Saturday, July 26, 2014



That's redundant.
Since Bonito means "Beautiful" in Portugese.
But it is!

It's a great little "mountain town" that's not in the mountains. When
we drove in it felt like a small US town with houses and a main street
with shops. And the best part: Totally Safe. Like, leave your car
unlocked and don't lock your bike safe. As in, walk anywhere, anytime,
all alone, and you're totally safe. Love places like this.

This is the eco tourist capital of Brazil. Everything is about nature,
water, caves, waterfalls etc. It's supposedly very organized and well
run, and all of the tours are. But booking is complicated, and for
some inexplicable reason, Transport is NOT included in the price. So
you have to separately arrange transport to the attractions (some are
60km out of town). This costs a LOT, if you can't team up with people.
Or get on the "group transport" that leaves once a day and is full
weeks in advance. Most of the tours fill up, and thankfully I booked
everything days before getting here so I was able to do what I

Except it rained. The first two days. It rained a lot. So many of the
activities close and don't operate. And last night it was COLD. Like
40 degrees cold. And wet. And no one is ready for it. No really warm
clothes. No heaters in the dorm. And of course I'm sick. So it's been
a bit of a challenge.

Today was sorta sunny. I spent the day doing the Rio De Prata, which
is a river you SNORKEL IN that is CRYSTAL CLEAR. I mean, aquarium
clear. Totally full of fish and springs that feed up through sand that
looks like something from an alien planet, churning, wild. If someone
hadn't told me it was a spring I might have had no idea what it was.

And yesterday... ABISMO ANHUMAS.
This is the king daddy of tours here, and I was lucky enough to book
it. It's limited to 18 people per day. Starts with a 72 meter (230
foot) Rappel straight down into a cave that's filled with water. On
the floating dock inside, you go snorkeling (or for A LOT more money
you can do a single scuba dive. If I were to do it again, I'd do the
scuba. I didn't because the thing already costs almost R$600, and with
scuba it's almost R$900. Now I'm not a broke student doing this, but
that is really pricey).

And it's awesome. The rappel was surreal. You lock legs with the
tourist on the rope next to you, and drop into the Abyss. The snorkel
is some alien world, lit from sun (or gloom) coming in the opening at
the top. You even get a boat tour around the underground lake (Which
like most tours in Brazil, if you don't speak Portugese, it loses a
lot of it's meaning. I did get some translation with the cool folks I
was on the tour with, but it was like that scene from "Lost in
Translation" where the guide would talk for 3 minutes, and the
translation would be something like "The cave is four million years
old". I love them for the translation, but it was pretty funny).

The thing about this, is you had to train the night before in town to
prove you could rappel. And then that you could climb out, on your
own, using an ascender on the rope. Which means you are sliding the
hand portion up, and "standing up" in the web looping, then repeating
hundreds of times while you climb up the free hanging rope to the
surface. It's pretty wild. The rope bounces like crazy and I kept
stopping to look around and think: This is nuts!

And totally awesome. The bronchitis didn't ruin that trip, but I sure
was exhausted when I got back to town. No doubt.

Well, tomorrow it's back to Rio and more adventures in the south. I
wasn't planning on writing so much. I usually like to give you a
shorter report more often, but the feeling ill and the persistance of
wifi everywhere has effected the email reports. Just as wi-fi did last
year too. There will be more on that subject later, but for now, I'm
off to visit with all my new friends one more night before I fly away
and start the next adventure.

Hope you are all well and having a fabulous summer.

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