Ciarán & Elaine's Travelog

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Pantanal day 1

The first day of our Pantanal trip begins today. We`ve been hearing lots of stories about Puma`s getting into the campsite last week so we`re quite excited to get going.

We start off in a little mini bus which takes us 4 hours into the middle of nowhere. During this time there`s a bit of an argy bargy over seats between some German`s and an English couple and we decide straight away that that the English couple (Lin & Dom) are our kind of people.

After 4 hours on the mini bus we swap over to a 4x4 truck and get talking to Lin & Dom over a beer on the back of the truck. We meet our guide, Carlos, who is a really cool guy. Very "Indiana Jones meets Mick Dundee" . We say goodbye to civilisation and head off on another 4 hour drive up a (very) bumpy dirt track.

Along the way Carlos gets the driver to stop many times to show us alligators, cappibarra (huge rodents), tucan`s and a giant anteater which was really cool.

Eventually the sun sets and darkness falls. The sound of the jungle in the dark was amazing as all the animals ventured out. At one stage a firefly got caught inside Ciaran`s t-shirt which made his sleeve glow red and green - looked really cool. So there we are, literally hundreds of miles from any sort of civilisation, bumping along on the back of an open truck, swallowing flies when we realise that our driver seems to be going around in circles. It`s pitch black outside and we`re driving through jungle and it`s starting to feel just a little bit like everything`s not going to plan....

After about an hour or so of circling the driver makes a breakthrough (well what really happened is Carlos our guide had fallen asleep and the driver had gotten lost) and before we know it we`ve arrived at our camp.

The camp consists of three big mosquito net huts with about 20 hammocks lined up side by side in each. A dining hut. A shower and toilet block and campfire. There`s a light in the toilets and a light in the hammock hut but apart from that it`s black dark. Not to worry though cause clever people that we are, we bought two torches that morning.

Dinner is served and then we sit around the campfire until about 10.30 when we decide to hit the hammocks as we`ve to be up at 6am for a trek. Just as we`re brushing our teeth the lights get turned out and naturally when we try our torches neither of them are working. I suppose that`s what you get for paying about 50cent each....


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