Thursday, October 29, 2009

Beaches, bikes and buffalo

Oi! Well Im not sure where to begin so many funny incidents since the last blog- Ill do my best to convey them in hte least boring way and hopefully some of hteir humour will not be lost in cyberspace! Having had a couple of really bad nights sleep in Rio back in the same hostel and same dorm but this time with really disrespectful roomies who clearly have no idea how to behave in a hostel , e.g. came in screaming at 5 am, 6 am , clattering around in heels, turning lights on, banging doors and chatting at full volume. Not to mention leaving a trail of their clothes all over the place, falling ontop of me while trying to climb into their top bunk and general yukkiness - bring back sharing dorms with guys , these girls were a nightmare! However we did have one lovely roomie, 49 year old Maria from Loch Lomond , owner of a B&B who leaves her husband of 25 years every year to go travelling for at least 6 weeks as he only likes to go to Tennerife to the same apartment for a week at Christmas! We have learnt a lot from her and got a list of some amaazing places to visit and have promised her we will be coming over for a wekend in the Scottish lakes! Sorry I got sidetracked - after 2 nights in Rio where we finally picked up our iphone and ipod we flew to Salvador. Picking up the post was not as simple a task as we thought. It in volved 4 trip in the one day to the post office, luckily one of the guys in there spoke Spanish so we were able to converse .
ON our first trip they told us there was nothing for either of them - even though Jo had received a message to say accoridng to the tracking number hers had arrived and mine had had over 2 weeks longer than it should have. Highly disppointed we stood our ground and insisted that they look again. After 2 men going looking they got the woman to go - and ofcourse she found it , well she found mine anyway - what is is about men looking for stuff! So next they told us they needed the tracking number to look up Jos. As we didnt have it with us or Jos phone this involoved going to the internet cafe, and calling home to get Matts number to call him to get tracking number - yes a long and complicated case! Eventually got that and returned to post office where we were told the system was now down and therefore wed have to come back in a couple of hours to try and lok it up then., So off we went to the cathedral , said some prayers for its arrival and then took a relaxing tram ride! Back we went ot the post office and it still hadnt been found but the system was up and running so they could check its whereabouts. Clearly it wouldnt be simple enough for it to be in Riop , it was located in Sao Paolo - a few hours flight away , uyet our frindly assistant told us that it might get there by close of day , and if not by tomorrow. Problem was we had a flight booked for tomorrow so would be a bit of amd dash to get back into city, check if it had arrived and get bnack to airport. So we went with the option of coming back at 5 pm before close and hoping it had arrived. Off for some more sightseeing and on return we hardly said a word as we walked in with fingers and toes crossed nad expectant faces. He called us over and had an optimisitc lok on hi is face and was nodding his head about something - this was a very good sign! After some more rooting around in the back with at least 5 memebers of staff involved in the search by this stage out they came with arms up in the air cheering and waving a small white package - it was a momentous moment in which truly all of them seemed delighted it had arrived. I reckopn they were sick to the teeth of the sight of us in there! Anyway parcel in hand we thanked them, smiled profusely and giddily skipped out of the post office - we had music again!!

Next drama was the bus to airport nbever showed up and as we left it later and later hoping it weould arrive while sweating in the midday sun standing on the side of the road we realised it was too much of a risk as traffic was growing so we hailed a taxi.After the slight worry of wondering whether we were actually heading to the correct airport we finally arrived, checked in and were very excited about taking a flight after so many buses!. Arrived safely after a quick up and down avoiding a 18 hour bus journey and checked hopped on antohter bus to the hostel we had booked whgich couldnt have been any harder to find if it tried but it was clean and sae even if I did have to climb up to the top of triple bunk whihc swayed dangeroulsy side to side everytime I moved! Salvador is a pretty place, very colonial with lovely buildings in the centre and beaches on the coast. So we stayed there for 2 nights, tasted the local food made by the African looking women in their white outfits with HUGE skirts and bought some more jewellery form the famous market nad ofcourse off the women on the street who you couldnt resist and they gave us each a free necklace and one for our Mums!

