Southern Cross – Bobbing around Brazil

Trip Start Jul 30, 2010
Trip End May 29, 2011

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Where I stayed
Muito Bonito

Flag of Brazil  , State of Mato Grosso do Sul,
Thursday, May 5, 2011

“Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of experience.”
Francis Bacon, Sr.
(English Lawyer and Philosopher. 1561-1626)
Bonito is rightly described by the Lonely Planet as a "one street show... a 3km stretch that's home to bars, restaurants, tourism agencies and souvenir shops". What it fails to tell is that for most of the afternoon these places are shut and that no one shows Champions League footy in this footy-mad country. In the end we found an internet cafe where we managed to connect to a service streaming the Man Utd vs. Schalke game and watched the 2nd half. 

Bonito is also home to an amazing number of Fiat Unos (altho’ they are called Fiat Mille in Brazil) which would keep Claire’s father happy as he is a huge fan of the little rust-buckets with indestructible engines. So long, long after Fiat ceased production in Europe somewhere in Brazil they keep coming off the production line. Also as an Uno was my first car (no, this isn’t something I can explain) it was quite nostalgic seeing the boxy little things. 

However Bonito’s main attraction is not old Fiats but rather the crystal clear waters a few km from the town. To give us something to do most of the group decided to go to Rio da Prata for the day. So for about 60 each we did a short trek thru’ a rain-forest and then a wonderful 3km swim (aided by the current) down the Rio Olha d’Agua and the Rio da Prata Rio da Prata. 

The waters, in addition to being quite warm, are amazingly clear; it was like swimming in an aquarium. The fish, used to humans floating by in black wetsuits, swim causally past paying no heed. The Pacu are the stars of the river. Huge dark grey Piranha shaped fish, they hang out under the roots of the trees that line the river and watch the world float past. The waters are so clear because the rivers come from a spring that has almost no clay in it but lots of calcium carbonate which essentially calcifies the impurities in the water sinking them to the bottom. The result: clear waters and kidney stones for those who drink too much of it. On the upside: strong bones and no osteoporosis.

The next evening was to long overnight drive to Iguassu Falls.
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