From Paraty to Foz do Iguaçu via...
Trip Start Mar 09, 2007
24Trip End Mar 09, 2008
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The water in the sea, however, is gorgeous as I discovered when we took a schooner trip round the Paraty bay and visited a few islands. The scenery was stunning but I hope you┤ll be able to see that in the photos. Some good snorkelling and some interesting monkeys, turtles and birds spotted. Don┤t know about one bird in particular. It began eating the banana thrown from the boat for the monkeys and it was bright pillar-box red and it was about the size and shape of a Thrush. We couldn┤t ask anyone on board as we were the only English speakers although for everything else we managed not too badly...thanks Sergio
Left the Pousada Guarana and the ever-cheerful Junior for the bus trip to Sau Paulo. Managed to get hold of the wonderful Silvia Broker who works in the inoculation clinic at the Albert Einstein clinic and who speaks perfect English and who is really helpful and friendly. The long and the short of it is that after a wonderful meal, couple of caiperinhas (out of doors and with live music), a fitful night┤s sleep (indoors and with noisy air-con) we took a taxi to the hospital and were duly given the last of our jabs and a lollypop for good behavior. But...listen to this....we then took a taxi to the airport and arrived at 11.15 with no ticket. By 11.45 we were taxiing along the runway heading for Campo Grande. How┤s that for a system? Unfortunately dave forgot about security in the rush and is now minus a very useful Swiss army knife complete with corkscrew.
Campo Grande (at least in the area we were in) is not very pleasant but it is one way into the Pantanal and after some research we chose to stay 3 nights on a farm called Santa Clara. We paid an extra 50 Reals for the only room with air-conditioning and thank goodness we did. It is hot, damn hot.
Loved the farm as soon as we saw it and what a relief, we hadn┤t been plagued by mosquitos on the hour long ride in the truck to get there and there didn┤t seem to be a problem on the farm either....but more of this later
Our first outing was a walk. Just me, Dave and Carlos our guide who was born and brought up in The Pantanal. The night before Carlos had introduced us to the `pets┤, the fabulous blue macaw, the scarlet and green macaw, two little white-lipped peccary pigs and in the fields were various horses, cows and sheep. I asked if the farm was purely a tourist farm or if the animals in the fields were bred for market. i was told the cows were for milk and the horses for the tourists to ride. And what of the sheep, I asked. Barbeque, he replied.
Anyway, the walk was interesting and we saw a huge amount of birdlife including more macaws, toucan, tiger herons, turkey vultures, ibis, green parrotts, kingfishers etc etc. A birdwatcher┤s paradise. We also saw an armadillo and, very excitingly, the tracks of a jaguar...no, not tyre tracks, Ian.
Had a rest between outings and Dave managed to find a hammock. After lunch we went on the water in a small motor boat with Carlos and his Australian wife Trudi. Had a really good afternoon and saw plenty of Cayman up close as well as howler monkeys and even more species of birdlife. Having ridden in the boat upstream, Trudi and I floated in inner tubes downstream with Carlos in the water too pulling His Lordship along in the boat. It was unbelievably peaceful. There we were in the middle of the water with Cayman to the right of us and Cayman to the left of us so not a good time for me to ask about Piranhas was it? Anyway I reckoned with both the guide and his wife in the water my bum and trailing hands and feet must be quite safe
The following day we were back in the boat fishing for the same piranhas. Again, the weather was scorching and we didn┤t have a lot of success (thank goodness), 3 for Carlos and a half for Dave. At lunch we were joined by a German girl and her father and together we went horse riding in the afternoon. Stupidly, I thought it might be easier to climb on top of some fence posts to mount my horse but the lunge from ground to post top proved too much for my elderly trousers and my dignity was left in shreds as well as my trousers.
We were passed during our ride by some more happy campers on the way to the farm. We joined them for drinks as soon as we got back and had a really good evening with them despite the heat and the sudden onslaught of mosquitos. We discovered, much to Dave┤s delight, that not only were we the only room with air-con but the only ones to have a t.v. (never switched on) and a fridge (used loads). When we left there was a bidding war going on between some English girls and an older (yes, even older than us) American couple. My money┤s on the Yanks! Andrea and Kate, the English girls have done a very similar S American trip to the one we┤ll be doing so were able to give us lots of tips. Perhaps the most important one was how I might get into and out of a hammock elegantly, something that┤s eluded me so far.
Yesterday we saw the Falls from the Brazilian side and thought it was wonderful. Today we took a tour and saw them from the Argentinian side and think they were even more spectacular. The Devil┤s Throat is certainly the most unbelievable natural force. Nice little group today, us, a young couple from Chile and a couple originally from Russia who now live in Boston.
About to go and eat for tomorrow is another busy day and we need our beauty sleep. Using the same guide, Luis of Jaha Iguassu (excellent company) we┤re making a brief trip into Paraguay. Tomorrow night we take the overnight bus (again) to Curitiba (may have spelled that wrongly)
Speak soon. Let us know what┤s happening to you too and what┤s in the news. Dave will add the pictures for this part very soon and tell you how to access the other pictures on the net if you┤re fed up watching paint dry.
Love to all
Joyce and Dave