Joined July 2015 Message
  • Day30

    Rio de Janeiro - 6 to 7 August 2015

    August 7, 2015 in Brazil ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    So we arrived in Rio fairly early in the morning and immediately got a taxi to our hostel. The room wasn't ready yet, so we didn't get a chance to rest...which really sucked because we both wanted a short nap since neither of us slept much/well on the bus....

    We did decide to take a city tour while waiting though.... The tour started in the afternoon and took us to a few notable Rio tourist attractions. Our first stop was the Christ statue where we fought the crowds for some pics....

    Afterwards, we drove through an area called Santa Teresa, saw a cathedral, hung out in the Lapa Steps and then went up to Sugar Loaf to see the sunset.

    The Lapa steps were pretty cool...they were created by a Chilean artist. Apparently the love of his life died and he started collecting tile from around the city. He created murals in her honor. My description doesn't do it justice....so I suggest you Google it...it really is neat...

    I don't remember much about the cathedral, but it was the weirdest church I'd ever seen...and Sugar Loaf is a peak with great views of the entire city...so we were definitely fighting crowds for pics there as well.

    We had some interesting humans on our tour...

    We had a group of obnoxious Australian girls...who ended up being extremely rude to an Argentinian couple who happened to be a few minutes late back to a checkpoint...

    We had an obnoxious English couple that thought they were special. They sat in our seat and tossed Jaime's sweater back to her...Jaime did not appreciate this maneuver. They also took more pics and took longer than anyone else.

    There was also an American. He grew up about 5 minutes from Keith in Atlanta, but he too was obnoxious....Jaime informed Keith he was being rude after Keith quickly started ignoring him. Keith did not know he was being rude, but was ok with it after this fact was brought to his attention. Keith felt like the guy was an asshat...and it turns out Keith is usually right about these things.

    After the tour, we went down to the beach and had a nice dinner. We attempted to have a repeat of the fish stew that we enjoyed with Drezza amd Patrick...unfortunately, this version wasn't nearly as good.

    We called it an early night since we were still short on sleep from our night bus and got ready for the next day.

    Our final day had us lounging on the beach enjoying cocktails and walking around the beachfront. We left for the airport in the late afternoon and after a brief haggle with the taxi driver, we caught our flight to Miami. There were no issues with our connection to Atlanta and we are currently back in the states.

    It was a good trip, though it truly was exhausting. I'm finishing this blog about 36 hours after our return and we are both still a little sleep deprived. Also, apologies if this entry isn't as entertaining...but the writer takes solace in the fact that you will get over it...

    This blog doesn't address every facet of the trip, so please email us know if you have any questions.

    We hoped you enjoyed reading about our adventure....and surprisingly, we enjoyed documenting our trip...but remember....if you learn one lesson from our trip, please let it be this...

    STAY OFF OF SOUTH AMERICAN BUSES!!!!

    Blog concluded.
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  • Day28

    Vitoria, Brazil - 4 to 5 August 2015

    August 5, 2015 in Brazil ⋅ 🌙 20 °C

    So we caught our flight from Iguassu and made our connection in Sao Paulo with no issues. We landed in Vitoria, grabbed our bags and met Jaime's friends Andrezza (Drezza) and her boyfriend Patrick (pronounced Patreeka). Jaime and Drezza had a hugging reunion and introductions were made all around.

    (The trip to Vitoria (a coastal city about 8 hours north of Rio) was made early on during our trip planning when Jaime made it clear she had a goal of visiting one of her Brazilian friends she met during her time in New Zealand. Both Jaime and Drezza were ecstatic that everyone's schedule was able to come together.)

    After we left the airport, we headed back to their apartment and dropped off our bags before heading off to a traditional Brazilian steakhouse....aka the kind of place where you eat meat until you're ready to explode...

