Brazil here we come! We could immediately feel that we were back in Brazil, the people were very friendly and in for a joke. People like to talk to you and when you ask the way they seem to tell their whole life story. Which we off course can not understand! The people respond in a different way, more relaxt and less reserved than in Bolivia and Chile. We went to the Pantanal, which is a huge wetland with a great biodiversity. From Corumba we drove to the north east along a dirt road with many little wooden bridges. Only a small part of the Pantanal is accessible by this road. We saw many alligators, toucan’s, Parrot’s, capybara’s and a group of arara’s azul. The Arara’s are supposed to be very expensive on the black market (up to $10.000), but we saw a local Toyota high lux almost hitting the group of birds with 80 km/h, like they were some ordinary pigeons! We liked it so much that we want to come back here, since we did not have enough time to spent here. We have to be back in Rio in a couple of days. After our sunset safari we
went off the main dirt road to drive to a hacienda to spend the night. It was a 12 km drive on someone’s farmland. The road got worse every km until we arrived at a big mud pool were the tracks vanished. It was already dark, so we thought for a moment that getting stuck in the mud or worse at this time of the day might be a bit too adventurous. However driving back is not something we like, so we put the gear in 4x4 low, opened the doors and drove very slowly, while watching how far the front tires sunk in to the mud. Then we pressed the pedal to the metal and went for it, we drove for 100 m through deep mud and….. we made it! When we arrived we found out it was very expensive and we could not pay with the credit card because the sky was cloudy and the satellite could not be accessed with the credit card reader….. So we had to drive back, but this time we knew the road and the mud!
The next day we drove to Bonito, the place is famous for its crystal clear water. We
vogel met aparte naam
moet je maar even googelen
saw big schools of fish in beautiful clear water. Then we realised that we want to see the Iguazu waterfalls before leaving the continent, at first we thought we had to skip it. We drove for two days through the cultivated south of Brazil along the border with Paragay. After 800 km we arrived at the border of Brazil and Argentina, we wanted to see the waterfalls from the Argentinean side. Besides that we still needed a stamp from the Brazilian immigration, since we did not checked out when we left to Uruguay in February and we did not check in again at the border with Bolivia. The immigration had a lunch break and we did not want to wait for that! We only had our first stamp from the arrival in Sao Paulo in December, so we expected some problems now or later at the airport. At the Brazilian side a young woman looked at the passports and said that we had a problem with the stamps, it looked like we overstayed our visa time of 90 days. She had to check with her superiors. Her superior arrived, only looked at our license plates and said to the woman
that she has to put an exit stamp in our passports. Great success, we think it is the license plate from Rio de Janeiro. We found out during our trip that people respected these plates a lot. Do not mess with a car from Rio.
At the Argentinean side we made a mistake, so it looked like we tried to skip the line. They probably thought these cheeky Carioca’s (people from Rio de Janeiro) did not want to wait. They let us unpack the whole car and put everything through the x-ray machine! This was the first time this happened. They only found six litres of coke and some aspirin, so we were fine.
At sunset we arrived at the Iguazu national park. We checked in at the Sheraton, it is the only hotel in the park. After two days driving we wanted the best spot near the waterfalls. We could actually see and hear the falls from our room! The next day we walked in the park and took a speed boat on the river. The speed boat almost drove under the waterfall. In the afternoon we took a little train to the biggest waterfall of them all, the
It was a perfect day and definitely one of the highlights!
The next morning we started driving the 1500 km back to Rio in the rain. The rain lasted the next 1000 km. On the way we got pulled over by the police, first time in Brazil. Mr. Wagner from the traffic police near Santos told us that we did not have a little plastic seal on our license plate and that this was a grande problema. His colleagues pumped up their chests and agreed that it was indeed a grande problema. So we thought this will be our first “fine”. We immediately unloaded our purses in the car and left only 120 reais in them. After one hour waiting the policeman said there was a solution, MONEY! He made some calculations. Anyway we bargained the multa down from 600 to (how surprisingly) 120 reais. Instead of having to tow the car 300 km to Rio de Janeiro we paid Mr. Wagner. In total we now had 60 euro in fines in 4 months, driving 25.000 km. In Holland this would be almost impossible!
Finally we arrived in Rio at Patrick and Paloma’s place, it felt like coming
home. We invaded their house again, but this time with even more luggage. We spend four days, playing Catan, going to the beach, going out in Le Blom for a fancy dinner and later a beer in the pub and off course one whole day to the Detran for a new seal. Patrick helped with putting an add for the car on internet and he will help us with selling the car since we still not speak any Portuguese!
After six month on this beautiful and diverse continent we can say: We love the south of South America and we will be back!
The last day got exiting, because we found out that our IPB ticket was only valid until the 24th of may. We wanted to fly on the 25th of may! We suddenly had to hurry and go to Sao Paulo the next day and fly in the evening. We flew back with Jura’s colleague’s from KLM and now we are sitting at home in Rotterdam finishing the last bits of our travel blog at 2.15 am. Completely jetlagged! Tomorrow we will let everyone know we are in town again.
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