11:15 - A difficult night. I kept waking up every couple of hours, I was either too hot or too cold and the squaking birds started at 5.30 this morning! We had breakfast as usual at around 7am and then got ready to ride the horses :-). The horses in the pantanal are smaller than normal horses but they have more endurance I am told. My horse was called Maradona. We rode around the jungle and swamps for a couple of hours lead around by Douglas, the man in charge of the horses. Raul was at the back making sure everyone was ok. Maradona did not like being overtaken so everytime one of the other horses got next to it it started accelerating. Then it would go back to a very slow pace...go figure :-). We also came across a pack of unmounted horses and had to be careful as apparently our horses have been known to start running around after them :-). It was a nice outing but on getting off we all realised why cowboys walk like they do!
I love the way the lodge organise their activities. Although it is true we have an early start, we always do something early on before it gets too hot, we get back usually by 10am and then are free (except for lunch at 12.30sh) until about 4pm (when the heat dies down a bit), and only then do we do an afternoon thing. It does mean you can rest, spend time at the pool, read, whatever, and still take advantage of all the facilities. And the people here are always friendly and polite and so relaxed. If you need to regroup and relax I suggest you all spend a few days here.
22:30 - After lunch I hang around the communal lounge used internet and spoke to my niece Claudia and little Paolo on skype (against my better judgement given the satellite link up). Immagine making them understand that it takes about 8 seconds for any answer I give to reach them!!! Still...always nice to hear them say they'll be good and then are naughty :-). A new coup,e arrived on the transfer jeep. They are also Brazilian and live in Cuiabà.
At 15.30 we were due to meet for our afternoon excursion and it started to rain cats and dogs. It went on for about 20 minutes. The sun then started to break through the clouds and me and the germans with our guide Raul and driver Douglas took one of the motorised boats and went down the Mutum River to where it met the Cuiabà River. We saw birds (of course) and at last several monkeys...big ones first...then the Cappuccino ones...cute. The females tended to hide away whilst the male were easier to try and photograph. In both cases they were on top of trees so the distance did not help. We saw a village inhabited by the locals. They mainly live off fishing or work in the pousadas. On the way back saw the sunset and fished for piranha :-). It was fun I have to say as they easily latcehd on so that they could eat the meat, but just as easily they got away after a couple of tries I got one and so did Manfred (the german husband). The wife try as she may, didn't manage it and I think she was the only one who really cared! On the way back it was pitch black and we were overtaken by Den and his family who had also taken one of the boats out with a driver. I made my way back to my room to have a shower, and when I walked into the bathroom I thought I had seen something move. On clos inspection there were 3 little frogs jumping around the bathroom! My reaction of terror must have amused them and I quickly ran out of the bathroom, closed the door and went to find a man, any man, that could help. The first one I run into was poor Raul, who was taking a moment to himself, but ended up catching and removing my frogs. So finally I know why we need man! Occasional frog catching!!!!! :-)))
Dinner was nice. Usual rice and beans, an attempt to spaghetti and meatballs, some breaded fish and some funny looking vegetables. Den insisted we needed to have a last night drink as me and the germans would be leaving the next day, so we had two rounds of Caipirinhas. Very nice indeed! We would have had a third bt Rosie pretty much dragged her husband away :-). Den has invited us to enjoy his hospitality should we wish to change our flights or should we come back to this part of the world again...who knows...maybe one day...meanwhile we have all exchanged emails sothat I can send some of the pictures to them. After all Rosie did think I was a professional photographer! (are you hearing that Maria? :-) )
Raul organised our transfers. The german couple is leaving at 7am bu as my flight for Rio is not until 16.50 he said I could either do nothing or he could take me out on the canoe or a walk. I opted for the canoe as I had found it so relaxing the first time around :-).
I am sad to be leaving but after the frog incident it is probably time I got back to civilization!