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27th june, Bonito, Matto Grosso

June 27, 2014

Connections very hit and miss here, see how it goes.

It has been very interesting being in a football mad country while the world cup is being played. Our route has been well away from any of the venues but still the feelings run high whenever Brazil is playing, Fiftytwo years ago Brazil were playing their minnow neighbour, Uruguay, in the final of the world cup. It was a foregone conclusion who was going to win, but the Uruguayan team didn’t read the rules. They won 2-1. And Brazil has never forgotten. Three times we have heard the comment, ‘As long as we beat Uruguay!’ and this is half a century after it happened! Amazing.

Bonito is a destination for the adventure seeking tourist, doesn’t really apply to us but they have a nice campsite and we are having a day off catching up on the washing and other jobs. Tomorrow we head into the Pantanel, the objective of a long drive through uninteresting country. That’s unless you like watching maize growing. Brazil has gone big on the ethanol as a fuel and most of it seems to be growing in the area we have passed through the last couple of days.

Before leaving Iguazu we visited the Itaipu dam. Now the 2nd largest dam in the world it is an amazing feat of construction even if it decimated the country now submerged both in displaced people and ecological destruction.

Free camping sites have been few and far between since we came into Brazil, the night of the 25th was a good example. Usually there is a sense of uncertainty as 3.30 comes around and we start looking. But that night was different as the Garmin had showed a campsite 17kms out of Doraudos, the town we were making for. It seemed a nice place on arrival only to be told that ‘No’ they were closed, we couldn’t stay the night. So it was back into town where we stocked up on provisions than wondered what to do. We had travelled over 400kms on truck-filled roads and were very tired. Joan had noticed a park with lake on entering the city so we headed back to that hoping camping was allowed. We drove slowly around the lake on a narrow but well formed path, later we saw a sign forbidding cycling on the path let alone a car. Still on the path we noticed a couple of police walking around the lake, we stopped and tried to get through to them our predicament that we were looking for a place to stop the night and were tired after driving a long distance. It appeared camping was not allowed but they were appreciative of our predicament. The language problem reared its ugly head but they got the message, The grey hair may have helped. The bloke talked to someone on the phone then gestured to us to go around the other side of the lake near the football field and stop there. Our security was his concern as where he pointed to was where they could keep an eye on us from their office some 200 metres away just to make sure no one annoyed us. The area was a haven for macho teens strutting theiir stuff, they weren’t annoying but just being teens. That is until the policewoman came down about 9pm and told them it was about time to head home. We had a blissful sleep with not a soul around.

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