Brasil at last!

Trip Start Dec 30, 2007
Trip End Apr 24, 2008

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Where I stayed
HI Hostal (Opposite Rodoviarria)

Flag of Brazil  ,
Friday, March 14, 2008

It´s funny how absolute is the difference between two countries, like opening a door into a new world; not only the language but a total change of culture and attitude.  Within thirty minutes of entering Brazil a young woman was lifting my heavy bag onto the bus and showing me where and how it all worked.  It wasn´t her fault we were on the wrong bus (two choices and you´re bound to get it wrong) and this was put right at the first bus station where a plethora of helpful people told us we wanted ´Cristo.´   The bizarre way you get your entry stamp into Brazil in this case; is a bus ride from the border to a small terminal, then a queue (providing you´re there when they are open) for the required piece of paper and entry stamp.  All legal.  (or for speakers of Portuguese todo legal!!!!)

The Pantanal
After the mountains the flatlands; or more appropriately the very wet lands where wild animals and amazing birds show themselves to the booming tourist trade; where you stay in darkened wooden shacks (you wouldn´t want to see them anyway), but love every fascinating minute.  Actually, there was, rather too much time between activities for us, but the sight and sounds kept our eyes and ears busy watching and waiting for the extraordinary wild life of this area.  At the moment the whole place is flooded and a friendly cayman (not harmful to humans unless with young apparently) swims beneath the volley ball net and some tourists have to paddle to their accommodation among the piranhas of the Pantanal.  

The activities normally include a land safari in a large truck, but one got stuck on the day before our arrival so we saw wild life from the river and the back of a rather bony horse.  Mostly we saw birds of all kinds, names which mean nothing to me, but I loved the vibrant colours, expansive wingbeats, amazing beaks; each a wonder in its own right and all performing for our benefit (!).  A small armadillo wandered at the edge of the muddy track, a large lizard stood calmly posing for the cameras and monkeys made their presence known, but moved too quickly for good photos.  Our swim in the river was short, but good and on the second occasion hampered slightly by the speed of the river.  When we were tubing the current was welcome and enhanced the experience, although it was rather calm by comparison to the bubbling river we experienced in the United States a few years ago.  Mostly though, we loved the copabarra, who lodged on the wooden walkway outside our shacks for the first day.  This rodent is the size of a small pig, loved the big water melon someone put out for him and was too indolent and lazy to move away from his own pee-puddle. 

Our two night stay here was enough and moving on was interesting.  This is Brazil and it seems no matter how many times something is explained it has to evolve for us Gringos to understand, Our ´escape´ from the mud of the pantanal (where we saw several vehicles being rescued ) went well as we discovered we were being transported to Campo Grande by two separate mini buses ... not for us to wonder why; I think it was probably the best way and for our benefit though.

Now, we are on our way to Goiania which is somewhere in the middle of  Brazil, not too far from Brazilia, but smaller and has a good write-up. Our choice of route proved, shall we say an error! Yesterday´s exercise of sticking pins in a map as a method of  taking short journeys rather than spend around 48 hours on a bus proved ... well suffice it to say we got off the bus at the chosen spot, then on again with barely a second glance.  It was tiny. Now we are here, but I don´t quite know where ´here´ is and we are waiting for the 8.30pm bus ... well I hope so because it didn´t matter how high the decibels of the girl at the terminal rose (who, to be fair, was only trying to help) ..... that speaking really loudly had virtually no effect on my knowledge of Portuguese. 

A little later, having lunch, we discovered we are in a new time zone.   We are very lucky to have discovered this early enough .... it is very possible we would have arrived at the bus terminal one hour after our bus had departed.  

Tomorrow, another city, another new experience, but I am looking forward to seeing the sea and really hope that the clouds move off to allow some sunshine in very soon.

Hope spring is wonderful as ever.  Thinking of you all.

Must just add .... we never found out exactly what was the right about the time, but it didn't matter because the 8.30pm bus finally arrived around midnight which is pretty late whatever you call it and the whole thing changed the course of our Brazilian experience because without this delay we would never have met the delightful Ana ... see the next blog.
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starlagurl on

I wonder what the purpose of that extra bus ride is...

Louise Brown
TravelPod Community Manager

womblekisses on

Re: Strange...
There were around 8 people, mostly going to Bonito, but we were going to Campo Grande which was on a different route. It all turned out OK in the end ... it just gets confusing when it seems so complex. Thanks for your comment. Vera

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