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Published: March 9th 2009
Day 686 (13.02.09)
We had a bus booked for later in the evening, but still had most of the day to enjoy ourselves. Having chatted to our fellow hostel goers we heard that the Bird Park was well worth a gander and made our way out there in the late morning after packing up.
At first the the park was a little disapointing with a row of smallish enclosures for the birds. Admittedly they contained stunningly colourful native birds but they were all behind bars. This was soon to change, as after a short distance this opened up to open areas with Flamingoes (always a favourite) and other large birds. Things then got even better as we reached our first walk through aviary. Filled with Toucans and loads of other species (we wouldn´t have a clue what they were but they were also very cool) we took our time watching their antics. Flying about, hopping around and showing off their gorgeous coloured beaks some were also quite inquisitive to the parade of humans coming through their home. Further on in another aviary, one of the toucans took a shining to Marks trousers trying to eat away at it before
getting a little enthusiastic and taking nibbles out of his ankle as well - little bugger! It was incredible to be able to get so close to the birds. Our next walk through experience was in the butterfly and humming bird enclosure. With some of the butterflies bigger than the humming birds it was sometimes only by the speed in which they moved that you could distinguish one from the other. The humming birds were a huge highlight for us as we wathced them flit about, wings moving so fast you could barely see them. We had stayed much longer at the park than we had planned and had to drag ourselves away but we could have sat and watched them for hours!
The final walk in aviary had a sign which basically stated that you enter at you own risk. This was filled with parrots and macaws - huge, colourful birds. On the face of it it all seems quite relaxing and serene but the inhabitants of this cage were very noisy and loved nothing more than playing a game of swoop and hit the tourists. Mark got a wing to the head but other than that we
came out unscathed.
After a great visit we made our way back to town for a spot of shopping (Mark yet again needed new sunglasses) until we had to make our way out to the bus station for our journey to Florianopolis.
Settled on our bus and on our way out of town we were about two hours into our journey when we got stopped at one of the police checkpoints. A pretty routine thing in South America since we have been here so we thought nothing of it. This time things seemed a little different with a couple of passengers taken off the bus and the Federal Officer who came on to search the bus being very thorough, checking every place possible to stash something and asking to go through bags, including Mark´s daypack, in detail.
As he was still making his way down the bus there were two shots outside. The Officer on the bus ran off the bus with his hand on his pistol and joined his fellow officers pursuing a suspect through the neighbouring cornfield.
As the search intensified the officers upgraded to machineguns and shotguns - things were getting serious. After
the initial confusion and excitement there was then a long drawn out period of searching and interviews with various passengers. Two people were arrested (these ones not from our bus) and eventually we were all packed up and sent on our way.
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