manaus, the unique city 2

The hope is always in schoolchildrenTruly, Manaus is other-worldly.  I visited for a glorious week a number of years ago.  It is the safest large city in Brazil to carry around an expensive digital camera: as no roads connect Manaus to anywhere, and the jungle is forbidding, the only escape for criminals is by boat from its few ports.  The city itself was built over a century ago on the riches of the natural rubber boom. Besides meriting its own opera house (see Werner Herzog’s “Fitzcarraldo” for an idea of the challenges), Manaus was the second city in Brazil to get electricity (after Rio) and for a time the rich sent their shirts to be laundered in London.  Despite being 1,400km from the sea, Manaus has a deep-sea port, being only 40-80 meters above sea level.  There is no other place on earth like it.  The most remote, and unconnected, of backroads.  [please hover over images for captions]

About Ben

Author Ben Batchelder has traveled extensively on American and Brazilian backroads. Nothing in his background, from a degree in Visual & Environmental Studies at Harvard to an MBA from Wharton, adequately prepared him for the experiences. Nevertheless he has published two books on his New World journeys, that map the inner and exterior geographies of meaningful travel, with plans for more. Having grown up in Cambridge, Mass., he currently leads a bi-hemispheric life, as a mountain man with a writer’s retreat in the hills of Minas Gerais, Brazil who comes down to the sea at Miami Beach, Florida. For more, visit

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2 thoughts on “manaus, the unique city

  • Sandy Batchelder

    Loved the narrative and the pictures of Manaus. The captions are important to understand what you are seeing – can they be attached to the initial slide show? You are doing a great job of getting the word out and being noticed by Publisher’s Weekly. Can you get reviews by other publications? Some day you may be viewed as the best travel writer on Brazil? Much love. Dad

    • Ben Batchelder

      Hi Dad,
      Thanks for the encouragment!
      Yes, I’d love to have the captions show during the slideshow, but WordPress has its quirks and I – brainpressed – haven’t figured it all out yet.
      Publishers Weekly was certainly a boon. Many reviews are paid for these days, so I was particularly fortunate to get a freebie. The interview (see my author site with them also helped.
      I’ve been called a Brazilianist before (no offense taken), and would claim “To Belem & Back” is the most up-to-date primer/introduction/joy-ride to Brazil out there. It’s a pleasure to share my love for the country with any and all.
      Much love, Ben