I’m now in Quito in Ecudor.
I did go on a Pantanal trek in Brazil. I joined up with a bunch of French people, so I had to try to remember my now 10 year old (jeez) French lessons to keep up. But fortunately they (and the guide, Aildon) could speak English in reasonable form when they really tried, so we got by.
The Pantanal was cool, but not really as I expected. The countryside looks more like England than tropical Forest – all open fields and trees etc. Of course, it’s about a million degrees there, which makes a sizeable difference, and they have about a jillion times more wildlife (which was very exciting for all the French twitchers). We went Piranhana fishing, but didn’t catch anything, which probably explains why I still can’t spell it. We also did some horse riding, which was very strange, wading through swampy marshlands. Forutnately the horses knew what they were doing, even though I didn’t, so I got away with it. It was all good fun, and many cevejas and caipirinhas were had, despite the FIVE OCLOCK starts each day! Not fun that.
Anyway, after that, I went back to Cuiaba, then flew to Sao Paulo, and then today got my flight (at 6.40AM!) to Quito. If I don’t have a serious lie-in soon, there’s every chance I’ll have some sort of psychotic episode…
Anyway, Brazil is all done with. And I have to say that, on balance, it’s all right for a visit, but I *wouldn’t* want to live there. The language is hard enough – but if you don’t say something absolutely perfectly they feign complete incomprehension. *Every* time you go to the beach you will be robbed if you bring stuff with you. And despite all their protestations of poverty, there’s very little evidence of it – mostly they seem to be a 2nd-rate country because they feel like being awkward. Didn’t find a decent bar, food sucked, Rio has a nice beach, but the city sucks, my list goes on and on. The best bit was the Pantanal trip, of which I have very little complaints – good hotels, food, friendly people. Could almost be a different country…
Maybe I’ve just not had enough sleep, but I don’t think Brazil is my cup of tea. I much prefer Peru and (so far) Ecuador – much more sociable places, which loads more charm and character.
By the way, if it makes you English feel better, it’s been pouring with rain here for hours, and I have lost my coat, so I’m all cold and wet, despite only being about a mile from the Equator. Weird eh?