Saturday, May 25, 2013

Day 3 - Pantanal Wetlands Brazil - world's largest wetlands - a wonderful education for an 8 year old

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We are due to depart at 7 a.m.
So at 5 a.m. I find myself in the warm shower and next I am packing.
As the birds start their morning song,
I shoot out with camera in hand to seek their glory.
Instead I find myself singing!
I spend half an hour singing - happy and joyful and wonderful made up songs.
Wow - this solitude is a wonderful time.
I see another magnificent sunrise.
It is muted by the haze that comes off the river.
I feel God so close.
This is right where I am meant to be in this exact point in my life.
I don't want to break this incredible happiness.
But I quietly go back in and unlock our room.
My son is sleeping so peacefully.
I do all I can before waking him.
We have a lovely breakfast, and I grab a few spare bananas for the day.
We head off in the first boat that crosses the river.
Today we have our Exploration.
Our lovely Italian friend - well she just makes me laugh - and long for a bit of Italy.

We hit the riverbank and wait for the next boatloads of luggage and companions.

This is the greatest group.
Here I have found new answers to life.
To let go of struggles.
To enjoy and connect with people from all around the world.
They are all so amazing.

So as we start this day, my son decides it is time to be "a man" - oh no!!

Thank goodness we have sensible guys here to help.
He is sitting on the roof of the truck for the expedition - over dirt roads.

 Now let me tell you - life in the wetlands is not time to be glamorous.
so hair pulled back, no make-up - due to the dripping perspiration.
Long sleeves and pants to ward off the mosquitoes.
To name a few fashion looks - not!

I am so stressed as I watch my sons boots hanging from above.
But ore stressed when we stop on a no sided bridge, with wide gapped planks.
And a myriad of caiman underneath - yikes!

Here is one of our little friends with his mouth open - ready for breakfast 
in the swamp below.

Wetlands a re black waters that act as mirrors.

Water pigs are swimming with the caiman.

Now let me tell you we have a bit of a "wild guide".
He has many a scar he tells us stories of snake bites, caiman and other endurances.
So as our vehicle stops, he teases a snake.

 He is pretty good - he already had a stick ready - like it was a pre-arranged event.
He wipes the venom on some poor English guys backpack.
he was NOT impressed.

For the first time, I bare the courage, and hold the tail.
Why - I will never know.
I hate, and I mean 'hate' snakes.

 We see many unusual animals.
This guy is just sitting on the road.
I am told he is not too well.

 Again we get to see my toucan friends.
I love the way they fly off with their long beaks forward.

The road ahead is bumpy, dusty, hot, and long.
My son is still on the roof - having a blast.
He has grown up so much.
Today really has matured him already.

Next we stop by a 3 forked river.
I have never seen so many caiman in all my life.
I hold my son tight and get ready to do a dash.
We are assured they are lazy, and don't bother humans?

About now I send my son off.
I stand about as close as I am going to get.
"Heck - take that picture fast - will you?"

Next the crazy guy is dared by an Israeli to pick up a caiman for 20 Reais - $10 USD.
So quick as a flash, he has it in a neck lock.

But seriously, check out how many are here.
There are literally hundreds.
This leaves our Amazon Jungle trekking for dead.

Next, the wacky guide takes us on a hike.
I have no idea why, where, or what this hike was about.
One of the lovely guys from England is amazing with my son.
He pulls out caiman teeth and gives to him, and they pose with skeleton heads.
I am so pleased with how great this group is!

The hike to no-where continues.
When I ask the guide what we are looking for, he breaks guide rule number one.
He thinks I am complaining and keeps on going on at us to head back up a track and find the truck.
Well - there is no way you should ever leave a group.
Let alone in caiman infested wetlands, with other wild animals.
I am definitely going to voice my concerns about this guy.

 But he comes good.
We see a heap of blue macaw.
And other birds - but after we think blue macaw are rare - thanks to the movie "Rio",
well we are impressed - especially when we find a feather.

We also spot an owl.
but the dingbat guide makes noises and scares it off.
This really annoys one lady in our group - she loves owls.
It is rare to see an owl in the day, as you know.

By now I am nervous about my son above.
So as we load back on the truck, I climb on the roof with him.
Silly me.
This is the time we are taking the back roads.
I spend most of my time limbo-ing under tree branches.

We arrive at the farm / camp where we will have a rest and have lunch.
For all the failings of Ecological Expeditions, this has been wonderful.

While most grab a hammock and rest, I find myself with a son full of energy.
These are the times it is hard to be a single Mum.
Most fall asleep.
Not my boy.

He jumps on me!
Swings the hammocks, and just exhausts me.
But he is on a high for life.
He has loved today.
He has discovered the joys of outdoors - the exhilaration.

Lunch is good.
We eat up, drop some off to do horse-riding.
The rest of us are at the drop off bus zone.
I am pleased as a guy from Mexico spends time and engages with my son.

We say our good-byes.
I wish this was a longer tour.
I have loved it.
It is an expensive van ride to Bonito.
Here we will have new enjoyments of Brazil.
We pass ant mounts - oh so like Australia.

It has been a really long day.
My son has a good two hour nap on the way there.
We have no accommodation booked.
But we have a choice of two.

The van is owned by Catarino's Guest House.
We have met some-one who stayed here before.
They boas the biggest breakfast ever.
This guest house give us a discount rate, and a private room.
We crawl out the van, and instantly make new friends.
Wow - it is so nice to have friendly travellers here.

We recommend Ecological Expeditions and thank them for their great prices and service.

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