Back from my wanderings downtown. We started out by sampling a bunch of fruit stands. The first photo, with fruit that look like red bell peppers with little brown hats, are actually cashew fruits. The brown hat on top is the cashew nut; the nut we're familiar with in the States is inside that. The rest of the fruit is also edible, though; I've been having cashew juice at breakfast every morning since we got here. It's a little bit bitter; some people stir sugar into it, but I've been mixing it with guava juice to good effect. The next fruit, the spiky yellow one, is, Dr. Myatt tells me, a relative of the banana; it has a pulpy white interior with a mild taste, around cherry pit sized black seeds. The last one we tried, which look a bit like lemons with a complexion problem, were very strange. You peel off the skin, which is brittle and comes off very easily in pieces. Inside that is a white, fibrous-looking layer which you might try to peel off and discard if you're ignorant like me; it looks a lot like the bitter white layer of an orange. That layer, however, is the fruit; it turns out that from one to three very large seeds occupy the bulk of the interior, and that white fibrous stuff is all there is besides those seeds. So you pop it all in your mouth, and the white stuff turns out to be much more flavorful and juicy than it looked; very tart and tangy, like a citrus fruit (although I have no idea whether it is, in fact, a citrus).
Then we tried some street food. For just one real (about 60 cents) I got a large sort of pocket bread filled with diced potato, carrot, and (I'm told) minced shrimp. It was a fair amount of food, and quite tasty; washed down with a Fanta grape soda, it staved off starvation for another day. Dr. Ouverney got a plate of food including rice, a sort of shrimp curry thing, mixed vegetables with dried fish and manioc (we think) with a strip of bacon on top, and a little mayonnaised vegetable side. The veggies with dried fish was pretty good, if somewhat salty. I don't mind the salt, though, since we're sweating just about constantly here.
We then spent a couple of hours shopping; we wandered up and down crowded market-filled streets buying various knickknacks and oddments, jewelry and dresses. I shan't bore you with any details of that! Tonight we will be going to a big Brazilian festival in Manaus, but the description of that will have to wait for another post!