Farewell to the Pantanal

During the night I had taken the decision to stay too, one more day in the Pantanal was tempting and I felt it wasn't nice to abandon my travel companions on their own. Julinho had organized a pick-up at 6 a.m. the next morning, his sister would take the Bafico's to Cuiabà and leave me in Poconé on the way.

photo: Gianluigi Bafico
After breakfast we say goodbye to him, he has another tourist arriving tomorrow morning in Cuiabà. He gives me some tips on what to do with my folks during the day and says: Now you're in charge, do a good job, and leaves.

We set off for our morning hike, on a trail he had described to me yesterday at night that leads to the Piuval lagoon. It's a beautiful sunny day but it feels quite strange to be suddenly without him. 
 
We stop at an Owl's nest (J. had described the tree and the location to me) were a female Owl is caring for her chicks.
In the beginning we coast a  mud road that crosses the fields, a few trucks pass by, greeting us.
After a while we enter an acurizal. It's quite dark between the palms and we meet again thousands of leaf-cutter ants busy in building their green roads. Enrica is slightly worried about loosing our way, but its not so difficult, you only have to follow the light. Well, in fact where we get out it doesn't look like where we got in...but I'm confident that we will find our way.

We see a Toucan and two Hyacinth Macaws flying far away. A monkey with his little one on his back and some coatis.

Leaving the acurizal we enter an open field with very uneven muddy ground and cross a cattle herd. A big tree gives us some refreshment from the burning sun. Aldo suddenly accuses belly-ache and decides to run back to the pousada. His parents explain to me that probably it's not food related, he is nervous because after the Brazil trip he is starting university in a (for Italian customs) far away town, well it's his first time away from home alone...



We continue for a while, Gian walks in silence while Enrica is in a chattery mood. She tells me that Gian always gets kind of silent and depressed when he thinks of going home...it's the same for me, but I try to pay attention to her conversation while secretly looking around and trying to get the most of our beautiful surroundings.


Back at the pousada Enrica and Gian go looking after Aldo. In the meanwhile I talk to Rosario, the manager at Piuval, about what we can do in the afternoon. We would have liked to take a last boat trip on the lagoon, but unfortunately there are no boats available. Instead she offers me one of their guides to make another hike on a trail  we haven't done and we accept.

Aldo is better and joins me at the pool. To our disappointment it's restricted, Rosario explains that they have put a chemical substance in the water to clean it but the pump has broken. Someone has taken it to the next city to get it fixed, but she didn't know how long it could take.
I stay until lunch, writing down some notes and enjoying the sun. Luckily the cold shower is working and helps me not to melt down. 


After lunch with Enrica and Aldo we try to write down a list of the birds we have seen during our trip, partly in English, in Italian and Portuguese, looking at the guide books they've brought. Aldo has a phenomenal memory, the privilege of youth...
After a while Enrica leaves us for their cool room and misses a funny scene. A big group of horses suddenly enters the pousada's yard and starts grazing undisturbed on the lawn, for the amusement of a group of German newcomers. As they've arrived they leave again, free to do as they like. Lucky guys...

At 4.30 p.m. we are picked up by Messias, a 24 years old guide. I introduce him to my travel buddies and explain to him why we are here on our own, but Julinho has already instructed him, leaving nothing to chance. Present even when absent...that's what I call a great guide.
He walks at a faster pace than we are used to and I try to keep up with him while keeping an eye on Gian who has a talent for staying behind enchanted by some small creature or flower. Messias is very talkative, of course one of his first questions is if I'm married...funny, on my travels I always meet people who are astonished at the fact I'm not! He is not married and says he has given up long ago the search for his second half..hoho...at 24.. when I tell him my age he just doesn't want to believe it. 
He doesn't speak English so I have to translate everything he says even to Aldo, but he's trying to study it a little bit. 
At my question about what he does in the wet season he answers that it's his favourite and that the surroundings of Piuval are at their utmost beauty then. 

In midst of the conversation he stops and points to a fallen branch on the floor, a green Bothrops Jararaca, a venomous snake. Aldo who is near us get's a glimpse of it slithering away, Enrica and Gian don't, they are too far away. Messias seems less courageous than Julinho, he holds a secure distance...but is evidently happy and proud about the sighting.

We arrive at a clearing with a water pond where a beautiful Jabiru stork is flying rounds above our heads. Messias collects a white feather and gives it to me...I wonder how I'll manage to get it into my small luggage. He tells us that the storks always stop at that  pond, we wait for some time but he doesn't come back so we follow our footsteps back to the pousada, passing through one of the endless fields propped with termite mounds. On the ground Messias  shows us some quite big elevations: they are home to enormous earthworms, that are used as fishing-bait by the Pantaneiros. 
They cut them to pieces...must be quiet gruesome.
Back at the pousada we say goodbye and thank you to Messias and have a last stroll around, before going to pack our luggage.
Walter, the other guide, reaches us near the pool to say farewell too.
It doesn't seem possible to us that we will be in the city again tomorrow, the Bafico's in cold Italy and I in Poconé, at least I have a stopover for decompression.


After dinner I make agreements with  Rosario on our early check-out, she isn't sure if we will make it for breakfast, because it is served at 7 a.m. and we're leaving at 6.30.

Last night, I stay awake in the hammock on the small veranda in front of my room for a long time, gazing at the wonderful sky already sick with saudade of this unspoilt corner of paradise.










4 comments:

  1. Sounds like a lot of fun...someday we'll make it there. Thanks for sharing your adventures and pics!!

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  2. Thanks to you for reading! I hope you'll make it, if you need any help don't hesitate contacting me for any infos.

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  3. Hi, your blog is very interesting! me and my friend are planning on going to Brazil and the pantanal for 8 weeks in September, we are planning it now! If you have any important pieces of advise we would greatly appreciate it :) x

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  4. I'll be glad to help out with any info you need, feel free to PM me also at somewhereinbrazil[at]gmail.com.
    It's wise to plan ahead because having an excellent guide as Julinho will give you just another kind of travel experience. It's really worth the money you pay and the time you spend planning!

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