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Published: March 12th 2014
Pousada Bom Jardim
Packing up in the rain
January (Odyssey Day 78)
We departed from camp at 0700 this morning after packing up in the rain. It was drizzling when we woke and just kept getting heavier, then lighter, then heavier again – but didn’t stop raining at all. We had to pack up our tents and the truck in the rain, while walking across sodden grass and mud, trying to avoid the deceptively deep puddles of water that were scattered around and lying in wait for unsuspecting and tired travellers in the pre-dawn. Well okay, that sounded a bit dramatic, but it certainly had the effect of improving our balance as we tried not to slip over and get everything we were carrying muddy.
We headed back to collect Leen from near Chapada dos Guimarães. She had been one of the guides for the walks there and she will come with us to the town of Vila Bela de Santíssima Trindade, a fairly remote town on the Guaporé River, as she knows the area very well. That’s quite a mouthful
Vila Bela Dinner
A delicious meal for everyone
for the name of a small town though, so we all shortened it to Vila Bela pretty quick.
We stopped for a shop along the way at a nice big supermarket and Jo and I also did yet another shop for the bar. We had to get the smaller 269ml cans of beer since the normal size were so much more expensive. This was more cost effective, but also takes up more room on the truck, which is pretty full by now. Oh well, people won’t be inclined to complain about the lack of room if they know the alternative is that the bar runs out of beer! I think a few people would complain less if we ran out of food, than beer.
We arrived in Vila Bela at 2030 in the dark. The grounds of the hotel/guest house where we had planned to camp were so water logged that there was no way we could have set up our tents on that lawn! It would have been like setting up in a swamp, and
Vila Bela Dinner
Birthday cheesecake for Glenn
these tents aren’t designed to float!
So in the end we arranged to take most of their rooms instead. Emma arranged the rooms and we would need to pay anything over the first R$25. The five solo girls ended up sharing a room. Ann took the single bed, Hannah & Joanna shared the double, and Ellie and I took the floor. It was relatively comfortable despite being on tiles as Hannah gave me her air mattress to use as well as my own.
In the end it cost those on the floor R$15 for two nights and those in the beds paid R$20 for two nights. A good price for a dry place to sleep, although a couple of the guys still opted to put up their tents on the tiled veranda in front of the rooms.
After getting settled, we walked down to enjoy dinner at a house not too far from the hotel. It was a local house and a few local guys made us dinner. We had meat, fish, salads and a sample of a local
Guaporé River Trip
Some local buildings
drink. It was a really nice dinner and the fried fish was divine!
It was also Glenn’s birthday, so we brought along a couple of little cheesecakes as well. It made for some light entertainment when he realised they had bought the re-lighting candles for the cake and he couldn’t blow them out. Strangely enough, they were also using some rather odd items to seat everyone, including a toilet…
Unfortunately mosquitos are rife here and our hotel room, especially the bathroom, was full of them. We made good use of the insect repellent here in an attempt to prevent any more bites. Most of us have more than enough of them from Jaciara.
January (Odyssey Day 79)
We had breakfast in the car park of the hotel as that was the only place available to us. Ann had gotten a bit confused with times and woken us all up an hour earlier than needed. I think she was a bit worried about missing her cook group
Guaporé River Trip
Small boats on the river - Steve, Ellie, Le and Tee
duties. Needless to say, none of us were late this morning.
The plan was to spend the morning on the river in a few small boats, so we all walked down to the water for an 0800 departure. However, time is sometimes a relative thing around here, so the local guides were all late. We did eventually get going though and I was on a boat with Joanna, Emma and Simon, with a local who didn’t speak English but still went out of his way to ensure we saw everything we went past. A couple of times he had to stop the boat to give me longer to find birds that I just couldn’t see at first. I have never claimed to have good eyesight…
We managed to see the pink river dolphins early on though they were impossible to photograph. And to me, they looked grey, so why they are called pink dolphins I’m really not sure (though I was assured they were actually the ‘pink’ dolphins).
There was an abundance of birds of all varieties around and
it was a beautiful river to travel on. A very nice way to see the local area.
We stopped for lunch at William’s family’s place. William was one of the guides, as well as being one of the guys who cooked us dinner last night. The family was very friendly and the extended family was there to help out. Maddie and Bartley joined the local kids in a game of soccer while Toby learnt a new dance from the local ladies. The guides played pool and a few random cows walked through the group. All in all, an experience not to be missed.
The meal itself was absolutely delicious, particularly the meat. After thanking our hosts and receiving a few hugs, we headed back to the boats for the trip back to town. And on the way, I finally managed to see my first real live toucan!
About half the group went for a walk in the mid afternoon to some waterfalls, over a couple of rivers. I decided I had seen enough for today and just relaxed. There
is an old church in town made of adobe. It has a huge structure built over it meant to keep it protected from the rain. I’m not entirely sure how effective it is and it looks very strange, but at least they make an effort to preserve the ruins.
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