16:30 - I've now crossed over to Brazil where I will spend my time until the end of this month except for a small interruption to go and visit Easter Island about half way through. Me and my heavy luggage were picked up at 1pm this morning and Pablo (driver) and Rick (guide) took me over the border into Brasil to visit the waterfalls from their side. They are 20% brasilian and 80% argentinian I am told. The view from Brasil is more complete but it is like: you can see but you can't touch! As it is further away. I enjoyed both days however, and you do need to do both to make your visit complete. Today was also the hottest day since I left the UK. I am led to believe we actually touched 43 degrees plus humidity. I spent an hour walking fairly slowly over the platforms and by the time we got back to the car I looked like I had done two very hard hours in the gym...I was dripping sweat...I know it's not a pretty image. The airport from which I leave is only 10 minutes from the Brazilian national park so I was dropped off for my domestic flight 3 and a half hours before departure. A little early. However, I do have my all in one enterteinment centre (Ipad) and I have been catching up on my reading. I am due to leave for Cuiabà at 19.
22:00 - Ryanair eat your heart out! Trip airlines managed to land at 18.33, unload, load luggage and passengers and take off at 18.50, a full 10 minutes ahead of schedule! Impressive! Although my booking said TAM airlines, I ended up on Trip...which I guess is their low cost airline. it operates a bit like a bus I am guessing because from my fragmented Portuguese, I understood it made 3 stops altogether before getting to its final destination :-). It landed ahead of schedule and by 19.45 (here you go back an hour and I am now 4 behind London) I had found my transfer man and was on the minibus with my luggage on the way to Pousada do Rio Mutum. With good weather it's a two hour drive, with one and a bit hours on tarmack and 45 minutes to an hour on a part dusty, part river-bed looking road. We also crossed the Rio Mutum on a bridge that definately looked past its best: wooden and wonky. Next to it concrete pilons waiting for a road to be built on it...and not a minute too soon I'd imagine. All this in complete darkness as I am now much further up and the days have grown shorter again. On the way we run across a family of the largest rodent in the world (baby included), crossing the road: the capybara. To all intense and purposes a huge rat! It's the size of a dog I would say, but looks like a giant guinea pig. Once we got to the entrance of the lodge there were a lo more of the lovely beasts. The chap in reception was very friendly and had my luggage taken to the room as he explained how the lodge works. He said as I had arrived late at night I could have a lie in in the morning (in my mind that's like 9 or 10am)...so he said that instead of having breakfast at 6.30am, I could have it at 7! That's not a lie in!!! He would then take me for the first nature walk by myself and after lunch I would join the group that will be on the same program for the next 4 days. The rest of the group is formed by: one (english speaking) german couple! :-). Considering the lodge has 22 chalets (the accomodation is formed by 22 little huts plus an a hut for the restaurant and one for the games/library rooms), it appears it's a slow week. Now, the room. I had read comments on the web about this lodge and I did not have great expectations as people complained about all sorts of things and one talked about the bathroom being open on one side. The reality is that the room is absolutely lovely! Huge bed, TV, minibar, air con, hot shower, even a walk in closet! And all very nice and looks as new. It's true that the bathroom is half open, but there is a wall containing the outside and the only actual open bit is the roof of that outside bit...which is covered by a mosquito proof mesh thingy. So that you can leave things to dry without mosquitos attacking it. I would call it luxury accomodation! The only downside is that wifi is only available in the communal areas, but I think I can live with that :-).