18:30 - I did set my alarm for 6.30 but alas I was woken up rather early (just before 6) by a squawking bunch of birds or ducks or such like! Other than that I slept soundly. After breakfast and a first attempt to use the wifi to check my mail (not very successful), Raul, our guide for the next three days, talked us through the basics of the Pantanal region. It is so hot because it has four warm winds converging on it, it is flooded 6 months a year and it is dry for the rest of the time (flooded at the mom), 80% is brasilian, 15% Bolivian and 5% Paraguayan, etc. There are no animals endemic to this area, which is a little strange, but, there are species from very diverse environments cohexisting in this habitat. This is due to the fact that there are 3 (maybe he said 4 not sure) very different biosystems...you have the amazonian jungle type for example, the swamps etc. He then took us for a walk firstly around the eco lodge and then into the surrounding vegetation. Alltogether two hours in sweltering heat (but clouded somat least we didn't roast our skins), at the end of which my long sleeved t-shirt (due to mosquitos it was suggested we wear one) was quite a sight...I think there we maybe a couple of small dry patches...
We then had a couple of free hours before lunch to relax. I managed to link up to the wifi finally! It was slow, somjust about god enough for email and text for the blog. I will have to leave the pictures until I get to Rio on Friday.
Lunch was buffet style...not at all bad. Now that I am in Brasil, we seem to have swapped the meat and potato diet for the meat, rice and beans diet :-). I'm curious to see what dinner is like.
We weren't due to go on the boat safari until 3.30pm so after lunch instead of going to the pool (where the german couple had already placed their towels!), I went back to my room with the intention of having a short nap. I ended up sleeping for close to two hours (must be the heat)!
I then made my way to the jetty but Raul kindly pointed out that we could have tea/coffee and buiscuits before setting off, so, of course, we did. The is always time to diet when I get home. Finally, we did set off and the weather had luckily changed for a cooler one...so the boat ride was indeed very pleasant (in fact I felt underdressed and ended up wearing my waterproofs on the way back as I was feeling a little cold). We saw alligators, hawks, cormorans, tucans, etc...my knowledge of bird names is so limited that I even have difficulty remembering what I get told! We also crossed the rickety bridge that I had driven over the night before. I can confirm even in daylight that it has seen better days. When we got back, we found a new couple with a baby had arrived. A whole resort for 3 people was a little too much :-). The german couple is very pleasant, regardless of their towel habits :-). They must be in their late 50's/early 60's. The embarassing thing is that I can't remember their names...oh well, nothing new there.
It's nearly time for dinner so I'll have to love you and leave you. Bye bye.
20:45 - Dinner confirmed my worst fears: rice and beans will be part of my staple diet in Brazil! :-))) There was also an attempt to allow for my etnicity in the form of some boiled spaghetti with no sauce. Their saving grace was the fact that they were not overcooked so I opted to have them as a side for my meat...very english of me. Tomorrow morning we have a canoe trip planned for us and that will require some paddling.
P.S. Forgot to say that they expect us at breakfast at 7am...is that a civil hour???