*A completely dogless post and a bit of a whinge.
From Buenos Aires, we flew to Iguazú [Misiones, Argentina] where we took a van to Iguaçu [Paraná, Brazil].
We crossed from Argentina into Brazil right here.
We have a lot of pictures of Iguazú/Iguaçu. Unfortunately, they mostly look like this.
This is Iguazú from the Argentinian side.
This is Iguaçu from the Brazilian side.It has a good panoromic view of the falls.
We met some friendly natives.Which made us think that a lot of people must be ignoring these signs.
Back at our hotel, I made 2 exciting discoveries about Brazil.
It has very comfortable cushioned toilet seats.
From Iguaçu, we flew to Cuiabá, the capital of Mato Grosso where we found signs that Brazil is not so different from Australia.
The banks remained on strike for almost our entire holiday and we made a 3rd important discovery. Never! ever! ON ANY ACCOUNT! bring travellers cheques to Brazil. [The Other Half tells me I may be the only person on the planet who still travels with them anyway.]
From Cuiabá, we travelled by road to Chapada dos Guimarães.
Shortly after this picture of an industrious ant was taken, we saw the car we'd be travelling in for the next 6 days. It was old, the guide's luggage and water bottles took up more than half the boot space and back seat, the doors wouldn't close properly and the airconditioning didn't work.
It was 40C in the sun. The air felt bone dry. We instantly had a sense of impending doom.
The Chapada waterfalls were a little smaller than those at Iguaçu.
Every other site that we had travelled 15,000km to the Chapada to see, was closed [or so we were told, though there was some dispute between the locals and our guide over this].
Luckily, there was a gorgeous lookout with a beautiful sunset at the end of the day.
We stayed in the little town there.
The pousada had a frightening set of rules.
But the ladies who ran it turned out to be lovely.
That night, unexpectedly, it rained very heavily.
Since the doors couldn't close properly, the car flooded and we spent the next few days sitting on plastic bags so our bums wouldn't get soggy. We promptly forgot how to be tranquilo and started to squabble.
Did I mention that the guided tour for this part of the trip cost USD290 a person, a day? I don't know what I expected for that princely sum. Maybe a car that worked would have been nice.
I won't name names here, but if you're planning a trip to this part of Brazil and would like a report, you only have to ask.
Our next stop was Nobres.
It took a few hours of bouncing on unsignposted dirt tracks to get there.
Which is when we discovered the suspension in the car was gone as well. "It's part of the adventure!" our guide assured us, as our heads tried to dislocate from our cervical bones.
In Nobres, we went snorkelling with fishies in pools of crystal clear water.
It was gorgeous and I wanted to eat the big fat fish. Fortunately for them, they were all protected.
Sadly, the caves that we had travelled there to see were also closed.
This horse belonged to the pousada where we stayed. Hands up if you think he's a bit skinny.
Strangely, the owner didn't think so.
We tried giving the horse an apple but he wouldn't eat it. We were told he only eats grass and corn.
Lagoa das Araras [Macaw Lake] in the small town of Bom Jardim was lovely, even if we didn't see too many macaws.
We knew we'd arrived when we saw these exciting road signs!
Sometimes, we even saw the animals depicted on the signs.
One night, we went on a safari! We didn't get too far because the search light wiring caught fire and we had to make a mad dash out of the [old, cramped, soggy, musty, smoking] car.
The Pantanal looked nothing like any picture I'd ever seen of it.
Being dry season, this is what the Pantanal looked like when we were there.
Though it didn't look anything like the wetlands of my childhood geography books and imagination, it was beautiful in its own way.We tried some native fruits, which were about as delicious as they look.
This is Jaca. He worked at the lodge where we stayed and was the highlight of our time in the Pantanal.
Besides having amazing eyesight that could spot an iguana on a tree on the riverbank from the boat, he had some neat party tricks.
It was horribly touristy and we loved every minute of it. I tried to forget that I had called the tourists who fed the coatis at Iguaçu stupid.
We caught a bucket of piranhas and brought them back to the lodge where they made yummy sopa de piranha for us. The Other Half drank 2 bowls of it. We found out later it was an aphrodisiac. [Please take your mind out of the gutter - we were told that.]
On our last day in the Pantanal, we went riding. It was our last chance to find a tamandua. Look at the great saddle on the horse!
I think it's homemade, don't you?
We saw a lot of anthills.
But not a single giant anteater.
I was very glad when it was time to leave our old, cramped, soggy, musty, singed car with no suspension, bad airconditioning and doors that wouldn't close properly......and move on to the Amazon.