On form Salvador we got hte bus which involved getting to the bus statio0n on a puublic bus - yet again more tricky manoevering trying to get on and off a bus packed to the brim in rush hour with our rucksacks and hand luggage and a turnstile to get through. This time the conductor very sensibly and kindly passed our bags out hte back and we got off the normal way - there was no way we were fitting down the bus aisle with them on! Our original plan was to get off at Recife and get on a bus to Olinda. We had heard Olinda was a really nice coastal town but then started to hear it was very touristy so we decided to stay on the bus and go straight on further north to Natal , from there we would transfer to Pipa. The bus ride was longer than expected and a little annoying as there was a pile opf teenagers onboard who didnt sleep the whole night but drummed hte side of the windows and sang this along with Jos chair not reclinging was a nit of a nightmare!But we did get a free snack - which is very rare on a Brazilian bus!

Arrving in Pipa we immediately relaxed as we headed out of sight of tall buildings and we could smell the sea and fresh air. Having semi researched where we mnight stay we were quite happy to get off the bus and go with the Chicago born guy who now owned a pousada (guesthouse ) in Pipa who happened to be waiting at hte bus stop incase any tourists (gringos) got off and we did! So off we walked with him, taking in the beautiful cobbled streets and boutiques shops and restaurnats and cafes immediately falling in love with this town. Half way down the street this woman approached us and asked if our name was Joanna - this was a little freay as we didnt know anyone here. However turned out to be the woman Id emailed about the possibility of staying in her epousada / hostel and as hadnt go tto check my email since sent it she was on her way to meet us at the bus stop. However Laz had got there first and he had a swimming pool so we were a little torn over who to go with! He kindly said we should go with here as we kind of booked with her enad if we didnt like it we could come check out his place which was just across the street from her.

Having hiked up the very windy narrow staircase to Annas place we found ourselves in a small room with a double bed and 2 bunks whihc she told us we could have to ourselves . It als ohad its own bathroom and having oiur own space was huge upgrade. So as we hummed and hawed over whether to stay she went ot get sheets and I checke dout hte bathroom only to find a massive gheckop in the sink - not a good start. So when she came back I told her I was a bit afraid of them and could she get rid of it. However turned out she was afraid of them too so her solution was to move us to another room! In the meantime we decided we might go check out the other place as hed said hed cut us a deal. So we left our bags in Anaa and clambered back down the windy staircase again and across the street and opened the gate into paradise! It was immaculately clean, had a beautiful large ppol that you could actually swim lenghts in and it had 8 different light settings! This was followed by a walk through a lovely garden to aroom that was spotless wiht a fridle and a bathroom that would not require wearing flip flops into. Not ot mention the hammock on our private veranda - we were sold!! The crazy thing is it was the smae price as the manky hostel 12 bed dorm in Rio.

Once we had settled in we went to explore the town, a 20 meter walk to the main stret and 5 mins to the beach - not bad. As we sat people watching on the street eating homemade soup and garlic bread for 3 dollars we heard a familiar hi and it was some of the guys we met in Rio the first time we were there. They had come for a few days and like us had immediately fallen in l ove with Pipa and were now working in one of the local hostels - mad! Next we were admiring a girls dress coming down the street nad then loked at her face and realised it was an Aussie couple wed met in Argentina over a month before - small world! So next day after seeing hte amazing white sandy beaches and surfing and swimming with dolphins we decided to stay an extra few nights; Having heard that Wednesday was Samba stret party night we decided to stay for that and then Thursday was Reggae beach party night so ofcourse we had to stay for that too! So one weeek later we flew out of Natal to Belem where we are now. Pipa was definitely our favourite place so far in Brazil, it is beautiful place with so much amazingf coastline to explore and lovely restaurants and boutiques with amazing clothes if you can afford to splurge!

So after 4 take offs, 4 landings, 3 ham and cheese rolls (with the hame picked out), 6 free take off toffees and a taxi ride we finally arrived in Belem, which lies at hte mouth of the Amazon. Having left our favourite accomodation so far we were kinda gutted when the taxi pulled up at what looked like a dive in a really dodgy looking place and we were shown to our room whihc stank of poo and hadnt seen a paint of coat in a long long time! We resigned ourselves to being back to roughing it! As the girl went to get sheets and we looked around in utter disppointment at =our home for the night while wretching at the smell I decided it was time to be assertive and ask to move rooms. So we got upgraded to a bigger room wioth a view through the no glass window of the local drinks wholesaler - nice! Next day we asked for a map in order to go explore and were a little concerned when she highlighted numerous areas that were dangerous and we shouldnt enter. It was also a Sunday and it turned out Sunday was particularly dangeous to walk around - just our luck when we only had one day to explore before we planned on going to do some jungle tours. So off we headed with our eyes on in the back and side of our heads and minimal valuables on us. Walked down to the river and tryed to organise a jungle trip but to no avail but did see some really random things for sale in the famous market including small snakes and other weird herbs and creatures which were seemingly to cure all sorts of ailments including love problems and prostate problems! After discreetly snappiong some chickens, brazil nuts being chopped open and randomers actually sleeping on top of the stalls (or these couold have been homeless people) we then walked along the pier, admired the abundance of dead fish, vultures and homeless people and decided to retreat back to our lovely hostel!!

