Transpantaneira km 0 to 110

We stop at every bird we encounter and
Julinho teaches me it’s name in Portuguese and English (we will have a good laugh at that part..the names are extremely complicated and long….I wonder how he is able to remember all of them, well I guess he has been doing this for a very long time and a lot of persons he guides are actually passionate birdwatchers anyway).
As we drive on slowly, he proposes another change in plans. He must have gotten that I’m easy about spontaneous changes in route. We will drive until almost the end of the Transpantaneira and then stop to sleep at the last pousada before Porto Jofre, the Jaguar Ecological Reserve. This will allow us not having to rush to get to Porto Jofre and to our final destination in the middle of nowhere before darkness.
Who am I to contradict him…I just allow myself to be ‘guided’and enjoy the moment. Someone had written in a report about Julinho that he was so trustworthy he wouldn’t have hesitated to give him his PIN code… that’s the feeling I had too, after only some hours with him.
The Transpantaneira is interrupted by small wooden bridges over pot-holes filled with agua-pès (lily-pads). Inside of them an infinite variety of birds co-habit, some visible others more camouflated, some lonely, others in flocks. I know I don't have the right lenses for taking pictures of birds, so I just relax and enjoy the view.
A Tuiuiù, or Jabiru stork…I had already seen this enormous bird in southern Pantanal some years ago but it still impresses me. It’s the symbol of the Pantanal and in fact we will see lots of them. It can get 1, 15 m tall …and his open wings measure up to 2 meters. It’s impressive when in flight.
Sometimes lonely
vehicles appear on the horizon in a cloud of red dust, but there’s almost no human presence.
A truck on the side of the road makes us stop. It’s broken…a man and a woman do the only thing you can do here in this cases – wait - under a fierce sun. I get a glimpse of two plateau’s of eggs inside the truck…well hard-boiled I guess.. We tie the truck to our brave burro xucro and try to push them until a bar not far away, al least there they can wait for a mechanic in the shadow. On the way the semi-axis literally breaks down to the floor. We stop again and the mechanic from Poconè also arrives. He takes a look at the truck, ties the broken piece and leaves to get a replacement for some part of the engine in Poconè. We bring the guys to the bar 'Barara', eat a ‘pastel completo’, have a beer and wait for the worst heat to pass. I don’t really mind the heat but Julinho says there are no animals around at this time of the day; well he knows his job and the place, by that time he could have told me there were green dragons flying around and I would have believed him…I relax and we stay there talking nonsense with Maria and the other boy.
When we leave we offer to take Maria with us, she works at the pousada we are heading to and probably w
e will arrive before their truck is ok for the road again. She refuses…a day off lazying in the shadow is probably too much of a temptation …
So we hit
the road again and there we are rewarded for our wait: a marsh-deer inmidst of the dry grass. After a while Julinho whispers to have a look at my left side: a beautiful male ‘cervo do Pantanal’, with his imponent antlers is grazing calmly not disturbed at all by our presence.

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