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Published: August 1st 2005
OOPS We put the Bonito pictures on here - check the Bonito blog for the Pantanal pics!!
Well what an amazing few days we´ve had! Jaguars, Pirhannas (or something spelt similarly), swimming with Aligators and chasing anteaters. Now we´re in a town out of an oxfam advert!
On the 24th we arrived in Campo Grande after 14 hours on the bus. It´s a rubbish little town, but we were so tired that we had to stay the night. As I said we bargained down the price fo the tickets and got a free night in the hotel. In the morning we set off at about 12 in a minibus, and about 4 hours later changed to an offroad truck at a town called Miranda (I got a photo of the town name for her). That took us through intense jungle and madly bumpy roads to our camp, about another 4 hours later. We ate a pretty decent meal (by Brazilian standards) and hit the sack... well, hammock.
The next morning was spent trekking in the jungle for about 4 hours, seeing some amazing animals and birds - tucans, blue mcaws, deer, aligators, capoburas, coatis, giant
ants (with their own ant motorways worn into the dust), armadillos, monkeys and loads more.
The afternoon was the best bit, as we saw, within 10 minutes of each other, a baby Jaguar (only me, laura and bobby, our guide, got to see it - out of our group of 8 - we´re the fastest runners, obviously 😉, and an anteater. Laura swears it was the symiad from 5 children and it. I chased it to try and corner it for photos, but it got away into a tree. It thought it was safe as it was surounded by cacti, but I braved the thorns to get some amazing pictures (will upload sometime soon - this place is the most primative yet), and some amazing cuts on my legs to go with the myriad of mosquito bites. The fun wasn´t over there, as we made our way to a pirhanna, caimen and aligator infested river for a lazy afternoon swim. It was amazing to swim right next to these huge aligators, and I got some good pictures - a great one of matt, too scared to go near one when everyone else was stroking it. Then back to camp for
the same meal again (rice and chicken... or at least we think it was chicken!).
The Tuesday morning was another for trekking, seeing less wildlife this time, but we did spot a howler monkey right above us looking for his mates. In the afternoon we took the truck to a nearby ranch for a horseback safari. At first my horse didn´t like me one bit, but by the end we were best buddies, and I even got him to gallop! Laura´s horse was much better behaved, and galloped from the start, but pretty soon one of the stirups broke (during mid-gallop), and she had a near death experienced that slowed down the pace quite considerably. The horse was as scared as Laura was, and acted very sensibly. We stayed at a place called the lodge that night, next to the Rio Negra river - lots of mosquitos and a few cockroaches, but nothing we weren´t prepared for.
The last day we spent fishing for pirhannas, up to our necks (or mine at least) in the water. We both caught two each, though one of Laura´s was so small she had to put it back. Standing in the water
you could feel leeches attaching themselves to your legs, and then some time later pirhannas eating them off you! I was worried because I had cuts on my legs, but they resisted the temptation to do anything more than peck at me. Martin you´d be proud of us - Laura even killed her fish herself - knife through the skull... I never knew she had it in her.
We drove back to the lodge and had our first meal that was actually proper pieces of meat, and had a hilarious incident with frogs on the wall... we´ll tell you when we get back. Let´s just say it involved a 8 foot Chechan man and very sticky feet (and the appearance of being palstic ornaments). Then the truck took us to the bus stop (a good few hours away), and we took the 5 hour bus to Bonito, where we are now. It´s both the most primative town we´ve stayed in, and the nicest and almost cheapest acoomodation yet - hot water (which is rare), chocolate cake for breakfast, AND our own garden!
Stay tuned for more!
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