On MOnday we boarded the 3 hour boat ride to Isla de Marajo where we are now. It is about the size of Switzerland but onoly a tiny portion of it is inhabited as the rest is swampy jungle. We had thoght wed be able to access the centre and get more a jungle experience but that had proven harder than expected so we have resigned ourlseves to chilling on empty beaches and canoeing down tributaries of the Amazon! On arrival we hopped on a local bus to a town called Salvaterra and asked the bus man to drop us at somewhere to stay on the beach. The buses round here seem to operate door to door service as we took numerous detours up grassy side streets to drop people off including one guys house where we stopped to pick up his books and then dropped him at college / school!
So we were dropped right on the beach where there was only one place to stay and one place to eat so it had to do! Room was clean, and relatively cheap so we parked oursleves up there for a night and wandered down the beach to the restaurant under the stars guided by the moonlight for a our romantic meal for 2 later that evening! Apart from a couple of kite surfers we truly had this huge beach to ourselves apart form a couple of random horses , a ew buffalo and some locals on bikes - yes cycling on the beach is the norm here! Next day we tryed to get breakfast which the night before she had suggested was included. However after waiting for her to do the laundry , have her shower, wash her hair and knickers breakfast still hadnt materialised. As we seemed to be the only ones stayiong here we werent really sure what the procedure was. Now dressed she disappeared off on her bike - we optimistically hoped this was to go tot he shop to get bread and cake and fruit for our brekkie - ofcourse not! Our expectant faces and hugry bellies fell as she appeared back with no bags! We decided to give up on breakfast and call a taxi to bring us to the boat so we could cross the river to get to the next town. She suggested a moto taxi - whihc is a motorbikie taxi , the cheaper option but with a minimal of 20 kilos and hand luggage on top of that we thought it might not be so easy to climb on the back of a motor bike so we opted of the more expensive fiat uno style car that lumbered along but got us there in one piece .
From there we had to negotiate our way onto a tiny boat that had a roof so there was a lot of twisting, turnign and head ducking to get on with the bags. We could se the other side so it was not worth taking htem off and having to reload again in 5 minutes. On reahing the other side we had to clamber up a very steep ramp and then figure out where on earth we were! After walking for 10 minutes in the heat and sweating we took a seat at a corner cafe which has now become our staple restaurant every night! After clearly proving oursleves ot be tourists - if the rucksacks dont give it away pouring over the menu with a phrase book certainly does! After deciding on a typical south american breakfast of cake and fried chicken croquette we settled down and tried to figure out what our next move would be.

Luckily for us fate took over and a very nice man who was a teaher and spoke English took pity on us from another table and asked us if we needed some help. We nearly hopped up and hugged him and his wife, brother and sister as they offered to show us where they were staying whihc wasnt on the beach as we planend but was said to be a nice place to stay , central and they spoke French there - although my French is pretty bad these days its much better than my Portuguese! So 10 mis later our bags are being loaded into the back of their estate piece of tin and in we all pile, JHo on my knee as we are sandwiched inbetween the man and his wife. As we bump along hte streets with the bottom of hte car scraping the ground every few metres we try not to laugh outloud and wonder if the car always bounces and scraped like this or of its just the weight of our bags! Apart form one semi tarmaced road the rest of the roads on this island are grass and sand lined down the middle with mango trees and shared mainly by the population of 17,000 and their bikes (all of which usually carry at least one more person on their back carier or wherever they can fit them) , not to mention the random horses and buffalo wandering around. Marajo is the buffalo capital of Brazil!!

So we chck into our very posh pousada which we barter them down to 20 us dollars each a night and move into our very comfortable room with clean sheets and clean towels and another bathroom that doesnt require flipflops - heaven!! Next thing we know we are flying along the grassy streets on the back of motorbikes - moto taxis to be precise! And deposited at the most deserted beach I have ever seen. I will get pics up asap. As soon as we arrive we try to find out if the pousada here is open as we plan to spend a night or two here but after much hand signalling we ascertain form the woman who oruns the only open cafe that the owner will be back in a few hours but that if we wanted we could hang our hammocks on her balcony for whgatever prive we thought acceptable and shed throw in breakfast! We had planned ot do this but with an influx of mosquitos because of the weather we have opted to stay in luxury for a couple more nights and move to another part of the island tomrrow and try hang our hammocks there instead - so many deserted beached , so little time!

