South East Asia Adventure
Saturday 270506 Ponta Pora to Bonito We finally woke the Brazilian border control staff who took an age to process us. We took our private minibuses to Bonito along a dirt road that reminded us of Route 40 in Chile and Argentina. Huge number of large termite mounds. We passed a large no of shacks built by homeless people who were waiting to be rehoused by the government. We stopped at a place along the road for lunch and had a plate of local food, then continued our journey, we arrived early afternoon, the place was lovely. We ate alligator stew for dinner, I didn't like it as it was all on the bone but I tried some grilled alligator and it was lovely. Sunday 280506 Bonito We had booked a snorkelling trip down a fresh water river. We poured our bodies into tight dry suits, diving slippers, snorkels, masks and buoyancy jackets. We were shown where the river rose in 5 separate places. The water was so totally clear and cool as we entered it. We dropped into the water and we allowed the river to carry us down along stream. It was wonderful floating along, how I would imagine flying must feel. The fish looked at you as you went by. It was totally wonderful, a real highlight of the trip. That afternoon we had a rafting trip down the river, a different river with about 5 waterfalls, this was the sort of white water rafting I (Fee) could handle (tame). We saw many animals & birds but no one saw the Tucan I did & I got a lot of ribbing about it. We stopped at the last waterfall for a swim - it was really cold and too powerful to stand under. Monday 290506 Bonito We had a free morning and just as well as Fiona had picked up a cold, runny nose, sore throat etc. Probably from all the water she drank while snorkelling! That afternoon Jude went on an organised walk to look at yet more waterfalls about 7 in total. We walked for about 2.5hrs stopping at some of the pools and falls to swim & dive. Needless to say the water was very cold but it had to be done. Although I drew the line at diving off a high board. Tuesday 300506 Bonito to Pantanal We continued our journey with our private minibuses. The trip to the Pantanal was on unsealed roads, which left you feeling exhausted. We arrived early afternoon. Our accommodation was in buildings on stilts over an alligator infested swamp (exaggeration). That afternoon we boarded small boats to go out into the Piranha infested river. We didn't see any this time but we did see Alligators, Tucans, Monkeys etc, plus the most stunning Sunset. We had an evening buffet meal in the main building. Fee went off early to bed to try and get rid of her cold and I stayed to play silly drinking games!!!! (yes me Judith) Wednesday 310506 Pantanal We went to an estancia (farm) about an hour and half journey on the worst dirt road in the world we only went about 15 miles but the going was slow due to the bad state of the road. Fee rested and Jude went for a walk through the swamp, we saw howler monkeys but were in water up to our knees. There was an option to go horse riding but we both decided to sleep in the hammocks for the afternoon - it was wonderful. Thursday 010606 Pantanal too Corumba Before we left we had a go at fishing in the river. We had long sticks with a small bit of line a hook and a piece of chicken flesh! Yes we went fishing for Piranha. Jude pulled out two fish with little effort, Fee caught one. We ate them for lunch - they had the most amazing set of teeth, they went down along their throat as far as you could see.. They were served deep fried and tasted as a meaty fish. We took our small minibuses again after lunch and took a very bumpy trip to Corumba. We meet another herd of Bramahs (Indian white humped cattle), they were being run down the road by Gauchos. We arrived late afternoon - the hotel had a pool - wonderful. Friday 020606 Corumba to Santa Cruz We went out for a walk to the River which was nice. We returned to the Hotel for a swim in the pool and left the hotel about lunchtime heading for the Brazilian side and took Bolivian taxis to the next Border control. This is where our Tucan rep got a lot of hassle here due to her having a Peruvian Passport. It is illegal to be a tour guide in Bolivia unless you are a Bolivian government approved guide. In the end she was concerned that we would miss our flight and hurried the process up. We continued our taxi ride to the airport in a taxi without a speedo - interesting but also a sign of things to come! We had a reasonable fight and managed to check into our hotel by 930pm. We grabbed a quick bite to eat in the restaurant as we were bushed - steak and chips was two English pounds the cheapest meal so far! Went back up to enjoy a spa bath. Only problem was leaking so we thought we would enjoy the tv in our suite. But the only English speaking programme we could find was rubbish!! We also had a pool as well but we had an early flight the next morning so we never got a chance to use it. Unfortunately we didn't see Santa Cruz we only saw the road from the airport to the hotel and back again. The city was lively and had a lot of western companies - it looked like it was a commercial centre.