Travel Journal

Journey home from Bonito

(Thursday 13 August 2009) by Brennan-adventures
Hello Folks,
Hope you are not sick of me this week, so much has happened even on the road home… so let’s bring you up to date.

We left Bonito on Sunday morning early. Mike had checked out the map and saw the place all the amigos visit in Paraguay was about 3 hours away… Shall we go??? Well never ones to pass an opportunity to visit new places, we set off.
Now we disagree on the next bit of information.. Mike says we had ¾ tank of gas… I say it was ½ a tank full. The morning was overcast and cold but we were congratulating ourselves on the fact we had enjoyed the best of the weather before the cold front came across.

As we drove towards Paraguay the weather got worse, drizzly rain and gusty winds. The areas we passed though were very rural and sparsely populated, and then we got FOG… in Brasil what is going on!! :-?:-?

Well mile after mile of heavy fog, no towns = no gas !!!
Then 2 hours into the journey we started passing some houses built at the side of the road… not at all like Brazilian houses. However although there was a bar, shop and school what they didn’t have was Gas!!! I could tell Mike was getting a little preoccupied but trying not to show it.

Well the “MY god the gas is low light” showed on the dashboard…. Still no Gas stations. 8-O
The speed was reduced and I was asked to estimate how many more kilometres there was to Paraguay… Now all of you know I cannot read a map for toffee, so when I told him 20km his face fell… No way are we going to make it. Then we passed a road sign telling us 5 km ???!! I was then accused of trying to give him a heart attack, or being stupid not able to add the numbers up !! Well he decided his running shoes were in the boot of the car so if it was 10km he could run there…. I did point out it would not be the safest thing to do in the fog… his answer is unprintable!! :-|

Suddenly streetlights and whoopee a gas station that was open. Big relief all round!! This was the Brazilian border city Ponta Pora… The fog was still thick and we were looking for Frontier street where one side is Brasil the other side Paraguay. Mike’s “ nose” got us there eventually … he seems to have an inbuilt compass that gets us to the correct place… No idea how, maybe years of stumbling back to a ship in a foreign country!! :-^

Well the next thing we had to spot through the fog was a Chinese store on the Paraguay side… this is where all the action is, or so we were told!!
Finding the store, which was like a huge warehouse we parked and entered… Why Mike wanted to go beggars belief … he hates shopping, me because I’ve been starved of shops thought it was paradise.!! One hour later we left after eating some lunch and buying some face cream for me…. We thought the prices were still quite expensive, but lower than Brasil for electronic goods. All we can say…. we now know why they go there…. :-\
Now, what they all dread is being stopped by the Federal police when they are on their journey home; the first police stop is about 10 miles for the town…. They have so far evaded being stopped--- guess what. Yes we were stopped; luckily my face cream was under the permitted allowance so we were allowed to proceed!! The weather cleared and we now had sunshine, so easier driving.

Next stop Nova Andradina, it was about a 4 hour trip. Full tank of gas, and Mike still driving.
I was working with 2 maps, both with completely different colours for the differing types of road. The local map told us the quickest way was a red road that went across country, so we were heading for that. I found the first road on the map but we did not want it. I then expected the next road in 3 kms… 10km later no road and the tarmac was disappearing fast into a dirt road ???? The dirt road was so hard it looked and felt like a tarmac road. Passing a road sign we were on the road numbered the same one as the map… Oh well lets go. :-?:-\

This was certainly an experience; we went inland with just fields either side of us and entrances to Fazendas (farms). I must admit the journey on the dirt road in Bonito had lessened the panic of dirt roads… Travelling for a couple of hours the road suddenly started getting a little lumpy and broken up… heavy rain and large lorries are not a good mix on dirt roads.
We were hoping the road would get no worse. There had been a few jeeps and lorries passing us going in the opposite direction, so we knew we could possibly get help if we needed it. ;-)

Getting through the lumpy bit the road levelled off again, and we arrived at a largish hamlet of houses.
All the houses in the hamlet were made from wood, a small garden and they had electricity and water. Although each house had a toilet hut outside (the ones with the doors open) they had ceramic toilets and wash hand basins inside them. There were dirt pavements and roads; the only concrete was the kerbs. The people walking around were shining they were so clean… the ground outside of the houses was brushed and there was no litter or garbage lying around. We could only imagine the people who live here worked on the farms…. They were so remote from anywhere though. :-|

Travelling another 10km along the dirt road we found another remote town bigger than the other, again with no concrete except for kerbs. This town has a large roundabout made from the dirt, and some of these houses were made from brick. Stopping to ask the name of the town, the boy had braces (Retainers) on his teeth…. So the town was quite wealthy…. Unless you pay or can afford the personal insurance costs there is no-way you could have braces. We have no idea what the people did for a living, but I wouldn’t like to live so remotely.
In all we travelled 40km on the dirt road. When we looked on the other map we found the road was coloured white…. Dirt !! Typical for Brasil nothing is what it seems…

On the road map the road we were on now was coloured red, a main road. Well this road was dreadful, the pot holes were enormous and deep, quite difficult to see when travelling at speed !! 8-O:-x
We eventually arrived in Nova Andradina 5 hours later. This was a city twice the size of Ilha, and the hotel was modern and nice. It was sooo cold though and our thin clothes/shorts did not keep us warm. I did however manage some pizza, and believe me it tasted good.
It was here I uploaded the last blog… the internet signal kept dropping out so hence all the problems with more than one notice about the blog to you all.

Next morning up early again we were travelling to Maringa, about 4 hours. This journey was ok, roads not too bad and no hold ups. That night we ate in the shopping centre, so we could eat early or we would have had to wait until 8pm… we needed an early night as we had to travel back to Ilha the next morning. Mike wanted to be back so he could get into the Uni in the afternoon. The journey takes around 4 hours usually.
There was a lot of road works along this road, the road desperately needed it. The men controlling traffic were a long distance apart; we drove for 15 mins between controllers. This meant the traffic soon built up, and going uphill with the old lorries ahead of us we were lucky to hit the dizzy speed of 20kms per hour. Our journey took much longer than normal, 6 hours in total and both of us were exhausted by all the driving over the last 3 days… It’s a good thing we have 2 days in Ilha before we head off on the last travels before heading back to the U.K. !!!! :o):o)

We are travelling to Campinas on Friday, and then flying to Salvador for 3 days, back to Campinas for a night then onto Sao Carlos for 1 night, arriving back in Ilha Solteira the following Friday…. I am just going to whistle and the clothes will fly by themselves into the suitcase!!
Well will keep you informed of what happens in Salvador.
Love to you all
Laur x

  • return from Bonito by Babs
  • I thought our potholes were bad! by Sheila

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