Travel Journal

Lagoa santa

(Wednesday 15 July 2009) by Brennan-adventures
Hello peoples,
How are things with all of you??
Last week passed quickly although nothing much was done. I have still patchy internet connection, which is driving me mad… }-)}-)

There was a visitor arrived to give a course at the University on Wednesday, she had brought her husband and teenage daughter with her. This meant however that we were out for dinner Wed, Thurs and Frid evening…quite exhausting.
Marilene again went beyond and above what I would be prepared to do….. She had arrived back in Ilha on Tuesday evening with her two daughters, one having had her tonsils out and Marilene had to stay in Hospital with her.
Here the family does the caring / feeding and washing of the patient, leaving the nursing staff to concentrate on the medical side… it also means there is not so many nursing staff needed. The downside is the family member is exhausted especially being woken 3-4 times during the night when the nursing staff do their checks and give the patient their medication.
Wednesday night Vicente, Marilene and family were out having a meal with us, then on Thursday Marilene organised dinner at her house for 12. Friday she was packing to leave at 3am on Saturday morning to travel to Porto for a conference with Vicente…… The Hotel for Porto was booked on Friday !!!!
I would have been panicking but Brazilians take it all in their stride!! 8-O

Mike had decided to take us away for the weekend, to a place in another state near to us. We had heard of a hot springs with a Hotel on the complex. The state is called Goias and the hot springs is called… Lagoa Santa.
This is slightly different to the other hot spring complex we have visited previously. It had been a purpose built complex with pools filled with the warm volcanic water.
Lagoa Santa is a natural lagoon that flows into a river. In the Lagoon there is a couple of springs feeding the warm water into the pond… some parts are lovely just like a warm bath, other areas are a little chilly… We are told the temperature of the water flowing from the earth is 32c.
Well Sat morning saw us start our journey, the rain was pouring down and the wind was blowing in Ilha… not a good start, as the temperature felt distinctly chilly!!
We had to dive into the state of Mato Grosso do Sul then into Goias. We suddenly found the wet weather was behind us, but following us. The journey took about 3 hours; suddenly Mike yelled there is the sign for Lagoa Santa…. A squeal of brakes and a quick right turn took us onto a DIRT road!! The sign told us 17km of this…… Suddenly I remembered we had not brought the camera…. Gosh I was so cross!! >:-)

The road was dry and in patches very sandy. It felt like driving in mud, I was worried we would get stuck. There was quite a bit of traffic considering it was dirt road and we passed lots of entrances to large Fazendas (farms).
Ahead we saw an old man standing on the dirt road, outside a small house, leaning against the gatepost; as we approached his thumb stuck out…
This guy was around 70 yrs old and was dressed like a cowboy, down to the black cowboy hat. We decided it would be safe enough to give him a lift. The guy was really surprised when he realise we were foreigners, never having met anyone outside of Brasil before. He was a little deaf and had few teeth so it was a little difficult to converse. We did however find out he was 84yrs old with a bad hip, he live in a rented house provided by the farm owner. The farm he had worked on was a dairy farm and according to him the cows did not produce a lot of milk. Mike was in charge of conversation as I was concentrating on the potholes and slippy surface, hoping the rain did not catch up with us until we got to the end of the dirt road.
There were 3 Macaws that flew over us, huge Parrots with long tails, Bright blue and yellow, quite beautiful and a privilege to see in the wild.

Suddenly on the road in front of us was a bird about 1/2 metre in height with long legs running, it looked like the road runner cartoon figure. It ran down the middle of this dirt road travelling around 30km per hour…….Well that was the speed I was driving and didn’t catch it up. The guy called it an Emma… which we know as an Emu. I think like a lot of things in Brasil one name is used for birds/ snakes of any size/breed. This bird was not going to grow into the size of an Emu.
Eventually the bird pulled off into the scrub… we had followed it for about 1/2 km with it racing ahead of us… The guy said it would keep running until it dropped for exhaustion when being chased. I was glad it has pulled off I would have hated for it to have died!! :-|

The air inside the car now smelt very pungent, this guy had a lot to do with horses and we were wondering how much further we had to travel…. The perils of picking up hitch-hikers!!
Suddenly we arrived on the outskirts of a small village, then passed over a rickety bridge to find ourselves in a small village square with Tarmac…...... Praise the lord hard ground again and just in time as the rain was starting to fall!! This is where our passenger wanted out. Thanking us profusely he got out and we did wonder what his story would be about us!!

