visited the most famous attraction in Manaus – the ‘Encontoro das Aguas’, the meeting of the waters.
Our tour boat slid away from the ranks of jetties and riverboats, passing little fishing skiffs and giant sea cargo vessels, all under mountains of cloud obscuring the sun.
The boat came to a halt a few miles downstream. There, the black waters of the Rio Negro gently collided with the brown of the Amazon, yet defiantly refused to mix due to differing temperatures and density. It wasn’t that impressive. Where we went to next, though, most definitely was. We entered a network of smaller rivers and streams that was full-on jungle – herons perching, parrots drifting, monkeys scrambling through forest canopy. Further on, we saw pink dolphins as they surfaced for air.
We emerged on the far side of the broad expanse of the Negro, the low sun gilding the skyline of Manaus in the distance. Another mind-blowing afternoon.
Back on dry land, I sat by the waterfront. As I stared out at the last streaks of day, I realised I was no longer concerned about the heat.
Football was now the last thing on my mind. CHRIS GRANET flew to Brazil as a guest of TAM Airlines, who offer daily return flights to Manaus via Sao Paulo from Heathrow starting at £796. TA M i s part of LATAM Airlines Group whose South American Airpass offers up to 60% off with theree or more flights within Brazil/S America. See www.tam.com.br ROOMS at the Quality Hotel, Manaus, start at around £83 a night B&B. Click atlantica