09 – BELÉM – WHERE THE AMAZON FOREST MEETS THE BEACH
The Amazon forest matches for some half of the size of Brazil and at the river mouth – where it pours out into the Atlantic forest – on the last bend of the 6.000 km long river sits the state capital of Belém. Founded in the 17th century by the portuguese, Belém has a visible mixture of brazilian culture on its streets and lansdscape that defies the sight.
BELÉM AND THE FOREST CULTURE
Though the city of Manaus is more Famous, it’s in Belém that a strong mix of all brazilian cultures thrives and it’s the great Amazon river the sets the stage for all life in the region. Reaching upto 100 km at its mouth some 100 km round the corner from Belem it´s in the town center and the ‘ver o peso’ market on the banks of the Amazon that visitors have an idea of the sounds and smells of the region withs exotic foods and exciting music.
COLONIAL BRAZIL IN THE FOREST
Downtown Belém displays architecture the reminds you of ‘belle époque’ Rio de Janeiro a real sensation that the colonial capital had been transferred to the middle of the forest. The number of churches also reminds you that the population express their faith in great public displays, and both mixes shape the town center – some times very roughed up – and gives of a Rio Deja Vu feeling.
DOCAS IS A FAVOURITE
The Docas is a port structure revamped for restaurants and bars and is a favourite in town. Locals and many tourist, including foreign, relish the good mix of forest flavours available at the Docas , from sweet or sour the flavours are delicious and even traditional dishes can be served in different ways. Its also the main port where visitors can go for the boat trips up and down the river and to the Marajo island on the other side. At night the cool breeze and the overhead band playing make for a perfect even the Amazon basin.