From the picturesque islands of Trinidad & Tobago to the high-altitude city of Bogotá, the ten remaining teams navigated through heavy traffic while clowning around at the circus (see Will walking a tightrope below) and decorating volquetas (dump trucks) in last week's episode.
After failing to read our clue (a rookie mistake on The Amazing Race) we persevered, coming in 6th place on the second leg of our adventure. Nine teams checked in at the Pit Stop and will be traveling to Manaus, Brazil, located deep in the Amazon, on tonight’s episode of The Amazing Race. If you still need to catch up, you can watch the first two episodes on CBS All Access.
As we mentioned in our previous travelogue about Bogotá, Colombia, it’s important to research a destination prior to visiting, so we took advantage of studying up on the largest country in South America while at the airport. We learned that Portuguese was the official language of Brazil, and to our benefit, it was one of the six languages we had memorized key phrases in preparation for the Race. Our destination in Brazil is the largest city in the Amazon with a population of 1.8 million people, and is also known as the “Heart of the Amazon.”
Historic Plaza in Manaus, Brazil
Manaus is located off the largest blackwater river in the world, Rio Negro, and due to its accessibility, serves as a gateway of exploration into the Amazon Rainforest. This natural wonder spans across nine different countries and is home to more than 390 billion trees, 2.5 million insect species, 2,000 bird and mammal species which all contribute to this vast tropical ecosystem. Learning these facts got us very excited for what was to come during this leg of the race.
The Amazon is full of untouched landscapes, indigenous cultures, and rich biodiversity. One of our first tasks was to shop at the crowded Adolpho Lisboa Municipal Market that offers fresh fruit, fish, souvenirs, indigenous items, and other various merchandise. While immersing ourselves into this marketplace, we quickly used our basic Portuguese knowledge to help us navigate the various stands and interact with the locals for help along the way! To get a glimpse at our time at the market watch these sneak peeks:
After experiencing the hustle of Manaus, we made our way down the Rio Negro deep into the Amazon jungle to a small indigenous Desana community. The gracious leaders of the community welcomed each of us with open arms as we worked alongside them to learn more about their way of life. It is in these moments that the true spirit of humanity shines. We may not have been able to communicate verbally but a simple smile went a long way. The entire experience was incredibly humbling and showcased how beautiful life across the planet truly is. To see more of our experience with the indigenous community be sure to tune in and watch the episode!
It is important for us to shed light, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing across the globe, that indigenous populations are suffering at higher rates from the virus. Articulação dos Povos Indígenas do Brasil (APIB), a federation of the eight regional indigenous organizations in Brazil, advocates for indigenous communities across the country. You can learn more about the threats these communities face including COVID-19 as well as ways in which you can support indigenous populations.
Deforestation and climate change are additional threats to indigenous populations as well as the global population and in order for travelers to continue experiencing the beauty of the Amazon, addressing these issues must always be a priority. The Amazon is widely known as the “lungs” of our planet and without these stunning forests, our entire global ecosystem will be disrupted. We encourage everyone to do as much as they can to advocate on behalf of the Amazon for a shift in societal norms that prevent deforestation. We also urge everyone to make changes in their own lives that combat climate change so that if you ever want to visit this amazing sight, it will be there for you to enjoy. There are many organizations working to combat climate change across the world including those that assist in reforestation efforts.
We are very lucky to have made a trip to the Amazon on our Amazing Race journey which happened to be the second time for James who visited the edge of the Amazon in Ecuador five years ago. It was a dream come true and it was even more exciting to be part of The Amazing Race's first time featuring the Amazon. We recommend that you buckle up because this week’s episode promises to stir the pot, quite literally, as teams are fighting to remain in the race. Tune in TONIGHT (Wednesday, October 28) at a new time of 8PM/7C to see the stunning sights of Manaus, Brazil, and the surrounding beauty that is the Amazon Rainforest.