Je bekijkt de reis...
Reisverslag Travelao in the sauna
9 januari 2016
Travelao in the sauna
After we got to know that the armadillo lives in the pantanal (and many many other interesting animals), we decided to go searching for this weird animal in Brazil. We arrived at a ranch in the middle of nowhere. There were only 4 other guests, because it's not advisable to visit the pantanal in this period of time (extreme heat and lots of rain). But the Pantanal lived up to its reputation. We saw a lot of animals (capibaras, deer, aguti, nandus, caimans, macaws, monkeys, etc), but unfortunately no armadillo. It was really weird to see these exotic jungle animals in the same meadow as the cows and horses.
One of the nicest animal encounters was with the hyacinth macaws who were sitting in a tree 2m from us and who were chatting with another couple of macaws in a tree 15m away. It really seemed like they were discussing the gossip of the area, responding to each other.
We didn't get to meet all pantanal animals, like the giant anteater, but thanks to the cameratraps of the Danish tourists (who were semi-professional photographers), we know that these animals were closeby as well.
For christmas we went to Bonito, the fresh water snorkling capital of Brazil. A real tourist destination, but far away from the gringo trail. Almost all our fellow travellers were Brasilians. And because Brasilians are probably the most friendly and open people we met during our trip, we had more than enough opportunities to practice our Sportugues. We were also impressed by their amazing waiting skills (how would you react if someone tells you that your excursion starts at 8:00 instead of 10:30, and then you have to wait 2,5 hours because other people have a morning tour and they just didn't want to organize 2 buses? We would be irritated, but the Brazilian girl who had to wait was very relaxed and commented: "I'm on holiday so I've got time :))
The most important activity in Bonito is floating in clear rivers, which is very relaxed. We tried to find an anaconda underwater, but we only found a caiman... And the snorkling lesson was interersting (we did know how to put on a mask before ;)) the only difficult thing with these rivertours is that you're not allowed to put on sunscreen or insect repellent, because it will polute the water...but we survived pretty well.
Besides the snorkling we visited the buraco de las araras. A giant sinkhole home to more than 100 red macaws. Though most macaws were gone (because it wasn't breeding season) it was still impressive to see these beautiful red birds fly over the sinkhole. 20 years ago there were just 12 macaws in the area (due to poaching), and since they made it a reserve the birds are doing better and better. This is one of the positive stories we heard. The numbers of wildlife in the pantanal are also increasing.
Because we didn't find armadillos (nor anacondas or jaguars) during our first pantanal trip we returned to another ranch in the pantanal. According to the Danish this was the place to see giant anteaters and ocelots. It was quite a different place than the first ranche - extremely touristy (90 people a day was pretty normal) and the animal search was mostly in large trucks. And since the rains had begun there already a few weeks ago, we know why it's not really advisable to visit the pantanal on these months... The mosquitos were extremely agressive and big (imagine being in the swimming pool and then being bitten several times on your forehead, because it's the only exposed spot they can bite), and we were bitten so many times that Loes had to take a medicin to minimize the swollen bites. And apart from the mosquitos, the heat combined with the moisture made the atmosphere very thick and it felt like being in a sauna all the time. Luckily we had aircon in our room :)
And unless all this hardship, our visit was very rewarding! The sight of the giant anteater wobbling away in a meadow makes you forget the heat and mosquitos - and we saw more than one! And during the nightsafari we saw several (!) ocelots and an anaconda up close! Not to mention the less sought, but nice animals like hawks, deer, alligators, owls, nandous and macaws.
After 10 days in Brazil, we automatically said nao instead of no and animais instead of animales, so we needed to return to the Spanish speaking world. Our new year's eve we spend in Bonito again, where we ate the local oliebol (churros), we saw the sponsors of the event on a big tv-screen 4x, and where we eventually were surprised with very impressive fireworks! To not spoil the picture, we won't mention the lack of taxis ;)
We planned to spend a week in Paraguay to help at an ecological reserve. But just before arriving we received a text message that the road was flooded and we could not arrive at the reserve. The weather forecast was more rain for the coming days, so we traveled on to Asuncion (the capital of Paraguay).
After one day there we were completely fed up with the heat (even worse than in the pantanal!) and the not so open Paraguenos, so we booked the 16 hours bus to Buenos Aires. On our last night in Asuncion, a superb open air music festival changed our view of Paraguay in a positive way (and it was an interesting experience to listen to good music in the streets and sweating from the heat at 23:00).
