Where would one get ice cream in the Amazon? Let me tell you where. Autazes! That is where. Just a little about Autazes.
Dinner was over and I was supposed to have dish duty with a member of the Brazilian team . We all had dish duty while on the boat. It was about 10 or so and we had been traveling fast all evening. All of a sudden a member of the Brazilian team began to talk about ice cream. I was thinking that the cooks would be bringing something up from the kitchen. Then when I began to think about it, how would that work? All of the electricity on the boat was turned off when were were docked at villages and only turned on for meals and night travel. Ice cream would not have made it beyond the first day of our adventure. I asked how would we get ice cream. I heard other Brazilians talking about stopping. Stopping? I looked around and we were in the middle of no where…no lights. We traveled a little furthur and we got to a small town with some electricity. I was very surprised that there was electricity.The condition was that we could not stop unless all on both teams wanted ice cream. Now some of the Americans did not want any as they were too full from dinner or did not trust ice cream from the amazon. BUT …all said yes. We were going to stop and get off the boat to see a small town somewhere deep in the jungle. Noone was going to pass that up! We all were going to see what this place was all about! It was another adventure within the adventure! We pulled up to a small docking area and planks were thrown out. We would have to walk them and stay balanced and not fall in the water to get to land. They were bouncing and swaying all over as we walked over but you certainly did not want to go into that ebony water at night! Critters were in there. You most likely would not come out. We got to land and walked down a street that was like a two lane street with a large grassy median/area in the middle.
Me walking the planks over the river to get from the boat to shore
There were people walking and milling and there were motorcycles all over. They were the taxi’s. If you wanted to go anywhere, you had to climb on the back and you would have a motorcycle ride to places in the jungle. In the grassy areas and on each side of the street were large trees that were like very large topiaries. They were cut and shaped in very odd geometric shapes.
At the end of the street was a large blue church being refurbished. It was beautiful and there was a service of some sort being held there. We did not go in but we got close enough to see people inside.
Our destination was this little shop about a block from the church. We went in and of course there was no Bryers ice cream or anything remotely familiar. It was all brazilian icecream made with lots of local unpronoucable fruit. It all had portuguese names. We were told by Jennifer who was our interpeter that we should try the acai ice cream. Well, what was that?
It was the purple ice cream made with acai berries. Well of course I had to have that. Acai ice cream did not taste like anything close to ice cream as I know it. It was very good and very good for you. Acai berries are those “special” amazon berries that have about 500-700 times more antioxidants that any food we have in the states.
What is so special about this ice cream? Acai is a Brazilian berry original from the Amazon Region that is considered to be one of nature’s most complete and healthy foods. They are loaded with antioxidants, anthocyanins (approximately 20 times the amount in red wine), amino acids, essential omegas, fibers and protein. Some recent studies from the University of Florida indicate that Acai may even fight cancer cells.
Research has shown that it works as an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, contains loads of anti-oxidants, and helps counter the affects of aging. The best thing about this fruit is the taste though. Some describe it as a combination of chocolate and raspberries but even that description fall short of the mark. The acai berrys taste is even more exotic, mysterious, and addictive. More about the benefits of acai berries! The ice cream itself cost 1 REAL. It was worth every penny.
Will add to this post..gotta run this very minute!
Back again! The other thing that was amazing about this trip was what I thought were birds. There are lots of insects in the Amazon and when we got on shore there were lots of very large birds (and I mean very large…LARGE) flying around the street lights. I asked what type of birds they were as they were so very big! BIG! They were as big as turkey buzzards, literally and there were about 10 flying around each light post. I was informed that they were not birds at all. They were in fact bats. They were flying around the lights eating insects. GREAT! I was slighly alarmed. I began to think of the nurse who gave me all the immunizations for this trip. Rabies was one of the suggested shots and we both agreed that I would not get the rabies before the trip if I promised to stay away from all animals. I was doing that, but could those bats stay away from me? They were big and they could fly!
What type of bat? I do not know. Since they I have found out there are over 900 different bat species in the Amazon alone. After our acai icecream and no encounters with bats, we went back to planks, crossed the river and boarded the boat again.