Day 84: A Day By The River

Mon. 5th November 2012

River nicely set up for a swimIt is the night bus again tonight. Its nobody’s favourite – we are on the ‘standard’ rather than the ‘comfort’ tour and as we knew when we signed up, it would involve some overnight buses. Zaida announces in the morning that it will be a private rather than a public bus and explains that this is good news because we won’t have to change buses every 3 hours.

Before then, however, we want to make the most of our day in Bonito – especially as we were lazy yesterday and the reports of the Balneario do Sol riverpark from the folk who went yesterday were all good. As well as buying some food for a barbeque, I also needed a new pair of swimming trunks as my normal pair are in the laundry. In Spanish, I would be hunting for traje de baño, whilst a shopkeeper assures me that the Portuguese equivalent is sunga. I eventually succeed with some trunks, but I’d say that Portuguese is proving to be hard work. Although the written language is similar to Spanish, the spoken version is very different. We fall back on Spanish or English and that usually gets the job done.

How many tourists to light a barbeque?Eight of us then pile in to a minibus for the 30 minute trip out to the riverpark. Given that once we get out of town the road becomes a track, we are glad that we didn’t go for the longer trip yesterday.  Once we get there, the riverpark is very well organised. Down by the river, there are dedicated barbeque areas with brick fire pits with counter tops and sink on either side and table and seating areas in front. Apparently, yesterday being Sunday it was completely packed with each of the 16 or 20 barbeque stations (they are organised in groups of 4) full. Today there is just us and one other group.

You lookin' at me?Also in the park are some shops and restaurant along with some table-tennis tables, a volleyball pitch and a giant sized chess set. More disconcertingly, there is a red and green macaw who seems to think that he owns the place and a rhea who wanders round the park scavenging for any food left unattended. We weren’t sure whether to feed him or shoo him off – and if the latter how to do it without being on the receiving end of his beak.

Me Tarzan!Once we got the charcoal lit for the barbeque – not that easy as we didn’t have any firelighters and so had to go scrounging for some kindling – it was time to go swimming in the river while the coals get hot. It was a nice stretch of river to swim in: the water was not too cold; with some small waterfalls upstream of us, the scenery was pretty; and best of all, there was a zipline that you could take to land in the water. Lots of fun, even though Janet couldn’t be persuaded to repeat her zipline riding!

Distracted whilst eating!Sadly, the weather didn’t really cooperate (maybe it just wanted to remind us of home) and we had a few spots of rain and cloudy skies. It was also a bit of a battle getting our meat cooked (we put it down to the design of the barbeque with it having too large a gap between coals and grill). Anyway, we did get our sausages & steaks cooked and they were very tasty but we didn’t hang around too long afterwards and head back to the hotel in the middle of the afternoon.

When we get back, we are still able to grab a shower despite being checked out of the hotel, thanks to them having an arrangement with a closed down / run down hotel just along the street. Not the best shower we have ever had, but also not the worst. Given that we had a couple of hours before our bus arrives to take us to Iguassu, we thought we would spend some time trying to book a hotel in Rio. Our trip ends in just about a week (where has the time gone). This proves to be tricky – Rio is looking busy (it is a bank holiday over the weekend we are there) and places we want to stay are expensive. I wonder if we have become spoilt by having G Adventures make all the bookings for us!

Fish pedicure for anyone?At last, our maxi mini bus arrives and we all pile on board. There are nearly enough seats that we can each have a double seat. However, Janet and I are either too slow or too romantic and we end up sitting beside each other – each hoping that we will get comfortable! It gets dark soon after we head out of town and we drive into the storm that was threatened earlier. There is a terrific light show as the bus windows are lit up by sheets of lightening and the rain is torrential. We are glad not to be driving and also that the roads in Brazil are in a better state than those in Bolivia.

A few hours in, the bus stops in a small town so that the drivers can get a bite to eat. It is around 11pm and the town is absolutely dead – and we are not doing much better as we had just got off to sleep as the bus pulled in. We are soon back on the bus, pulling on all the warm clothes we have to hand (not many), pulling eye-masks down and trying to find a comfy position in the seats that are too narrow. All the while, the bus rumbles on further into Brazil and to the border with Argentina and Paraguay.

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