Back to South America part 3: Brazil

Getting to the Bolivian – Brazilian border is one thing. Crossing it is a completely different thing. Although I took a night bus and arrived quite early at 7 in the morning, there was already a tremendous line on the Bolivian site to get the official stamp of leaving the country. The problem was, that almost all buses from different companies arrived at the same time or earlier. After 3 hours of img_20180920_1000110.jpgwaiting in the line under a higher and higher rising sun (and without any kind of roof or shade) it was finally my turn and three seconds later I had a stamp in my passport and could continue – to the Brazilian side with the Brazilian immigration procedure. And also here, the queue was not advancing at all. The reason could be discovered two hours later, when it was finally my turn. A totally relaxed officer was alone in charge of doing the immigration procedure, and the Bolivian passports were controlled in a very rigorous way. Me in turn, I got my stamp kind of immediately.

The first nights I spend in the Hostel Road Riders at Corumba, close to the boarder. It was the perfect place to get prepared to Brazil, getting more and more into Portuguese and the Brazilian vibes, also thank to the great atmosphere, that the owner Diego created DSC08490along the guests.  After some days of “acclimatisation”, my next destination was the Pantanal region, the world largest tropical wetland area. During the rainy season it is almost completely flooded, while in the dry season there are huge rivers, pools and swamps, with a huge diversity of different animal species to admire. I booked a three-day tour and together with our guide and a group from Belgium we discovered the region: boat trips, piranha-fishing, bird-watching, swimming in the river (Piranhas don’t like clear waters, so that was our place to swim), swamp-hikes (with water up to the belly) and night-walks and a trip on a horse.

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After the Pantanal region, I continued my journey to a small city called Bonito, which is known in whole Brazil for its wonderful natural attractions. Due to them, the whole city basically consists of hotels and touring companies where you could book the different tours. I decided to do some snorkelling in a river with crystal clear water. The starting point of the tour was the source of the river, where the water flushed out of the ground. Than you basically had to do… nothing! The soft current of the river was slowly pushing you forward, while you were floating on the top, admiring the life below the surface. When lifting the head, you could also admire the jungle around, with its thousand voices and evergreen vegetation. It even started raining, which made everything even more special.

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Everywhere I went so far, I always got in contact with people from Brazil, who so much amazed me with their way of being, their openness and interest to talk.

After so much nature, I wanted to see some cities and took a bus to Goiania, which is quite in the centre of the country. Over couchsurfing I found Claudio, who offered me to stay some days at his apartment. He showed me around in the city, and we visited many of his friends and family going out to bars and had a great time. I also got to now other Brazilian couchsurfers (the community is active there), one of them, Maressa, even spontaneously joined me on my journey some days later. The time I was in Brazil was the time of elections of the new president and the topic was prevalent in every discussion. Fernando Haddad or Jair Bolsonaro. I met and talked with both, supporters of the left and supporters of the right-wing candidate about their hopes and fears. Many Haddad supporters were deeply afraid of how Brazil will turn with Bolsonaro, while Bolsonaro supporters were most often fed-up with the high degree of corruption and the economic crisis during the past years of the left-wing government. They just wanted a change, no matter who brings it.

After some days in Goiania, my journey continued to Pirenopolis, where I found a nice hostel (I was the only guest, however, the owner Ruben took good care of me) and could discover many waterfalls in the region. On the way to get there, we found lots of Caju-trees on the streets: Cashew nuts! The nut though, is just the lower part of the whole DSC08604fruit, which has a sweet-sour taste and is very delicious. After some days of visiting waterfalls and hiking, my next station was Corumba de Goiania. Here again, I found a host on couchsurfing and entering his car when he picked me up from the bus station I was kind of shocked for a moment. He was carrying a gun. But after a while of talking it turned out he was one of the police men in the little town (that of course made everyone know him), even if in the next days he drove around after many drinks, never used the security belt and was constantly talking on the phone while driving :D:D. His job as police officer was especially helpful, when he was bringing me to a huge natural activity parc (also with waterfalls, hiking trails, caves and so on): Arriving at the entrance he disappeared in the office, and a second later I got the entrance tape – for free.

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The last station of my journey was the capitol Brasilia, from where I got my return flight. There I met with Maressa and together we discovered the city. Brasilia was a bit as I expected it from what I heard before: A huge concrete city, made rather for cars then for pedestrian and without a real centre. It is a planned city, which was made to the capital of Brazil not to long ago. It was good to not have planned to much time in this city, after some days then, I had my flight back to Germany.

For a long time, I was a bit anxious about travelling in Brazil. As I didn’t speak Portuguese and the reputation of the country is by far not the best in Germany. The time in Brazil Maphowever, was really wonderful. Wherever I went I met nice people and I felt safe all the time. And now that I know at least a very tiny part of the country, my motivation is even higher to learn more of it.

By that my trip within South America ended. I travelled in Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil always taking buses to get from one destination to the next. In the end, I spend around 6,000 km on the streets. I always liked the time in the (most often) comfortable buses, where you just spend hours and hours looking out of the window, without having to care about everything else (of course you should have enough food and water 😊 ).

 

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