Chris outside our dorm on the Brazilian Farm.
Welcome again - you must feel that Christmas has come early with there being blog entries for you to read on consecutive days. Unfortunately the reason this situation has materialised is due to food poisoning, with idiot over here choosing to eat from a street stall because his Kiwi mate said the burgers were good on our last night in Santa Cruz. Consequently I haven`t seen as much of La Paz as I would have liked as yet, but I can inform you that their toilets are very well engineered and that the wall paper in my room consists of 17 different shades of red.
Following on from Foz De Iguassu we arrived in Bonito after another bus, although this one was distinctly less comfortable than the previous, with several of us enquiring whether it been borrowed from one of our secondary schools when having to attend away fixtures.
Horse Riding in the swamp.
This time myself and Kev faired a little better in the room stakes, obtaining what was essentially a second floor condo. This was quickly rectified as after leaving an unidentified object in the toilet, I then broke the handle off the toilet so it wouldn`t flush. Due to Brazil playing their last 16 match there was nobody available at the hotel, so we had to leave it until the national team had outclassed Chile to inform the owner of the situation. Unfortunately just as I was about to confront the owner, Rich snapped the key of his, Chris`and Martin`s room which meant I had to go second in terms of disclosing bad news. By the time he had entered our bathroom, said unidentified object had been fermenting for a good few hours, and I had forgotten to warn him about it.
Me and Rich after our hair-styling.
He shouted something in Portuguese at me when he walked in which I think translated as `thank you for leaving that there for me`. After this we enquired why there were so many lizards and rat droppings in our room.
Something really annoyed me on the way back from dinner that evening - involving a man called Kiran on our tour who is a Sikh. The educated amongst you will know that Sikh`s do not cut their hair during their lifetime as a mark of respect towards their religion, and thus have to wear a turban. After leaving the restaurant we walked past a group of brazilians who spontaneously started shouting "Osama" when they saw Kiran. As if this wasn`t bad enough, most of the street turned round and joined in as well. For all the aesthetic beauty this continent offers, it is clear that intellect of the inhabitants doesn`t correspond in any way, shape or form.
Kev relaxing during our open-top jeep ride in the Pantanal.
Upon discussing this with Kiran, he informed me that it has happened the whole time he as been in South America and although he responded in good faith, it is clear a small percentage of Brazilians are plain stupid, uneducated, misinformed and astoundingly ignorant. `Thick as shit` could also be interchanged with those other adjectives. Rant over.
After Chris had finished pondering how many lizards you eat in your sleep, in response to Rich saying he reckons he has definitely eaten a few ants in his time, the next morning we went on the snorkelling tour that Bonito is nationally famous for. The national park was a place of breathtaking beauty, and after a horrendous journey in, we were comforted by the fact our guide for the day spoke english.
Again though he struggled with Kev and decided he would could him Popeye for the duration of the day (this was after he had got angry at the Korean girl on our tour for having `melons that were too big to fit in her assigned wetsuit). After displaying his perfectly shaved chest and distubringly tight speedos, he took us through the tour, although made it very clear that we weren`t allowed to make large movements in the water or touch the floor as the park had to recover between tourist groups. Kev quickly destroyed a sand dune soon after getting in. One of the other tour members was new to this diving experience and had a bit of trouble adapting (he was a Sri Lankan man we ended up nicknaming `The Destroyer`). After kicking me twice, elbowing me twice and cutting me up so that I nearly drowned, I decided that I would move a bit further down the group, as we had to dive in single file.
Playing guitar at the camp-fire.
Over breakfast the next morning, Chris postulated that the most experienced fisherman actually use female pubic hair to catch alligator, and after hearing Wherever, Rich and myself couldn`t understand why anyone would get Shakiras boobs confused with mountains. The precursor to these conversations, was an intense farting competition between Rich and Kev, where a clearly excited Chris informed everyone that he had laughed for precisely 7 minutes. We then left for the Pantanal.
Brazilian roadworks are ridiculous, they don`t have a light system. Instead what they have replaced this with is a set-up whereby one side of traffic waits for an hour whilst the passes and then vice versa. After this had added approximately 7 hours to our journey we arrived at the Pantanal and went for a nightwalk.
On the mini-bus on the way to the Pantanal.
Kev decided he knew better than the guide, and after being advised to cover up as much as possible, he opted for a t-shirt and tracksuit bottoms - needless to say he became very friendly with the local mosquitos. Suspiciously there were a lot of noises coming from the back of the group during the walk, which were later attributed to creaky floorboards, which was odd seeing as we were walking on sand. After we got back and Martin had had three frogs jump out of the sink at him whilst trying to do his teeth, Kev sung a couple of songs at the campfire and was actually quite good, although Kudos was reserved for our tour leader Geraldine who smashed out a near perfect Hotel California whilst playing and singing. The next morning we went fishing, and Kev again emerged as the victor, nailing three piranha`s which was around 300% more than the rest of the group combined.
Wading through the anaconda and alligator river. I am a lot more scared than I'm letting on.
The real fun began in the afternoon, however as we had to go for a two hour horse ride through the swamp. After styling our hair like Mexican cowboys, myself and Rich were disappointed to find we would have to wear helmets, although this disappointment was eased by the fact that Kev could not have looked anymore like a builder bumping up and down on his horse. Richard Mason `will punch your face in`as he had coined himself as a horse rider and Kev fought a close battle for first and second, however this wasn`t all the fault of their handling. Kev`s horse tried to headbutt any other horse than went past him, and with me being on some pussy white pony, there was no chance of me ever being in contention. What I am about to describe will hands down be the stupidest thing I ever do in my entire life.
Completing the anaconda walk.
Late afternoon, after the horse riding, our guide asked us if we fancied going on another trek throughout the farmland. Most of the group agreed, although I was slightly annoyed as I was looking forward to playing football after the horse ride. I was to become more annoyed as about 10 minutes into the walk, the leader informed us that reason for the walk was to find anaconda (yes the 11m long ones which kill humans if provoked even accidentally, such as by treading on them). As it was about 5.30 apparently it was prime hunting time for the anaconda, alligator, piranha, wolf spider, tarantula and all other forms of wildlife. Things were about to get a whole lot worse as halfway through a conversation with Rich I noticed we were heading towards a deep swamp where the guide indicated there were lots of anaconda.
Me reading Men's Health in the Hammocks in our dorm.
The group simultaneously relaxed themselves by thinking we will just be viewing and hoping to spot one from the edge of the water. Somehow at exactly the same moment the group had comforted themselves with this thought, the guide picked up a stick and entered the water, telling us to remove all footwear. The first water part was about 10 minutes and I can honestly say I have never been more scared in my entire life. As if that wasn`t bad enough about 30 minutes of trying to avoid tarantulas and snakes later, we had to cross what was widely regarded as the most alligator infested part of the swamp to get back to land. It is safe to say that at the end of it we all wanted to punch the guide for what we perceived as a senseless and stupid piece of showing off, however he informed us that the people who live in this wilderness have to cross these swamps daily.
How the horse riding should look.