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Published: November 11th 2011
A bunch has happened since my last update so let me get right to it!
My last night in Rio I was invited by my friend Marilia to a party in a bar in Botafogo, about 10 minutes from my hostel. I met a few of her friends, including the organizer, and the party was given for the Dia dos Mortes (day of the dead), which falls on November 1st. It was a good time, though I didnt make it late.
The next day my bus was leaving at 3 in the afternoon, so I had some time to kill before catching it. Juliana, who lives in Niteroi, which is just across a bridge from Rio, invited me over so she could show me around there. I dropped my stuff off at her place and we had about 2 hours to hang out before having to head to the busstation. We went to a museum, and although there was no exhibition at the time, we could go inside and check out the building, which is a futuristic, UFO shaped building with a great view of the ocean and the surrouding area. We had lunch at the restaurant there, and
afterwards went to the city park, which is high on top of a cliff where people go to hang- and paraglide. This was probably the day with the nicest weather that I had in Rio, too bad I was leaving. But we had a really nice time. After the park we realized it was already past 2 o'clock and my bus was leaving in an hour! So we took a taxi back to her place, picked up my stuff and RAN for the busstop. Fortunately, a bus came soon enough and I reached the busstation well in time.
The bus took about 23 hours to get to Campo Grande, where I had to wait another 3 hours before I could get the bus to Bonito. Bonito means "beautiful" in Portuguese, and though I expected much of the city it isn't particularly interesting. The surrouding area is the main attraction, though most attractions are quite far and costly as well. Instead I spoke to my hostel manager and through him I arranged a trip to the pantanal of 3 days and 2 nights. The pantanal is a large wetland that encompasses a large portion of west-Brazil, full of different kinds
of exotic wild-life.
So the day after I took a 3 hour van all the way to the edge of the pantanal, where a Jeep picked me up and brought me to farm Santa Clara. On arrival I met a bunch of people, though most were leaving that day. Those that stayed behind were a German guy and girl, whom I spent most of my time with. That afternoon we went horseback riding, which was awesome. First time I ever did it, and even though I thought my muscles would be in agony the next day, it wasn't all that bad. The cool part was that despite the fact that most of us had no experience, the guides let us go at a gallop. After about 2 hours we went back to the farm, took a shower and had our dinner. In the evening a Danish couple arrived who joined us on the rest of our activities.
The next day we got up at 5, so we could drive and take a boat along the river. The guides brought food so we could have breakfast further along the way. The reason for going so early is because it
would be easier to spot a Jaguar at this time of day when they were likely to be drinking from the river. Unfortunately no Jaguar was spotted this day. Though there were many other types of animals, such as Caymans, exotic birds, Iguanas and monkeys. When the guides stopped to prepare lunch on the riverbank, our guide Levi told me to take the boat and drive further around for about 20 minutes until food was ready. He asked if I knew how to do it, and I responded with an "of course!" even though this was my first time. But fortunately it wasn't all that different from driving a car. When we got back a great breakfast was prepared after which we started to fish for Piranhas. We didn't have any proper bait yet, so the guide used a piece of cheese, and in a flash of a second a piranha attacked it, resulting in our first fish. We caught a bunch them, but a lot of them were too small, so we either used them for bait, or we just trew them back in the water. Seriously though, once the bait hit the water, it would IMMEDIATELY be attacked.
Vicious little creatures, those piranhas. I managed to catch a purple one, which apparently was quite rare, so we kept it so I could eat it later that day. In total we caught about 8 that we kept for lunch and dinner. When we arrived back at the camp, it was about lunch time. We ate some of our catch, though for some reason they like to deep-fry their fish, which was tasty enough, but wouldn't have been my first choice for preparation. After resting for a few hours our guide took us for a walk through the Jungle, where we managed to see some monkeys, and other animals, though we had to turn back at some point because a storm was on the way. Fortunately we got back in time after which it started POORING down.
The next day we got up at about 7, got in the jeep and drove around the pantanal safari style. We would get out every now and then to spot some animals such as black howler monkeys, Macaws, Wild Boars, Armadillos, animals that are of the racoon family whose name I can't remember, and last, but not least, an Anaconda! That was
definitely one of the highlights of the trip. While we were driving the guide somehow managed to spot one, after which they grabbed it by the tail, dragged it out and finally grabbed its head. It was at least 3 meters long, an impressive sight. When we got back it was about time for me to take the bus back to Bonito.
Back in Bonito I didn't get up to much besides just relaxing. Afterwards I took a bus over to Porto Murtinho, where I am now to take a boat to Concepcion Paraguay. The only problem was that the boat goes once a week on a saturday. So I've had to bide my time here for the past few days with not much to do besides updating a blog. Early tomorrow morning I will catch the boat, which will take about 24 hours to reach its destination. I found out that I can't get my passport exit stamp here, which might make it a problem for me to re-enter Brazil to visit Foz de Iguaçu further down south. But that's something to worry about a bit later.
My next update will be from somewhere in Paraguay! Hope
everybody is doing well!
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