It's pretty common when a bus needs more time to reach it's destination. But 16 turning into 22 is even here a rarity. This is how the bus companies and bus drivers make this happen:
- all buses leave at the same time so they arrive at the border at the same time. This means very long cues at immigration and an opportunity for the drivers to chat. Unfortunately we were last in line.
- when the drivers need to pee they don't use the onboard toilet because it's too dirty. So they park the bus in the mud beside the highway. And then everybody needs to wait for a truck to rescue the bus (it got stuck...)
- the last 3 hours were just normal delay.
Anyway we arrived in Buenos Aires somewhere the next day.
Generaly travelling is hard if you are not a morning person. Tours start before dawn and boats leave at 6:00 am. Buenos Aires is a diferent story. Somehow this city is made for Loes and other people that like to sleep in. Tours start at 11:00 am and dinner is never before 21:00. And talking about dinner... we ate more meat than normally in 2 months. Small portions start at 450 grams, but the taste is delicious!
Another thing you expect when you go to Buenos Aires is to see people dancing tango everywhere. The average Porteno doesn't dance tango (just as we dutchies don't dance 'de klompendans'), but we saw a lot of tango dancers in touristy areas. We tried it ourselves and visited a spectacular show. But especially the grumpy facial expressiones were hard to master for us.
To lose the extra calories from the meat (and wine :)), we walked and biked a lot around the city. Our hostel offered walking tours which gave us an interesting insight in the history and present of Argentina. Loes couldn't help noticing the excelent presentation skills, like questioning, cliffhangers and a lot of hand gestures :) And after two months travel we miss our bicycles so it was nice to cross the city by bike.
Now we are waiting on another bordercrossing (2 hours and counting...) to Chile. The last few days we spend wine-tasting in Mendoza (Yvonne, this is the wine-capital!), of which we don't remember a lot :-p
We will rent a car to cross Chile; the plan is go south to Chiloe and then back to Santiago before flying to the Galapagos. But of course these plans can change :)
Loes & Erno
Ps: for the detailed reader - we didn't find the armadillo in the pantanal, but we saw one crossing the streets just outside of Bonito :):):):)
Foto's bij verslag (36)
Video's bij verslag (1)
11 januari 2016 10:19 | Door: Richard
Mooie foto's weer! Erg tof hoeveel dieren jullie spotten. Enneh... lovely Crocs ;-)
11 januari 2016 10:57 | Door: Bauke
Coole waterpolofoto (Loes bij zwembad met gele bal). De rest vind ik maar niks :-)
14 januari 2016 12:27 | Door: Mayo
Hi Loes & Erno,
Wat een heerlijke verhalen over jullie reis, ga zo door en nog veel plezier!
Ik hoop dat er toch nog een foto van een reuzenmiereneter komt want dat is mijn lievelingsdier!!
Mayo (@ Exact)
14 januari 2016 17:41 | Door: Gerrit en Jannie
Lieve Loes en Erno,
Weer genoten van de prachtige foto's en mooie verhalen. Jullie hebben heel wat moeten doorstaan, maar daardoor ook veel beleefd en gezien. Lekker even bijkomen in Argentinië. We zijn benieuwd naar jullie volgende belevenissen.
16 januari 2016 12:59 | Door: Manon de Vries
Leuk om te lezen zeg! En ik ben zo'n fan van capibaras! Heb ze ook wel in Peru gezien. Ken je deze al? ;) https://youtu.be/3ajPsmbcba8
18 januari 2016 09:42 | Door: Mayo
18 januari 2016 10:27 | Door: Jaap
Leuk om te lezen! Wat maken jullie veel mee zeg!
Wat me vooral opvalt is dat jullie leren omgaan met wat we in nederland als "afzien" zouden beschouwen. Loes, die lachend op een musquito foto staat??
En hoezo vinden jullie het normaal om tussen de krokodillen te zwemmen?
19 januari 2016 08:58 | Door: jennifer
Ik snap dus niet zo goed hoe die miereneter werkt.. Is ie 2 koppig of 5 potig?
Sterkte daar met het warme weer en de muggen...
20 januari 2016 12:03 | Door: Aimee
Super cool ant eater. Love your stories. Thanks for sharing xoxo