Anyway next thing we know while trying to find out all this information form the bar woman we are being approached by some guy who seemingly works in the place were staying and speaks French. After askinging him if we can organsie a canoeing truip for tomrrow he tells us that he has a group of people hes doing one with now so if we want we can go along with them. So withing 20 mintes we are raising our homemeade coulourful sail stitched together with random bits of colourful material including pictures of labradors and we are sailing through the mangroves with some other random French tourist - actually the only other tourists we have seen on the whole island so far!

So a couple of hours later we have truly felt like we are in the Amazon area, having seen pink flying birs, monkeys hangin upside down in trees and men living in wooden shacks on the river side. We return to the deserted beach for an hour of lounging around before our mto taxis return to pick us up and we travel home past hte buffalo, horses, dogs, bikes and random clothes shops interspersed with chemists and bread shops. This place is totally mental!

Yesterday we rented bikes and cycled to the other totally deserted beaches where our only company was hte vultures devouring a dead dolphin and a couple from Argentina travellign through Brazil, sleeping in a hut on the beach and selling jewellery - ofcourse being fellow backpackers we had to buy some to support them! Back home through the herds of buffalo and back to our regualr restaurant for mroe crab soup and crem caramel pudding - yum! Then the excitement of the week - the opening night of the annual buffalo festival!!
Yes we have turned up in town on the most exciting week of the year, all the girls are looking like somehting out of Father Teds lovely girls competition and surprisingly for a place that has sand and grass for its streets they all turn up to the buffalo festival in short dresses, hair done, make up on and heels - kicks the ass of the Tinahealy show anyday!! So lots of dangerously close fireworks later, some dodgy local dancing involving a bull head, some very good traditional dancing, and bucking buffalos later we head for some mreo cake and then to bed - all this buffalo action is too much! I have to run now as have a date with a buffalo - yes we are going buffalo riding! But next blog I will put up pics and explain in more detail what actually happens at a buffalo festival!! Love to all xoxox

Monday, October 19, 2009

Jungle pics

Jane and Jo do the jungle!!

Heres some pics of Pantanal jungle and Salvador. At mo in the most beautiful place weve been to so far in South America, Pipa a couple of hours south of Natal on coast of Brazil. Chilled town, cobbled streets, lots of bars, cafes , creperies and beautiful beaches with dolphins. have treated ourselves to a room for 2 after numerous sleepless nights in noisy dorms. We even have a pool in this place and we dont have to wear our flip flops in the bathroom as its really clean - this is very exciting!!! Spent the day today following fresh fruit and warm straight out of the oen pineapple cake a swim with dolphins on a practically empty beach followed by a bit of sitting around and then an afternoon surf - again with dolphins for company - ah life is tough!!! Anyway i will blog properly about Salvador and rest of time here asap but want to get some pics up now. Ciao for now ! xo

Friday, October 16, 2009

Jungle life


well we have survived four days in hte jungle,we are describing it as our holiday form our holiday as it was lovely to not have to think about what we were going to do for the day or wher to stay or ho0w to get there for 4 days - all of which can be stressful things to think about when travelling!! since last blog we enjoyed another couple of rainy days in paraty and one dry day where we headed for Trinidad a beach place about 40 minutes away. Unfortunately the sun only shone for a few hours so we didnt get to explore all the beahes when looking their best but it was a very relaxing day and ended with a juice in a deckchair - not a bad end to a day of slleping on a beach!while sipping on our juices we were appraoched by some local who insisted on taking us up a rock to see the view.we were a little bit hesitant as he stank of drink but we were in a tourist area and before we knew it he had taken our bags and flip flops and stowed them behing the bar of the restaurant and was leading us up this huge rock. quite funny really. I tried to interpret what he was telling us with my very broken portuguese and his hand actions and he ended his littel tour by insisting ont aking aphoto of both of us from every viewpoint off the rock - ill try get some of these on the blog!

