Pantanal Adventure!

tuiuiu pantanaljacares pantanalcapybara pantanalanaconda pantanalFinally, it was my turn to go to the Pantanal.  I had missed two opportunities earlier in the year due primarily to my fractured tibia and ankle bone which rendered the journey unsafe and impractical.  So wait I did, patiently while other volunteers ventured out to see the largest wetlands in the world.  Yes, my time had come and I was ready to see if the Pantanal lived up to its reputation.  And it did, offering so much more.  I must confess that it is not for the tame at heart or those who go green at long. boat journeys.

piranha 2 pantanal

But then you may consider that to be a small price to pay when compared to spotting an alligator or two, catching a piranha for dinner, discovering birds so large you may think of Pterodactylus, and if you are lucky enough you might even get to see an anaconda.  In a nutshell, that is the Pantanal´s  wild side.

family pantanalpiranha dinner pantanalkitchen pantanalpantanalBut there is more, the human element.  I was so blessed to have spent two nights with a  local farming family whose pace and quality of life inspired me anew and resonated with my contemplative side which longs for a slower pace of life, simplicity and periods of  solitude.   On arriving,  I had joked about sleeping in a ´hede´ and to my surprised at bedtime, our hosts produced a hammock so I could sleep under the most magnificent starry sky I have ever seen.  While I consider myself to be a huge fan of nature, without doubt,  the highlight, actually that should be pluralised, the highlights of my experience in the Pantanal was the time spent with the farming community – playing guitar late into the night accompanying the host on the concertina, while throwing back rounds of  local pinga and capirinhas:  sitting around the fire at 5.30 next morning sharing in the communal cup of hot herbal mate tea;  joining in and providing music at the baptismal mass celebration of six babies; receiving the sacrament of reconciliation in this Garden of Eden;  being in fellowship with several other farming families who traveled for hours to join us in the mass celebration and festa.

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pilot pantanalflowering trees pantanalbird pantanalnarrow waterways pantanalwise old owl pantanalpiranha pantanal Yes I was genuinely surprised at how akin I felt during my short time in the Pantanal.   I look forward to my return.

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Terere

 

 

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While everyone I know in colder climes is struggling with cold, possibly freezing temperatures, I deserve little sympathy for the sweltering heat here in Campo Grande – yes my dear friends I can almost hear your thoughts.  But even the Brazilians are complaining about the heat.  Its easy to see why air conditioning is a must, if you can afford it. Shady spots under trees, awnings, just about anything that will take the scorching sun off your head, I have learned to spot in the distance and navigate in my pathway.

 

Oh another interesting experience I had in Campo Grande was terere (tay-ray-ray), a tea infusion of yerba mate.  Originally from Paraguay but popular in northeast Argentina and western Brazil, namely Mato Grosso do Sul, terere is drunk cold, sucked out from a horn cup called a guampa with a bombilla (metal straw) – looks impressive – see photo below.  Taste = bitter but refreshing on a hot day and with its caffeine  , its a good replacement for a hot coffee.   The place to be  on hot sunny afternoon in Campo Grande is Parque das Nacoes Indigenas, drinking terere.

 

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