We leave the wild beauty of the Rio Paraná and the happy people we met there. There is a nature reserve around the river and I already feel like an adventurer in the jungle.
But that wears off again. Soon we will be driving forever through cultural landscape again. We see cattle farms, corn fields and huge agricultural facilities to our left and right.
We reach the desolate industrial city of Dourados and we spontaneously look for an Airbnb. Again a bad, dusty road leads from the highway into the city and we wonder if the navigation system is crazy. We drive through faceless blocks of small houses and retort settlements surrounded by dust. The Airbnb is supposed to be on the very edge of town, but we are standing by a gate and a security guard who doesn’t know anything and won’t let us in. Especially not with a huge car like ours. He would like to speak to our hostess, but she cannot be reached by phone.
It’s getting dark and we camp with our car at the entrance to the closed commune. Sara is cooking Leon’s dinner when contact is finally made with the hostess and the security guard lets us through. But the man was very helpful despite everything and kept coming to our car to ask if there was anything he could do for us.
The settlement looks like something out of a Stephen King book. One happy house next to the other, with the same happy young families and the same cars. A peaceful but disturbing world.
Our hostess is very nervous and apologizes several times. We are her first guests and she didn’t realize she had activated the ‘instant booking’ feature. which we have used. Who knew there were so many tourists in this dystopian city? At least there are many rules here in the fenced, ideal world. With the size of our car, we are already in violation of one and the hostess asks us to park the car in front of the settlement.
But there is no parking space and it is not safe either, so we remain rebels of the idyll.
Then I’m not allowed to block the sidewalk and the volume has to be low, etc. That must be the feeling when you get a plot in the allotment garden and get the list of club rules in the form of a telephone book.
The accommodation is cozy and the area is obviously safe. So far, however, we have not noticed any crime in Brazil. Not a police check lay on our way here.
We’ll take a look inside the city and form our own opinion as to whether it might not hide a secret beauty after all. Does not she. The city was designed on a drawing board and the downtown area houses the usual shops in a checkerboard pattern. There are a few restaurants with butchery charm that serve buffets, but Sara jumps on the subway we see.
There are a few statues depicting famous sons of the city. There seems to be a small exhibition and a nice church on the main square. This square is also the only one that offers Dourados a certain recognition value.
Again, many cars have supporting stickers with Bolsonaro’s likeness on the rear window. I also notice that a lot of people are wearing the national team’s yellow and green shirts. People identify very much with football.
We leave Dourados unimpressed and continue through the landscape of cattle farms and soybean and corn fields and approach Campo Grande – the gateway to the Pantanal.