    It was late by the time we arrived at the restaurant....about 9 o'clock at night. But the food was delicious. We had various cuts of beef, bison, pork and chicken....plus, we had a great salad bar with a bunch of seafood dishes and other sides. The highlight of the meal was Drezza insisted we have chicken hearts....apparently, she loves 'em...

    Both Keith and Jaime agree to have them and this is when the entertainment really began. It's actually a shame, because words cannot do justice to the images that resulted from Jaime eating a chicken heart....but Keith had trouble remembering the last time he laughed that hard...he's also very upset he didn't document the incident with any pics....

    So this is how it played out...

    Keith received the first chicken heart...at which time he ate it without much ceremony. He was expecting the texture and didn't give any outward signs of an opinion as he knew Jaime was watching him like a hawk....looking for any clue as to what he thought. This is most likely because Jaime was looking for a way to NOT eat a chicken heart...

    So Keith chewed and chewed...it was actually a little over cooked. Jaime asked him how it was and he gave a very informative "not bad"... or something equally noncommittal. At this point Jaime placed the chicken heart in her mouth....

    She stated it was "terrible" even before she started chewing...this was when Keith and the rest of the table started to smirk...

    Immediately thereafter, Jaime began a dry heaving extravaganza...but that didnt stop her...it merely slowed her down. She was a trooper and never gave up. She fought long and hard trying to swallow the chicken heart and she incorporated a couple different techniques in an attempt to get it down. She did the "quick chew"....in that she chewed very fast (think Bugs Bunny eating a carrot)...and she did the "hand wave"...in that she waved her hand in front of her mouth and face very quickly while she had her eyes closed tight. Her eyes watered and she finally used half a glass of red wine to finish it off...

    Her first words when she could finally speak coherently were to ask Keith why he did not tell her it was awful...

    This is when Keith really had a good laugh.... Jaime couldn't understand how Keith could keep a straight face while he ate the chicken heart. Once he stopped laughing....Keith calmly explained that he had known what to expect and that he kept his poker face on purpose because he wanted to see her reaction. An objective observer could allege that it would have been possible for Jaime to have 'appreciated' this response a little better....but since no one is perfect, we move on...

    Like I said, the dinner was awesome....the food and beverages were amazing.

    After dinner we were given a tour of the city...including the waterfront. Drezza and Patrick explained how they like to paddle outrigger canoes and Jaime was immediately making plans for her and Keith to do that the next morning.

    After our tour, we went back to their apartment and hung out on the balcony...this allowed Jaime and Drezza a chance to catch up. Stories were told and laughs were had...and drinks were consumed. Needless to say, too many drinks were consumed and the canoeing never occurred.

    The next day we woke up and were given a full breakfast....unfortunately, we were all still full from the night before. We then ran a few errands (laundry/atm) and explored the city. We saw the Vitoria government building, the cathedral and a mountain overlooking the city. Later, we had a lovely fish stew lunch (local delicacy) and then hung out at the beach. Late that afternoon we visited a convent on another mountain outside the city...the views were awesome.

    After our long day, we went back to their apartment and ordered a couple pizzas. Keith drank some beers Patrick recommended (Ashby Weiss)...and they were delicious. Jaime polished off a bottle of cabernet sauvignon...and some beer.

    It's now approximately midnight and we are on another night bus...this time to Rio de Janeiro.

    (I know, I know...you thought the buses were over....I promise, I did too...but it was cheap and the timing worked out...I promise there won't be any more lowbrow poems...)



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  • Day28

    Iguassu Falls

    August 5, 2015 in Brazil ⋅ 🌙 12 °C

    So as you could tell from the award winning poem in the previous post, the road to Iguassu was less than awesome. Not only was the ride rough, it was long. I won't rehash everything, but we thought the ride would be about 12 hours...it ended up being about 20. Needless to say, our time in Iguassu did not go as planned....

    We had originally hoped to arrive around 7 or 8 in the morning. Not sure what our driver did all night, but he didn't make much headway....because we didn't arrive till after 2 pm...