The other day we had in paraty we rented bikes - much better quality than hawaii - this time htey actually had gears and brakes - very high tech!! and off we trotted up the montain to visit the famous waterfalls of Paraty. A couple of k intot he cycle we remembered that we were going to a waterfall and clearly we would have to go uphill, the hill indeed went up - for quite a while! so as cloudy as it was and drizzly we were very grateful to hop into the cool water when we finally got there. Toboga waterfall as anyone whos been to Paraty will know is famous as a natural water slide. we were lucky enought to arrive just in time for ethe local guy to be showing off by sliding down it barefoot as if he was surfing but without a board. with my previous history of concussion i decided not to risk trying this and possibly smacking my head open on a rock so we went with the sit on our bums and slide down version - still a littel nerve-wracking the first time as you arent really sure where your going to end up, once you sit down at the top theres no control over where you slide! so with the high-tech hand signal system 9thum up, hand wave to right /left, thumb down0 of the other Portuguese visitor who had wathed where best to start from I made my way up to the top of the fall, gingerly stepped across the top trying not to slip and after a bit of bum giglling left and right according to her hand gestures finally got he thumbs up for take off! you feel like youre going really fast but youre not really and somehow you glide over the bumps smoothly and luckily ended in the right place - away formt he huge rock although I was gasping for breath at the coldness of the water on subm,ersion! helped out by the nice lady i made to go again this time bringing Jo with me ater she had been persuaded having seen i was still alive. this time however it didnt go quite so smoothly and I ended up doing a 180 turnabout halfway down, m,y bikini bottoms came half down and i slid very uncomfortably scraping my ass as i went along backwards and head first. Luckily I still ended up in the right place! - Phew! After getting stuck on a dry piece of rock Jo safely slid down beside me. we decided that was enough waterfalls for one day and enjoyed the downhill all the way home on the bikes!
On the way home we decided to go get some supplies for dinner in the supermarket, while we were perusing in the biscuit section there was a powercut. There was a lot of screaming , giggling and whooping as this was obviously something exciting to happen! although the guy stocking the shelves beside us clearly was used to this as he deftly pulled a]out his mobile to use as a light and continue stocking the shelves - good to see the Brazilians have a good work ethic!! If we wernet such honest people we would have made the most oft he opportunity to rob from the shelves of dulche de lehe which we happened to be beside when the lights went off! Howver a couple of minutes later all was restored to normal and shopping with lights resumed.

Our next stop was Sao Paulo, a 6 hour bus ride south from there we had one hour to find the bus company for the bus to start of jungle (campo Grande) and get ourselves on that bus for the onward 12 hours through the night. we arrived into Sao paulo fine and had a bit of trouble finding the information desk. we were aleady under time pressure and tired form carrying our heavy bags around so when she told us that we had to transfer terminal by metro and this would take about half an hour we began to get a little stressed over time. we hurridly shuffled our way to the metro station, only to find ourselves in a 15 minute queue for the ticket office - not good. Finally we clambered aboard te metro and luckily it was a fast one. we made it to the destination station with 20 minutes to find the ticket office, buy our tickets and get to the bus. Clearly we are becoming experts at running for transport and made it tot he bus with 10 mins to spare - another high 5 situation for team Tan! 12 hours later we arrrived in Campo grande only to hear that ou tour was not leaving in the next hour aas we had been told - hence the urgency to get there but that we would have to wait early 3 hours as someoe on the tour was flying in later. so we had a relaxing breakfast at the hotel by tour place and then were loaded into a minivan jungle bound.

