Manaus - Amazonas
One of the most exciting places I've ever visited is the fish market in Manaus, Brazil, the capital of the Amazonas state. The city sits right on the banks of the Amazon River. Since there are very few highways that lead into and out of the city, the river itself is major highway for the local people. Hundreds of open-air boats strung with hammocks and packed with all kinds of cargo--from electronics to toilet paper to bananas--dock in Manaus's harbor. Fisherman bring loads of fish from the river, which is home to more than 3,000 finned species, into the market. Here, the fish--some of them still huffing--are piled up on the tables of hundreds of vendors. The market is noisy with the sound of big knives chopping the daily catch to order. Fish heads, scales, and tails fill giant white buckets. It was hard for me to conceive that the thousands of fish I saw on the vendor's tables were the yield of just one or two days.