    We wanted to spend all day at the falls, but as the bus ride kept taking longer and longer, we realized that we would have to immediately go to the hostel...drop off our bags...and the rush over to the falls. Luckily for us, we got there and we were actually ready to leave before everything closed down. We got some great views and pics of the falls...

    Afterwards, we decided to use the hostel kitchen and cook our own meal. After Keith's nerves went to pieces because Jaime took too long shopping in the grocery store, we headed back to actually do some cooking.

    The hostel itself was really cool...if not a little crowded. It was called the Tetris Hostel because it was made out of old shipping containers. There were a bunch of people staying there and it seemed like everyone wanted to cook...luckily for us, we had some wine, cheese and crackers. These snacks helped Keith deal with the stress of waiting forever to eat....

    We made a roasted chicken/pasta concoction that was delicious....except for the extremely bitter 'spinach' we put in there....well, we thought it was spinach, but it wasn't....needless to say it was even more delicious after we picked out the 'spinach'...

    We went to bed shortly thereafter since it had been a long night/day and we had a plane to Vitoria to catch the next day....which went off without a hitch even though we found out at the last minute that Iguassu is one hour ahead of EST...which meant that we had to rush a little the next morning because we didn't want to miss our flight....
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  • Day25

    Bus to Iguazu Falls

    August 2, 2015 in Brazil ⋅ 🌙 20 °C

    "My Hell"

    A poem by Keith Schellack

    I'm on a night bus,
    Going to Iguazu,
    This ride is awful,
    And I really don't know what to do.

    The kids are screaming,
    This is my curse,
    I'm sitting next to the bathroom,
    So I thought I'd write this verse.

    We got last minute tickets,
    And wanted to sit next to each other,
    But the last row we got,
    I'd rather sit in another.

    Jaime is sleeping,
    As she is prone to do.
    I had an ambien,
    But I apparently needed a few.

    The engine is rattling,
    And the volume is too high,
    The way the driver shifts gears,
    Makes me wonder "WHY?!?!?"

    The Agua is back here too
    And people are coming to drink,
    They keep rubbing up against me,
    There's so many I don't have time to blink.

    A woman just changed a diaper,
    And had her daughter throw it away.
    It now smells like baby shit back here.
    Can you say "YAY!!!!!"

    She used the bus trashcan
    which is right next to me,
    We were at a rest stop when she did it
    How dumb and lazy can you be!!!

    Just walk it off the bus
    And throw it away there.
    Now I have to smell it
    This hardly seems fair.

    It already smelled like urine
    Soaked through and through,
    When will I learn to fly, not bus
    I haven't a clue.

    This bus nonsense is ridiculous
    It really needs to stop.
    I can't take this much abuse,
    I'm so tired I could drop.

    I'm trying to vent here
    And create something funny,
    So I don't go postal
    And then feel all crummy.

    I want buckets of hand sanitizer
    And maybe a bath with soap.
    If I have to pay for tickets for a bus again,
    I'll feel like such a dope.

    As a way to relax
    and maybe calm down,
    I tried to play solitaire,
    Hoping my stress level would drown.

    It worked for a while,
    Till Jaime wanted to play.
    So I sat there in disbelief,
    Not knowing what to say.

    This poem is over,
    But this ride has just begun.
    Who knows how it will turn out,
    maybe it'll be fun.

    But that's not what happened,
    That's certainly not my luck.
    I'm doing my best
    And trying to not give a 'crap'.

    I was very proud of this poem
    And wanted it for Jaime to read.
    She wasn't ready to wake up yet,
    It was a warning I did not heed.

    Now she's cranky and tired,
    And the blame is all mine.
    Had I thought for 2 seconds,
    I wouldn't have to hear the whine.

    This is how my night is going,
    But hopefully it gets better.
    Though if it doesn't,
    I may have to write another letter.