In our rush to organise this trip we didnt really lllok into how long it took to get there form Campo grande , but presumed it was only an hour or so. No - it was 5 hours in the minibus and then another hour in an open truck on a susty road with flys flying into your mouth and eyes at every turn. it was made more pleasant though by the spotting of wild toucans flying overhead, deer crossing the road and hawks and eagles gliding graefully above our heads. when we sudenly heard a looud hissing noise I thought to myslef we must hav e huge snake in hte truck but no it was a puncture! So as if we hadnt spent enough time travellig already we were now stuck in the middle of nowhere while our driver in true south American style deftly changed the wheel without using a jack - this still puzzles me!
so over 6 hours of bus and truck later we finally pull up into Poussada Santa Clara and are greeted by the friendly parrots, pigs and pet toucan eatig bread off the bar! we had a lovely quiet dorm right by the swimming pool, hammocks and deckchairs and bar - yes this is clearly not the jungle image i had in mind but turned out to be very relaxing and not mosquito ridden as i had imagined! We will still have to experience a wet jungle as we go north intot he amazon. This place looks similar landscape to safari parks in africa - a bit like Lions Den Mum - the tv program witht he guy form Ballykisangel in it! anyway we were intorduced to our guide for the 3 days - carlos, born and raised in the Pantanal jungle - in 36 years hasnt left the jungle and knows nothing about any ohter place in the world - but vertainly knows everything ther is to know abou this jungle. I would catagorize him as the crocodile Dundee of the pantanal, he never wears shoes and carries a huge knife on his belt which he uses for everything from chopping meat, watermelon and gutting fish!
we spent our days there horseriding (no accidents apart for the irish guy whose horse tripped in an armadillo hole, threw him and then got caught up in his reins - nothing likee the Irish to creat a bit of drama!). Normally the water levels are 2 to 3 meters higher at this time of the year but they are experiencing a drought in the dry season which Carlos says is totally unheard of so water levels were very low everywhere. After horse-riding we lounged in the hammocks for a while, enjoyed beig served up breakfast ,.lunch and dinner - with dessert at all 3 meals - yum! The first afternoon we went piranha fishing. we had to cross the river barefoot to fish form the other side - it was only on the way back we realised we were crossing wiht all the piranha nad cayman (like an alligator ) ao we cossed back a lot quicker than the forst crossing! very proud of myslef I baited upmy own line with the manky ant ridden meat and managed to catch one pinaha nad one catfish and get my hook stuck in the heads of 4 caymans - one of which broke my rod while trying to release itslef. Jo also managed to catch a few alligator sized caymans - unfortunatelky we had to put them back in! It was a little hairy fising so close to them as they kept coming up to try take the bait - you will see when i get the pics up. Anyway that night i feasted on my piranha and catfish - not a lot of meat going on with these fish!

our next day I got up at 6 for a run - the jungle alarm clock - the noisy native birds go of at about 4 am so we were up early everymorning. it was probably the most nature boutiful run id ever been on passing toucans, blue and gree parrots, cows, deer and emu like animals (these scared me ab it at first as I though they might chase me and try bite me and I knoew i couldnt out run them, but luckily they ignoredme and ran the other direction!) we took a lovely boat ride up the river, spotting amazing local birds and the biggest rodent in the world - you wouldnt have like this dad! Carlos spotted a puma whihc at first he thought was a deer but when we went back in the bopat hed run away - unfortunate as this would have een an amazing spot during the day. our next day we were up at 3.30 for a 4am jeep safari with the spotligt on in search of jaguars and other hard to spot animals - unfortunately all we got were caymans, deer and more birds and ofcourse giant rodents! sunrise breakfast and then on we continued with our jeep safari. carlos standing in the back of the truck using it as his lookout tower suddenly banged in the roof of the cab to get the driver to stop. we werent sure what he had spotted and so were mildly amused and a little confused when he suddenly jumped out of the truck , ran through a hedge and into a swamp. Next thing we know hes waving for all of us to follow him ad so out we all hop and follow hiim through the hedge and into the swamp where he proceeds to pick up a 3 and half metre Anaconda snake by the tail while pointing out he other 2 in close proximity. Seeminly spotting 3 at one time is a rare thing and much boasting was doine when we later got back to the camp! these snakes blend amazingly well into the swampy ground and so not being a huge lover of snakes i was keeping a very close eye out to wher they were crawling and amazingly when he offered it out to hold around our ncks I said yes - the photo shows jsut how nervous I was - note the hand position 9promise Ill get the pics up asap! Anyway on went our tour and the day finsihed with a lovely sunset and more chilling in the hammock!
Our final morning in the jungle we went on a trek through the thicker jungle area tiptoeing behind carlos - in his barefeet of course as we tryed not to stand on any dry leaves incase we disturbed any wildlife we might spot. Jo and myslef decided to stop for a Jane of the jungle pic as i tryed to swing from a vine - unfortunately the vine was weaker than it looked - or else all the cake is catching up with me adn bith it and me went crashing to the ground clearly making a lot of noise which was followed by a lot of smuggled giggling as we tried to catch up with the others and hoped they hadnt known that was us making all the noise! we soon came upon wild monkeys which was amazing to see and later the largest armadillo in the pantanal as he rushed into his burrow - very cool to see! after along and complicated truck, bus, bus journey back to Rio - overing 30 hours we eventually made it back to rio where we stayed 2 nights before flying to Salvado where we are now. It was very exciting to get a flight afte all the buses. now I have to go as we have to cath another nigh bus 12 hours north to Recife. will get back to finish this blog and puit pics up ion next couple days. love to all xoxox