Driving further along the road we knew we must be close as most of the shops were selling masks, snorkels, swimsuits and floatation equipment.
The hotel was rustic with an old fashioned charm. The room was not ready so although it was starting to rain… the clue we should have picked up on… we decided to have a look around. I had 3 umbrellas in the car but did not take any, consequently by the time we had walked to the lagoon and then followed a path to the town we were very wet. Stopping to have a drink in the local shack, we also bought a couple of masks then braved the rain back. Halfway across a long bridge the heavens opened; by the time we got into the hotel again it looked like we had gone swimming in the Lagoon!!
The room was ready so in to get changed into swimwear and back to the lagoon. The rain was still falling and the air temperature seemed low I recon around 18-19c…….swimsuits were chilly.
The water was warm once we got in, however any body part outside the lagoon water was cold due to the rain falling. The fishes were small but numerous and wearing the masks at least we could see what was going on at our feet. The floor of the Lagoon ranged from huge jagged rocks to mud/sand. The largest fish we saw were around 5cm, so nothing too frightening. The teeny baby fish however obviously liked human flesh and anytime you were stationary nibbled you, at times it could feel like a small electric shock. I have decided I am definitely a pool girl as I hate the sensation of mud underfoot!! I don’t mind the fishes ......although all I could think of was the fish poo at the bottom of the Lagoon!! 8-O
We spent about an hour there and found a deep hole… Mike managed to get down into it but for some reason I was so buoyant that even getting rid of some of my air couldn’t get below the surface. Mike suggested pushing me down… now I think this is the test of true love and trust. A hand on the top of your head pushing you down under the surface for a couple of metres…. I was worried he would forget to let me Up !! Well as you can see all was well and I am still here to speak to you!! When we got out of the pool I was freezing, and hoped the water in the shower was hot… my wish was fulfilled a lovely hot shower. The hotel is clean, plenty of staff BUT typical Brazilian food. Dinner for me …Salad…Yum Yum !!
Next morning saw us up bright and early… I was starving and needed breakfast!! The sun was shining, but there was a wind and the temperature was still hovering around 16c… cold to softies like us!! We sat around after breakfast hoping the sun would start warming the air… no chance… :-( so off we returned to the Lagoon. From taking off the wrap and sandals it was a quick dash into the water. There were many more people in the water, and most of the older ones were huddled around the hot spring inlets…. When your face and shoulders were out of the water they cooled really quickly… but immersing yourself again felt lovely and warm.
There was an official photographer in the pool and we had some photos taken underwater…. The funniest thing ever.
She told us to smile and keep our eyes open, and led us to a deeper part of the Lagoon. It was a hole in some rocks big enough for 3 people, when standing your face was above the water. The lady counted to 3 then we had to dunk into the water for the photo......
The first attempt had my face just under the water, smiling and eyes open but looking Japanese. Mike had huge hamster cheeks filled with air and not smiling or eyes open… Men just don’t listen!!
Second attempt had me again just under the surface although mike had his arm on my shoulder… couldn’t get down any lower… and still looking like a Japanese person… mike had a smile and eyes open.
Third attempt she told mike to put his arm around me to push me down under the water to his level… Eureka !!! we had a half decent photo….. both looking like Japanese people !!
I had started to shiver by this time and decided enough of the Lagoon a nice hot shower was beckoning.
Lunch was salad again for me… I hate salad. :-x Thankfully I had some nuts and crisps in the room I could nibble. We had to wait around for the photographer to deliver the photos before we started the journey home.
Around 2pm she appeared; then we drove through the town again to see it in the sunshine before heading home. Turning a corner here was 5 teenagers riding 5 Brahma Bulls… (The type of cattle you see in India). They were sitting bare back with halters and harnesses on each animal. The Bulls had all their equipment !! but quite content and not at all bothered by the noises or the traffic… It was a strange sight… I of course couldn’t take a photo as we did not have the camera. >:-)
We are going to ask Vicente if this is a normal pastime in the countryside!!
The journey home seemed to take half the time, probably due to the fact we were not driving on a dirt road this time. It took us 3 = hours to get back to Ilha.
Just as we reached the Dam, another flock of wild Macaws flew alongside us; this time they were completely black… I have never seen black ones before, it was beautiful to see.

Well it’s now Monday and I am in the Library, the internet is still not working….GGGRRR. 7-)
I will have to send this later in the week, from the cafi.
I think this week will be quieter, hoping to eat in most nights and watch a movie or two on the computer… Oh the high life!!
Well have fun in the sun over the summer. Think of us during our cold snap freezing here!!
Laur xx

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