    So comrades, help me,
    Your assistance is needed.
    Give me advice,
    Though I can't promise it'll be heeded.

    I don't see a solution here
    And I'm running out of words to rhyme,
    But thankfully this ambien is starting to work,
    And just in the nick of time.

    So while this bus is my home,
    It's also my prison and personal hell.
    I'm hoping that when I wake up,
    All will be well....

    Part 2

    I just woke up,
    Not knowing where we are,
    Much to my chagrin
    We haven't made it far.

    It's 5 am
    And I didn't get much sleep.
    I had people banging into me all night,
    They didn't even try to creep.

    I'm still just sitting here
    Waiting for this hell to end.
    Arriving at Iguazu Falls
    Would allow my soul to mend.

    I don't know why this ride is taking so long,
    I wish the driver would pick up the pace,
    I just got a another wiff of excrement,
    Someone please shoot me in the face.

    Babies are crying again,
    It's only going to get worse from here,
    Who said 5 am is too early,
    For one to need a beer.

    This is the roughest ride ever,
    With holes all over the place.
    The driver is swerving to hit them all
    He is certainly no ace.

    Jaime is still sleeping,
    She slept all through the ride.
    It's nice to know it isn't as bad for her,
    Even though I wish I had died.

    The smell is constant
    And for which there is no rebuke.
    please just ignore me,
    If it looks like I might puke.

    That's enough for now,
    I think I've captured the scene.
    If Jaime makes me take another bus,
    She will certainly be mean.
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  • Day24

    Bonito - 31 July to 2 August 2015

    August 1, 2015 in Brazil ⋅ 🌬 12 °C

    This town is awesome. It's a tourist destination centered around a bunch of natural springs. The water is crystal clear and vegetation and fish are everywhere. The locals take great care to keep it natural and clean....so much so, that you can't even wear sunscreen in the water. We decided to swing by because a lot of other travelers raved about it. We also had some flexibility with our schedule...plus, the Brazilian guy at the consulate in Atlanta actually told us about it when we got our visas....so we thought, "why not???"

    So we arrive in Bonito and find accommodations...we initially tried to stay where our Russian associates from the Pantanal were staying, but that hostel was full. The guy working the desk was kind enough to call around and find us a room....Jaime fell in love with the city right then. We hadn't had that much customer service help in a while and the language barrier in Brazil is definitely harder than the previous countries. Portuguese is unlike anything we have ever heard before. It sounds like gibberish to us and we can't make it out...

    Anyway, like I said, he found us a place.....unfortunately, it was about a 25 minute walk away. So we set off with the plan of checking places on the way, since we were tired and hungry...luckily for us, we found a cool one that had what we needed (a/c, wifi, breakfast, etc). Bonus though....they spoke English. Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a winner...

    We also got a cheaper room because we scheduled our tours through them. Everything was super easy. They even helped call and schedule our follow on transportation.

    So we decided to do a cave tour in the morning and a snorkeling tour in the afternoon. There was also a winter festival going on in town, so we were excited to check that out....after we booked our tours and were settled in our room, we took the owner of the hotel's suggestion and headed to a specific restaurant. Short version - it was delicious. The area is known for fish and we got fish, local beers and Jaime got a dessert. I say Jaime got a dessert because she did not want to share it. She allowed Keith a few bites, but she criticized each fork full he got and after his second bite, decided to commandeer the whole thing. Once completely in her clutches, she ate the rest of it like a prisoner expecting someone was going to try and steal it. She was definitely guarding it from attack....it's almost like she thought she was going to go hungry. Apparently she forgot that Keith had shared the rest of the food evenly. It would appear that shared portions don't count when it comes to dessert.

    Anyway, we headed back to the room after dinner and got ready for the next day.

    The cave tour was kind of cool...we were under the impression that we'd get to walk around a cave with a crystal clear blue lake at the bottom. Instead, we walked down some stairs and looked at the lake from a platform. The whole tour was in Portuguese, so we didn't understand anything. Luckily for us we met a Brazilian guy who went to college in Hannibal, Missouri (I know....super random huh...)...

