Santa Clara Pousada - Happy New Year


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Published: February 1st 2014
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This may be the wrong way to lay...
Tuesday 31st December (Odyssey Day 53)



We departed rainy Bonito this morning, though it had, fortunately, stopped raining and we were able to put the tents away fairly dry. It wasn’t too far to go today and so after a brief stop for Joanna and I to restock the bar, we arrived at Santa Clara Pousada, a working ranch just out of Campo Grande, in time for a late lunch.



For our stay here, everything is included. Food is prepared for us so we have a break from cooking duties and activities for two days are included as well.



On arrival there was the option of setting up tents, as well as the option of using a hammock and staying in a communal room above the outdoor dining area. The room was enclosed with flywire, to keep the bugs out and it is certainly warm enough to sleep up there with the hope of a cool breeze. Ellie and I opted to stay in a hammock, while also setting up our tent to store our bags in for easy access.



Of course, it is New Years Eve tonight, so
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AJ & Ellie - ready for a night out
we are going down to the main lodge for dinner at 2000. There is a small bar at our camping area so we started on Caprinha’s, the local cocktail of Brazil which is quite a strong drink that is both sugary sweet and lime sour. I can’t say I’m overly enamoured of it though – too bitter.



We planned on getting dressed up for dinner, so at 1830, everyone was vying for wonderfully cold showers, and mirror space. It is the first time I have actually gotten dressed up since coming away. It has been so hot at times in the luggage locker that my foundation case had melted – the makeup itself was fine, but the plastic case melted and I had to cut it open with a borrowed knife!



We walked down to the lodge (10 minutes in the dark) at about 2000. Dinner for New Year was held there and it was a good night. Donna and Glen upgraded from camping to staying at the lodge, something a few people wished for but most couldn’t dream of affording at this place.



Dinner included a selection of salads, a
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Happy New Year
large variety if meats cooked right there in front of us, and a nice selection of desserts. Oh, and a few bottles of champagne of course!



Being New Year, there was plenty of food, drinks, music and dancing. And of course, the inevitable jumping into the pool for some of the group! Not so amusing when the splashing made it all the way to the dance floor, but it certainly cooled them down a bit.



There was a bit of friction within the group at the end of the night as a few people had a bit too much to drink and got a little out of hand, but overall the new year was seen in with good spirits and New Year kisses all around. We even managed an off tune rendition of Auld Lang Syne, regardless of the lack of Scottish people in the group.



I headed back to camp with Ellie and Jo at 0130 and had a nice cold shower before collapsing into a very comfy hammock for some well-earned rest.











Wednesday 1st January (Odyssey Day 54)



New Years Day dawned bright and early, a fact which we all tried to ignore as long as possible. The activities for the morning started at 0800 though so we did have to get up eventually. Sleeping in the hammocks was one of the most comfortable nights I have had so far. If you lay across them at an angle you end up almost flat and now I want one for home!



We split up into two groups for the activities here with a local guide each. My group had Elias as our guide and he was very informative about everything. However, our first activity was a walk through the bush, which I decided to skip this morning.



When everyone else left, I had a nap in a hammock, and then one of the guys from the camp took me down to the river below the camp to see the caiman. The really large ones came out to eat the fruit scraps he threw them, but disappeared into the water when we got down to the water level, leaving just some of the smaller ones around.



Everyone made
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Caiman fighting for...watermelon?
it back for a nap before lunch since most were still tired and recovering from last night. It’s nice not to have to cook lunch and clean up after for a change.



At 1530 we left for a safari walk. We took a jeep out for a drive and then split up into our groups to go for a walk with our guides. They took us through the bush, showing us the plants and animals along the way. We saw monkeys, caiman, birds and even some fresh jaguar prints, including mother and baby prints!



It was a long walk and rather hot but worth it. Elias explained that one of the coming of age rituals the native boys do is to place their hands on a branch swarming with fire ants for 5 minutes. Since there are fire ants at the camp, we all know how their bites feel – they might only hurt for a moment, but they really sting - and that's just one bite! We also got to see the fruits they use for painting their faces, a kind of henna tattoo. It’s a clear juice but after an hour or
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My favourite - a tarantula
so, it dries a dark blue. Quite a few of us will be going around for a few days with blue fingers now.



Heading back to camp at sunset, we got to see some sleeping birds and, best of all, some tarantula.



A very late dinner tonight and then pretty much straight to bed. It’s been a long and busy day and we have more activities to do tomorrow.











Thursday 2nd January (Odyssey Day 55)



My group today had horse riding at 0800. It was a simple ride around the area for about two hours. It was quite enjoyable, one everyone was settled on their horses. Ellie had a bit of trouble getting on her horse to start with, and Danielle seemed to have trouble keeping hers going!





I ended up on Caramel, who seemed to like going fast but didn’t like being at the head of any group. Strange horse. We went past quite a lot of cattle and made sure to head back before it got too hot.



Getting back for lunch, we were surprised when the other group were hours late and it turned out that their boat broke down.



At 1500 my group headed off for water safari and piranha fishing. Of course, we took a different boat after this morning’s group got stuck!! We split into two smaller boats and the ride along the river was beautiful. We saw many birds, a giant otter, baby crocs, and some families of baby capybara.



We also stopped along the way to do some piranha fishing with a caiman looking on. I managed to catch four for the bucket and one wriggled away. They don’t stay hooked very well, so you have to get them on the shore pretty fast! They are not very big fish though their teeth are very sharp.



The guides cooked up our piranha for dinner, breaded and whole. Surprisingly, they were a very nice meat. You had to clean the bones to get a good feed since they were small but really nice eating and we caught enough to have a couple for dinner.



It was a relaxing evening tonight as we all
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My first piranha, caught with a bamboo fishing rod
rested after busy days. It has been a really nice break for New Year and we are off again early tomorrow morning.


Additional photos below
Photos: 26, Displayed: 26


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Hammock room - Hannah, Steve, Mike, Johnny, Maddie, Lou & Anne
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Friendly birds
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Caiman eating
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One of the smaller caiman, up close
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Some friendly birds
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Only one baby in this capybara family, the others likely eaten by big cats
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An inquisitive face
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Walking through the woods
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Monkeys - noisy ones at that
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A very colourful neighbour
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Getting ready for the river safari
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Baby caiman - also called crocodillos
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Piranha for dinner


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