When I first came across mention of Manaus, Brazil, in J.M. Barrie's "Hook at Eton" speech, I wondered why Captain James Hook would travel there. It took only a bit of research for me to understand the draw.
Manaus, Brazil, at the juncture of the Rio Negro and the Rio Solimões--the Amazon River--was one of the finest cities in the world in 1908,when The Stowaway takes place. The rubber trade had brought incredible amounts of riches to the city, plain to see in the houses and storefronts and cultural icons like the Teatro Amazonas Opera House. I was lucky enough to find some photos from that very year on a Portuguese website.
While the heady days of the rubber trade have passed, Manaus is still a vibrant modern city with a population of two million, making it the eighth largest city in Brazil. It's a draw for tourists who want to experience both the urban life of Brazil and the nearby landscape of the Amazon.