    So we made friends with him and his new wife (they were on their honeymoon) and we actually made plans to meet them for dinner later that night. The guy was also super excited about a famous Brazilian band playing later that night and he said we should check them out....so we traded contact info and went on our way....

    After our tour dropped us off at our hotel, we grabbed some lunch and got ready for our snorkeling tour. Again, the tour was in Portuguese and we didn't understand anything. There were a bunch of old guys in our group and they took turns trying to interpret for us. The tour guide would talk for 5 minutes and one of the old guys would tell us "don't stand on the bottom"...or "Stay in a single file line". I'm pretty sure we didn't get the full translation. Regardless though, they were nice guys that tried. Aside from the fact that they were atrocious swimmers and kept stirring up the bottom, they were very helpful.

    The water was incredibly clear and there were fish everywhere. I wish we had underwater pics to show the clarity, but it was the clearest water either one of us had ever seen...at least till the old Brazilian guys stirred up the bottom.

    At the end of the tour we thanked the guys for helping us and that was when he informed us that they were in a band and they were playing the festival later. They invited us to come check them out...turns out, it was the same band the guy earlier had talked about. Apparently they are a big deal in Brazil, but we had never heard of them and even now, we have no idea who they are...oh well...

    So we got done with the tour and made plans to go to dinner with the couple we met earlier in the day.

    As an aside, Keith had not shaved his face for about a month...and both he and Jaime thought that enough was enough...his face is now freshly shorn.

    So we met the couple at the festival and had a delicious dinner. It's amazing how much better an experience can be when you know the language...or you know someone who does....

    We ended up buying their dinner as a way to say thank you for helping us. We were also joined at dinner by the owner of our hotel and his girlfriend. Drinks and a good time were had by all....too many drinks actually....

    Keith woke up with a headache and the 'grumpy muffin' moniker returned. As another aside...it really is a terrible name that should be banned and never repeated. And trust me...there's no bias on the writer's part at all...

    Alas though, our time in Bonito has come to an end. We are now sitting in the Campo Grande bus station waiting for an all night bus to Iguazu Falls....should be fun....

    Note - you may notice that we haven't posted pics in a while...I'm not sure why, but for some reason they won't load. We'll keep trying....but just use your imagination for now.
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  • Day22

    The Pantanal - 28 to 31 July 2015

    July 30, 2015 in Brazil ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    For those that don't know, the Pantanal is a vast wetland/savanna area in Brazil near the borders of Bolivia and Paraguay. We elected to go here instead of the Amazon because we heard that there were more wildlife sightings here...mainly because the vegetation in the Amazon is a lot thicker...

    Day 1 (28 July)

    So after we coordinated with the tour and ran the errands mentioned in the previous post, we headed out to the Pantanal. We rode with the owner of the tour company and a Bulgarian - Canadian named Vincent.

    The first day of the tour consisted of us riding out to the Lodge in a truck and having to stop and take a ferry across the Paraguay river. Frequent readers will know that Jaime spent her time making friends with the mangiest of dogs. There was also a piglet she tried to befriend...

    Anyway, as we were driving out to the lodge, we saw multiple cayman, capivare (spelling?), birds, lizards and probably some other animals I don't remember. Also, a capivare is huge South American rodent...just think of the 'rodents of unusual size' from Princess Bride....most were actually bigger than Jaime's dog Sierra....if that tells you anything.
    As we were waiting on dinner, we got to chat with an older Korean gentleman. He was traveling by himself and his English was not very good. He was very impressed by Jaime and gave her the Korean name 'Lena'...which apparently means 'beautiful' in Chinese. Needless to say, Jaime liked him immensely. He nicknamed Keith Yong sun...which he said meant 'clever' in Korean. Keith thinks this claim dubious and is probably the Korean equivalent of 'asshat'. Jaime and Keith nicknamed him Sawyer, as he wanted an American nickname. He liked Sawyer and since Jaime and Keith are both Mark Twain fans, they thought it appropriate. (As an aside, it turns out Keith is the Mark Twain fan as Jaime just has a few books on display to make her 'look smart'...)

