Back on the Transpantaneira

Back on the road, this time Julinho is at the wheel. Lost in thoughts and overwhelmed by all the beauty that surrounds us we drive on in silence. After a while he asks me if I mind him putting on some music, not at all! He takes out an I-pod with a transmitter that is connected
to the jeep's radio and to a sound-box that shares the back-seat with Sandy (the guitar). And there we go, with a nice soundtrack....we had already discussed some likes and dislikes regarding music before... A guy full of resources....I can't get tired of saying this.. We make a stop at Jaguar Ecological Reserve, where we have slept the first night, for coffee and Milton gives us some cake for the trip. At the abandoned Ibama post under the big mango-trees we stop and this time the great horned owls are there! Two of them. Julinho imitates it's sound and they answer... I confess my irrational love for mango's and soon a bunch of ripe fruits appear in my hands. The sweetest mango's I've ever eaten...we drive on while I relish on my fruits out of the window, trying hard not to stain myself and the jeep with mango juice, not an easy task. Poor Julinho has to stop after a while and 'wash' me like a small child. We see an extraordinary amount of birds and some small mammals cross the road, but they are too far away to attempt taking photos. Suddenly a sad scene on the road: a bird that must have been hit by a car lies in the middle of the road and his companion sits beside the lifeless body, he doesn't move even when our jeep drives around them. After death life: a jabuti is corageously slowly crossing the road. We have a stop and put him on the other side, not all drivers are careful as Julinho when driving on the Transpantaneira. There are lots of animals crossing the road and sadly a lot of them get hit by cars and trucks driving at high speed. The sun is slowly going down at our back, a lobinho, crab-eating fox, rushes through the grass on our left side. We are still far away from Pousada Piuval where we will spend the night, as soon as we get to an area where telephones start working Julinho calls them telling our estimated time of arrival. The problem is the kitchen, the same people that prepare dinner get up at dawn to prepare breakfast for early guests and we don't want to steal them precious sleeping hours. Being at km 10 of the Transpantaneira they stand to summer time, not sun time, that makes us lose one more hour. In the twilight we see too more gorgeous marsh-deers. A quick stop at Bararas where Julinho leaves part of the camping gear he will use on his next tour, and while he calls again Piuval to give them our exact coordinates I take a quick walk to the dark forest on the other side of the road....and there it is again, the noise, the 'jungle symphony'... Julinho calls me back from delirium, we have to hurry up and this is the worst part of the Transpantaneira. We arrive at Pousada Piuval around 9 pm and head straight to dining room, dirty and sticky as we are. After a quick dinner we finally relax, get the keys to our rooms and manage to get ourselves civilized again. Pousada Piuval is at the beginning of Transpantaneira, it is very comfortable, with air-con and pool and caters a lot to brazilian tourists who are not to keen to stay in basic places. It was quite strange to sleep in a place like that...and I almost missed my tent under the stars. After a short chat with other guides we had met along our trip we go to bed, quite late for our standard!

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