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Tuesday 14 Jan
Pantanal, Brazil

Journey to the Pantanal

The funny thing about our private room, was that the usual reason you have an en-suite bathroom is to save you having to leave your private room to use it. However, there is such thing as being too intimate- our en-suite had no door on it, and add this to the fact that you don't put loo roll down the loo it leaves little to the imagination (think 2 to a cell type loo). So, we ended up standing outside in the garden to give the other person some privacy- so defeated the object of the en-suite really!
Lovely vast breakfast as we have had everywhere in Brazil so far- bread, cheese, ham, cake, fruit
We went to wait for our tour at their hostel and tasted the most lovely mango- we were told it had been specially created from crossing two types of Mango (done by the Japanese community in Campo grande) to produce a type of mango without the stringy fibres you usually get (stuck in your teeth mostly)- it was very sweet and delicious and growing in abundance - the tree we saw one side of had at least 100 on it- it must be hard to keep up with consuming them all as many were rotting on the floor- such a waste!
The mini-van picked us and another couple up to head to the Pantanal. The driver was called Carlos and was a lovely old man- R sat in the front and chatted to him for the whole journey (5 hours)- putting the world to rights. The other couple were 2 students studying a year abroad in Chile- really lovely people (Christophe and Eliza)- they have just done part of our next journey so wrote down lots of tips and nice places which is brilliant.
Although it is technically wet season, the rain's haven't really come yet so the Pantanal is still mostly dry- as we drove along the 'transpantaneira' we saw that the road is built raised so that the cars can still get across- Carlos said next month all that we could see would be under water. The Pantanel is the world's largest wetland.
After changing from the minivan to a 4x4 we eventually arrived at Santa Clara farm. As soon as we got out of the van we saw a group of green parrots chatting away noisily. Then two huge blue macaw parrots.
Then the best news- we had paid a reduced price for camping and not using the main facilities (pool etc)- but when we arrived they offered us the lodge (apparently the cook who made separate food for campers is sick)! So, R and I had a bunk bed in the lodge for no extra- any chance of air con is a real luxury.
We got in the pool and it was pure bliss- I said to R, pretend I'm blind and tell me what you see. He said: The sun is coming down and glowing a pinky red light on the tree's. There are two toucans in the tree above feeding their babies. There are a family of warthog looking pig creatures wandering around. There are red and green parrots flying around us. And an insect (perhaps dragonfly) who kept circling the pool then diving down into the water.
The lovely thing about a tour is that there was a lovely buffet dinner which we ate with the other guests at big wooden table and benches. To keep it warm they burned a piece of wood and sat the pans on a hot plate above- I love the smell of real fires. Pudding was guava (in a jam) and toffee from condensed milk- very very sweet but nice.
That night we had an 8 bed dorm all to ourselves

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