    After dinner we went on a night safari. A 'night safari' is a fancy way of saying 'we sat in the back of a truck and spotlighted animals with a massive flashlight'. Keith's friends and family are likely familiar with this technique. Jaime's friends and family may not be as familiar. Keith thinks that it's nice that redneck activities are popular all over the world.

    Day 2 (29 July)

    So we woke up on day 2 and went on a river tour....we traveled up one of the local rivers and saw cayman and other animals....mostly birds though. After about 45 minutes we stopped and drifted downstream for a bit. While we drifted, we did some piranha fishing.

    In our boat we had two Koreans, Vincent, ourselves, and our two Brazilian guides. The fishing contest that ensued was won by the Brazilians...it was not even close. I think they caught 7 or 8. The American contingent was 2nd overall with 3....and to be completely fair, the American success was entirely attributable to the efforts of Miss Jaime Parker. Keith caught nothing. Had this been prehistoric times, Jaime would have been the hunter and Keith would have been sent off to pick berries or nurse the babies...it was also very nice of Jaime to make sure Keith knew who caught the fish. Keith would have probably forgotten about his poor luck and atrocious fishing skill, but Jaime was kind enough to keep him reminded....

    When we came back from lunch, we found out our next activity wasn't until 3...so we had time for a siesta. At some point during our snooze fest, the power went out...and with it our air conditioning unit. Jaime was less than thrilled. Keith is pretty sure the only reason Jaime eventually stopped mentioning the fishing statistics was because her focus (wrath) was focused elsewhere....namely on Paolo, the manager of the establishment.

    As far as customer service skills, Paolo had none. He also did not enjoy questions of any type, though especially from women. When Keith asked him a question, he got a round about answer that didn't address the query. When Jaime asked a question, she was told she needed to calm down and that he didn't work for the electric company. For the record, Jaime just asked for an update about the electricity.

    The convo went very much like this....

    Jaime - "so do you have an update on the electricity?" (And to be clear, she didn't even say it with an attitude....like the way she talks to Keith when she thinks she is just asking a normal question)...

    Paolo - "Amiga! No need to get angry...I no work for the company"

    (Keith's inner thoughts - "oh you poor bastard...you have no idea...you think you do, but you really don't. That wasn't an attitude. I know about the attitude you're about to get and I'm so glad it's going to be directed at someone else....best day ever. Ring side seats and everything....)

    I don't have direct quotes from what Jaime said, but she made sure that Paolo knew he did not answer her question. Jaime also made sure Paolo knew she did not appreciate his tone....and she repeated her question in a very condescending way. Paolo answered the question and was nice the rest of the trip...and by nice, I mean that he avoided us as much as possible....(except when it was time to load our stuff to leave...he couldn't get us out of there fast enough.)

    But enough about that...

    In the afternoon we went 'trekking'...this is the term non-Americans use for hiking/walking. We walked through a lot of standing water in the search of animals. We mainly saw cows, but we saw a bunch of birds and some howler monkeys. It was crazy hot outside and the mosquitoes were abundant. At one point we walked through standing water that was chest high. It was at this point that Jaime asked Keith to take a picture. Mind you....Keith was already carrying both pairs of shoes, the water, and Jaime's backpack. He was holding all of these things above the water so they wouldn't get wet. Keith politely informed Jaime that it was a terrible idea to get one of their smart phones out and that it was just asking for trouble....Jaime grew frustrated with Keith's lack of additional hands and had Vincent take their picture.

    We had a cold shower when we got back and had a lovely dinner with an Italian couple and Vincent.

