Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did.
So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. --- Mark Twain

Friday, December 14, 2012

Pantanal and Transpantaneira

Day 664,
73 798 km. since the beginning of the journey.


Pantanal is waiting ahead. Pantanal is considered to be the world's largest wetland area of 140 to 195 thousand km2 and extending to three countries - most of it is in Brazil and a part reaches to Bolivia and Paraguay. Pantanal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The following map is also from wikipedia.
Transpantaneira is the road in the northern region of Pantanal

Transpantaneira, also known as MT-060, is a road that crosses the pantanal, in the state of Mato Grosso in Brazil. The road is a link between the city of Poconé and the place of Porto Jofre. It's 147 km long and crosses no less than 122 wooden bridges. (Wikipedia)

The road was supposed to pass through Pantanal, beginning from Pocone and ending in Corumba, the length of the planned road was to cover 397 miles and the reconstruction started from north to south. But the plan was abandoned as during four years only the 147 miles were completed and Porto Jofre was reached.

The result - "Highway with the most bridges in the world " - belongs to the Guinness book of Records.

And so it was. First, there was a large wooden gate, and further on a red dusty road took southwards. It had not been raining for the last few days although the rainy period had begun a month ago. And the road was drivable, never mind that some parts were like going up and down the stairs.

The wooden bridges seemed perfectly nice although not exactly new. Some were stronger and some weaker but all of them withstood the bus.
One of the first bridges - in the beginning I stopped the bus and walked across the bridge to have a closer look at the condition and strength of it, however, after the tenth stop I had the feeling that so it did not make any sense and I would never reach the place. Of course – there was no hurry – but anyway – if checking of a bridge will take three minutes ( stopping the car, walking over the bridge and back and then driving slowly over the bridge) then – simple math gives for the required - 3x122 = 366 minutes or 6 hours only for bridge- crossings. Plus almost 150 miles of road. Better spend more time for taking pictures of the roadside wildlife. The bridge does not run away or fly away, as the brave soldier Šveik has already mentioned it (or perhaps that was for railway stations).






Lower down alligators were waiting mouths open.


Loose boards are not the only problem, in some places nails without heads caught the eye. Blunt-ended, yes, but could break the tire while driving over. And the tire-changing would be not a pleasant job with alligators around.




The remains of an alligator on the road.


The remnants of someone else. I did not have a closer look as the smell was not inviting to go closer, - that it politely expressed.



It is already Porto Jofre and the road ended here.

On the left this is not a pasture, but an aerodrome of a hotel. When the planes are landing and taking off the cows are driven away for a moment. The campsite is located on the other side. I am once again the only visitor here.

A stopover in the shelter of a mango tree. The mangos were perfectly ripe, just take and try them.

Two Hyacinth Macawds in a tree.


The next visitor came a number of times to knock at the side mirror.

The sunset. I was hoping that now it gets a little cooler, but no luck.

Outside it was some + 35 degrees and maybe even more, so that at first the idea to sleep outside in the hammock crossed my mind. The posts for attaching the hammock were available, there was a roof over the head, because you never know when it will begin to rain again. And a light bulb in the ceiling as well - just to read something useful before going asleep. So that at first glance - not bad at all! The ground was full of small ants, but they were not very aggressive.

After dark an electric generator was put to work, and then life went on and then invited by the light quite a many hungry mosquitoes (as there would have been only a few before) and other larger- winged insects flew over. The mosquito net was meant to help, but somehow in a short time both sides of the net were covered with mosquitoes. I used all sorts of mosquito repellents, sprays and creams - but these were not much help. Anyway, after half an hour`s struggle alternatively in light and in the dark I gave up sleeping outside, cleaned my net from mosquitoes and other bigger and smaller insects and moved to sleep in my bus. Side doors and rear door were left wide open, of course, so that fresh air could flow around.
Shortly before sunrise.

The air is so humid that all the clothes, washed at night and put to dry , were still wet.

Another macaw in his home environment.

Transpantaneira - just before another major rainfall, as it is currently still the rainy season.

"This is Brazil !"

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