After the wonderful drive through the pampas of the Pantanal, we arrive back in civilization with our broken awning. We reach Aquidauana and set up camp at Rancho Pirapora, not far from town.
We are received there by Senhor Jefferson, a nice old man who likes to play on his cell phone when he has nothing to do. Since we are the only guests he has nothing to do most of the time.
The ranch is right next to a couple of wetlands where you can see a lot of birds. The Rio Aquidauana runs just a few hundred meters past the farm. You get a feeling of being in the Brazilian jungle.
The water drifts slowly and is lined with tropical bush. Macaws fly over our heads and tuans do a concert like a big band with broken trumpets.
The mood is nice on the farm. It’s warm, we see exotic animals everywhere, we’re the only ones and can do whatever we want. Senhor Jefferson is happy to chat with us and help me out with cables when I’m working on the electrical system in the car.
He especially fell in love with Leon. In the evening we eat fish from the river, drink wine and listen to the loud concert of insects and birds.
The Pantanal is very rural and is characterized by the conflict between farmers and environmental protection. In general, the farmers win and gradually take more of the huge nature reserve. Jaguars are hunted as they are a threat to livestock and if a jaguar is already dead or the bush is on fire, investigations, if any, are in vain. The population thinks nothing of environmental protection and is zealous for Bolsonaro, who promises the farmers more rights for the development of the land of nature reserves. The area around Aquidauana is shaped and traditional in this sense. In the city I even see three cowboys on their horses shopping at a store.
We look at the city of Aquidauana and go shopping there several times. There is a beautiful church and lots of bush around the town. In search of an electrical fuse, I quickly get to know the whole city.
Senhor Jefferson immediately knows someone who can fix the awning. Since the town is small, I don’t necessarily count on experts, but I at least have the hope that tourism may have brought a few people some experience with campers. An old and a young man look at the whole thing and make me an estimate. Then they take the car to their workshop and call after three hours so that I can pick up the bus again. However, my enthusiasm that the problem was solved so quickly is quickly dampened by the fact that I see that the two “professionals” just brutally connected the parts of the awning together with two wood screws. I don’t have much faith in this solution.
I also celebrate my birthday. Sara has secretly commissioned a cake that we will be eating for the next few days. The day is relaxed, we eat well again and I work on the car. Unfortunately, it starts to rain the next day, which delays our plans to drive further into the Pantanal by a few days. It’s in the middle of the dry season when it starts raining for two days and we want to go to one of the biggest swamps. Great. It could have been easy.
On the farm there is also a house with billiard tables. It’s not just Sara and I playing some balls there. Leon also enjoys the game and potting the balls. He also takes his first steps with us by the hand.
We stay two more days and consider going to the tourist town of Bonito to wait until it is dry again. My nightmare, artificial attractions for mass tourism everywhere. Surprisingly, the first day of sun looks very dry, so following our old plan we try to head north into the wild Pantanal.