Brasil. A new trip sector means new truck jobs. Karen is now on security with Tony (an ex-policeman) reverting to type 🙂 and I am on tent locker which means loading/ unloading the tents when we pitch camp. No real hardship except Kirsten has chosen 4 of the most vertically challenged people, Vanessa, Francois , Duncan and myself for this sector which means reaching the back of the locker (its 4ft off the ground) slightly interesting! Vanessa was heroic in getting into the locker but not sure she is keen to repeat the somewhat claustrophobic experience.
Dinner at the “Churrascaria” was great fun, basically it’s an all you can eat buffet. The meat is served on huge skewers straight from the grill and carved at the table, you decide what and how much you want to eat and it keeps coming until you turn the red flag on the table over. Great selection of steak, chicken, sausages and probably some bits you really don’t want to know about! Although I have to say our favourite dish was the whole grilled pineapple coated in cinnamon. Delicious.
Karen and I were up promptly to catch the 8.20 free shuttle to the main road and then the 120 bus – or “buzz” if you have Vanessa’s Bolton dialect, people kept asking her to repeat “catching the buzz” – to the Bird Park , $2.90 each way compared to $30 plus for a taxi. In fact we had a great time with buses only having to wait around 20 mins for one connection, the rest being immediate. Shuttle from camp to main road, road to Bird Park, Bird Park to town, town to shuttle and shuttle to camp. All great fun and it amused the locals to see “gringo’s” on the bus, particularly when we met more of the group and we were chatting away in English to the amusement of some teenagers who understood the odd word.
I think Brazilian bus drivers must go through extensive training, 2 years as a white van man plus at least a further 18 months as a taxi driver before they are allowed to take charge of a bus. This coupled with the fact they all think they are a relative of Ayrton Senna and thus must possess at least ¾ of his talent makes for an interesting ride. Still nobody died :-0.
That said they are very helpful and tolerant of ignorant foreigners who don’t speak the language, after our boat trip yesterday we arrived back at the shuttle point to find we had just missed the shuttle, faced with either a 30 minute wait or a 2km walk in 35 degree heat. The shuttle driver, arriving from the other direction, phoned the campsite and they sent their minibus to collect the 2 of us -service with a smile indeed.
The other interesting feature about the bus is that the conductress sits next to a turnstile about 3 seats into the bus and collects the money and she, it is typically a she, is definitely in charge. So unless elderly or disabled you HAVE to depart the bus from the rear i.e. thorugh the turnstile which causes havoc as the turnstile is hardly large and it was a hoot watching people getting off at the airport with their luggage through the turnstile when there was an unobstructed door (with no one embarking) 6 foot behind them. Simply nuts.
Really enjoyed a leisurely 3 hours at the Bird Park, I don’t normally like zoo’s / caged birds as they always seem a little sad however this is a conservation and a breeding centre for birds in danger of extinction so probably as good as it gets. Fantastic selection of birds including a Harpie Eagle and amazing Scarlet Ibis. Karen spent about an hour with the Toucans, watching & taking endless photos of these very entertaining birds. Took lots of photos a including everyone’s favourite the humming birds. We then went into town to the ATM and each bought some new t-shirts & tops , then back to camp for a couple of cold beers. Karen and I borrowed Blade Runner miovie from Robin and retired to our room with a bottle of wine from Mendoza. Real life (work, house and taxes ) seems a long way from here, apart from the family & friends I think we prefer here J
8 am start Thursday 18th (happy birthday Joe, and yes I forget to tell Karen I sent you an email so she sent one too, still 2 better than none.) for the run to Bonito our next activity stop. We expected to take around 16 hours driving time over two days with a bush camp overnight. Come 7pm we couldn’t find an acceptable bush camp and had made such good time we were only 2 hours from Bonito so Pete pushed on ( 3 cheers and a round of applause) and we rolled into camp just before 10 pm. Ithaca (the Truck) definetley running much sweeter following her brief time in the workshop and thus Pete happy to keep driving.
Now in Bonito a day early to enjoy all that’s on offer.
Sat 19th am. Karen has gone with most of the group to a natural pool for a couple of hours to try out her new prescription goggles ready for tomorrow., I am chilling at the campsite by the pool updating the blog. This afternoon we are going tubing with about 10 others and tomorrow is the major group activity a river excursion to float / snorkel down about 1.5 km to see the big fish the area is famous for.
On arrival the group had a few cold ones last night and one or two tried the national cocktail – Caipirinha – basically sugar cane rum, lime and sugar. Lethal when free hand poured as it is everywhere. Tony cracked us up at breakfast with his tale of needing to get out of the tent at 3am for the toilet, groping around in the dark can’t find his contacts so puts his glasses on and heads for toilet block. He is struggling to negotiate the tightly packed tents as vision is limited which he puts down to combination of the cocktail and it being the middle of the night. Coming out of toilet block see’s himself in the mirror and realises he is wearing his prescription sunglasses and not his glasses …………………………..
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