    Day 3 (30 July)

    Day 3 consisted of another trek, though this one was much longer and because it was earlier in the day, it was cooler with less mosquitoes. We ended up walking about 7.5 miles and saw more monkeys, birds and some native pigs. Jaime started to get tired at one point...Keith was aware of this point because Jaime started tripping on sticks and not watching where she was going. The comments about the heat and how she was 'over it', also served as important clues. Her constant tripping eventually led to a couple scratches. When the wading in water resumed, Jaime began reciting segments from her microbiology studies. Keith learned a lot during this period as the lessons Jaime shared were repeated often.

    After lunch, we went horseback riding with a group of Russian English teachers. We were told to be ready at 1...and we were. Much to his immense joy, we actually got on the horses at 3...the experience was fun, though the trotting was not good for Keith's back, or for Jaime's neck, which she had irritated earlier in the trip.

    At one point, Keith's sunglasses fell off and he had to maneuver his horse back down the trail to get them. Jaime was under the impression that his horse was taking him in the wrong direction, but his horsemanship skills became readily apparent after he grabbed his glasses and came galloping back across the prairie. Had he been wearing a cowboy hat instead of a plastic hardhat, he would have looked impressive. Unfortunately, the plastic hardhat is incapable of making someone look impressive....so, instead, he continued to look like what goober....

    That night, we had our best Brazilian meal yet. The best dish was a chicken concoction served over crispy hash browns. It was delicious. We also dined with a French couple. They had all sorts of questions about American politics and our view of the world. They also asked Jaime a lot of personal questions...Jaime was quite pleased since she loves when she is the subject of the conversation.

    Day 4 (31 July)

    Our last day had us fishing for piranhas in the lake by the lodge. We each caught 4 fish so Keith was able to redeem himself a little. Jaime was kind enough patronize him (just a little) and let him know how proud she was of his 'cute, little fish'....

    After fishing, we went back and relaxed before lunch. We left after lunch and rode in the back of a truck for about an hour and a half at which point we got another shuttle to Bonito....we actually spent a lot of time in the back of trucks in the Pantanal. Keith enjoyed riding in the back of trucks going too fast down bumpy gravel roads. Jaime enjoyed it to a point...Then her safety concerns kicked in...

    We're now in Bonito and are having a great time....more on that later.
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  • Day20

    Santa Cruz to Campo Grande - 27 -28 July

    July 28, 2015 in Brazil ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    "Sometimes people are just @$$ holes" - Keith Schellack

    "I wish I could go back and punch that guy in the face" - Jaime Parker

    So the plan changed a little...we were supposed to take a bus from Santa Cruz to the border, then continue on to Campo Grande....that was where we were going to start the Pantanal tour that we hadn't booked yet...

    Instead, we got to a bus stop in the middle of nowhere and were told we had to take a taxi to the border. In truth, 'we' weren't told anything. Jaime made friends with a trilingual (English, Spanish and Portuguese) young lady. She's the one who informed us of our fate... Jaime also made sure she adopted us...

    With her help, we were able to get to the border and clear immigration. We had already gotten the visa so everything was super easy. Well, everything aside from our transportation to Campo Grande that is...

    We eventually got tix to Campo Grande, but they left a few hours after we were initially told. This prompted the above quotes....this is in addition to us paying more for a nicer bus, then sitting on a less nice bus. All in all, the guy who sold us the tickets was an arse who apparently deserved a punch in the face.

    Because we're so good at making lemonade out of lemons though, we decide to hop in a car with some random Portuguese speaking Brazilians at the border and go to their tour company. It turns out we were already right outside the Pantanal, so it didn't make sense to go to Campo Grande and then have to double back...

    We got them to take us to the bank (so we could pay), the grocery store (so we had wine), and the Internet cafe (so Jaime could at least touch base with her mom before we left for a no wifi zone)...

    Anyway, I'll leave the details of the Pantanal for the next post....
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