thursday. It's good to be home, and even better that I can reminisce so quickly. So, in order for you to get a feel for how FREAKING awesome it was, here are some pics and some comments from my trip. (I feel like I just wrote "Here is a picture." If you felt patronized, I'm truly sorry. You're WAY smarter than that.)

Here I am with Elder Christensen (left) and Elder Nicholes (right), my 7th and 6th great-grandchildren, respectively. (This is actually taken in the same office I cried in daily as the Financial Secretary for the Mission. That dear air conditioner is still chuggin'!) And, as it happens, one of Elder Nicholes' friends from his days at Jackson Hole is a good friend of mine. So when he got his call to Manaus, she informed him that I had served there. I wrote him an email about 2.5 years ago telling him how much I ADORED Manaus and what he could expect from that BELLA city. It's only right that he follow in my footsteps and blaze his own trails on the way.

This was a little barbeque/get-together at Kiyoshi and Elizabeth Miki's house in Manaus. (They're the lovely couple on the right). Also on the left is Andrea Leao and not pictured is Jessica Miki. They were some of my favorite people in one of my favorite wards in Manaus--Flores. And in case you hadn't guessed it, that's me holding an enormous Top Sirloin trying to avoid the Coconut Volture that was hanging right above my head. ;P

Here's a picture of me lookin' smokin' hot at the Temple Site in Manaus. Now you can simultaneously behold the beauty of the Rio Negro and that of the only white guy within 50 miles. In a serious note, I cannot adequately describe how lovely this property is. The cool breeze whipping off the river, the continual battle between towering thunderheads and scathing sunshine, the majesty of the mightiest river on the planet--it all must be experienced to be understood, as is so often the case in life. I cannot wait for the House of the Lord to be erected here. But I guess 4 years or so won't be too long to wait. Heck, I'll only be 28!

Here's a photo with Richard (left), Bryan (right), and myself (center--again, patronizing, huh?). You might be surprised by how white we are, but you have to remember that it's winter in Brazil right now. These gentlemen were gracious and charitable enough to put me up for five nights in their comfortable apartment. To top it all off, they even gave me the masterbed. It was probably the most comfortable accomodation I've ever had in Manaus. We took a day to go see the "Encontro das Aguas"--The Meeting of the Waters--where the Amazon River (in Brazil, called the Solimoes) and the Rio Negro meet and DO NOT MIX for several miles. It's black running against yellow, and it's another "Must See to Believe" moment. Check out the pictures below to see just how much Mother Nature was showing off when she invented this stretch of water!

How cool is that?! Seriously!!! On a side note, that shirt was given to me after I got caught in a freak downpour and completely drenched. The Brazilian gentleman, Bispo Nedson from one of the Wards I served in, literally gave me the shirt off his back.
This is a floating house on the Amazon River. These people live without electricity, television, cars, phones, etc. and prefer to fish, hunt, and gather their food to going to the local supermarket. Approximately 2 million people, called Caboclos, choose to live this lifestyle in the state of Amazonas alone. If you ask me, they have something going on that's pretty plush in its own right. Besides, if you don't get along with your neighbors, you can just row a little ways upstream. ;P
Cool Picture, no?
Even cooler picture, yes?

For those of you wondering, Yes, that is a floating Church, and NO, its members do not walk on water to get there. I'm pretty sure they come by boat. Or swim. But the Piranhas are pretty feisty in this part of the water, so my money's on the boat.
In the "dry" months, this tree grows on land, called an Igarapo. If you look carefully, you can see a small bird that looks like a heron. When we watched it flap away and dive gracefully into the water to catch a fish, there was an audible "oooooh" from the other passengers.
I've always wanted to be a Pirate! I promise, I yelled ARGHHHHHH! as loud as I could. (Notice how my jaw is crooked from "arghing") However, the blue collared shirt, the fossil watch, the "Amazon Explorers" sticker on my shirt pocket, and my lack of an eyepatch, all tend to indicate that I'm not really a pirate. But I sure had a few seconds there where, if people hadn't known, and/or had their back to me, they would have been REALLY scared. I'm kind of glad no one jumped into the water from fright, 'cause they could have been eaten by the nasty fish in the Amazon.
Well that's about it for the scenery of Manaus. I'll try and get a post up about some of the people I know and met while out here soon.


Whitty Lin said...

Those were some of the coolest/prettiest pictures I have ever seen! Good work Eric!

annie said...

Oh it takes me back to the good old days of our two week adventure in central America (you know we just passed our 2nd anniversary). I am so glad to hear you haven't retired your travel pack to just hauling around your law books!

Cotter said...

I love to see the pictures! Oh... Manaus. It was great except for the attacking monkeys

Nephi said...

Hey, I totally know the Mikis! Flores was my first area in Manaus, way back in 2000. I think their son served with my brother in Tokyo South, too... but não me lembro bem. Thanks for the photos, man - oh, and of the temple site too. When I heard the announcement I couldn't help but cry from being so overwhelmed.

You didn't happen to serve in Tefé, did you?