I was super excited to arrive in Brazil’s ‘Capital of Ecotourism’, a town aptly named Bonito, which means Beautiful in Portuguese and is located in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul.

Taking a day tour snorkeling down the crystal clear waters of Bonito’s Rio da Prata, did feel like swimming in a an aquarium, or a really clean and beautifully landscaped fishbowl. There’s a gentle current that floats you down these waters, passing schools of fish and underwater flora, as if nature herself had approved of this eco-friendly tour.

I was surprised at how eco sensitive Brazil was. With carefully practiced rules and regulations.

Sunscreen and insect repellents were forbidden to be worn before entering these pristine waters. We weren’t allowed to touch the bottom of the river, or kick, to minimise disturbance to the waters and it’s inhabitants. And God forbid if you needed to pee – the pirhana’s would come after you! Kidding about the last one but you get my point… my bladder had swelled in disgust by the end of the tour.

All local guides are required to pass conservation examinations making them credible in their knowledge and experience of the land. The quantity of tourist floating down these rivers are heavily regulated with a well organised voucher system that eliminates all discounting on price, and any unqualified or unaccredited tours.

I love Bonito, for it’s amazing natural beauty and it’s representation on how tourism and nature can grow together in a healthy and educational environment – Definitely a place to revisit! 🙂

Everything’s going to be ok… until it isn’t. Part 3 – Odin & Tiara’s comedy of misadventure.

This had become our mantra.

Odin, looking delirious and dishevelled at 6am in the morning, repeats – ‘Everything’s going to be ok’ as his stomach churns and makes awfully loud moaning noises, obviously complaining about the service station hot dog he had consumed earlier.

T, wincing at own stomach cramps from bad service station chicken – ‘Yeah, everything’s ALWAYS going to be ok… Until it isn’t.’

Our bus had returned from re-fuelling and we continued forward on our journey towards Bonito chasing after all our luggage… And then the bus broke down, in the dark of night, in the middle of nowhere, and had been broken FOR 4 HOURS, when it was only a couple of hours away from Dourados where we were meant to catch the only twice a day connecting bus to Bonito.

We finally make it to the Dourados bus terminal at 9am that morning, having missed our 6am connecting bus by a long shot, and were fortunate enough to find a lady at the ticket office who spoke some English.

The nice lady informs us that the next bus to Bonito leaves at 4pm that afternoon.

T – ‘Odin, ask her if the bus will drop us off at either one of these destinations in Bonito that’s written on the post-it note?‘ referring to what we had assumed were the names of suburbs in the town of Bonito.

Odin to the lady – ‘Will the bus take us to here in Bonito?’ hands over the post-it note.

The lady reads the 2 names on the note and is confused –‘I’m sorry my English is not so good, and I do not understand … These are the names of bus companies.’

Odin & T – ‘aaah…’. Then giggling. ‘No wonder everyone looked angry and confused whenever we asked if this was where the bus was going!’

Luckily, even though we had been jumping on Brazilian buses demanding to be taken to a ‘bus company’, miraculously we were still on the right path to Bonito.

Lesson – Even when all the odds are against you, (it’s a foreign country, you don’t speak the language, you smell like a hobo and have lost all of your luggage, nobody understands you and you have to deal with your own naivety and arrogance) life will correct itself, and everything will always be ok.

Until it isn’t.

Part 2, Let the chase begin! – Odin & Tiara’s comedy of misadventures

The next public bus heading for Bonito was that afternoon, at 4pm, giving us a few hours to ride out the hangover by eating and passing out on the hostel lounges for a few hours.

T, awakes with a paranoid jolt, calls out – ‘ODIN!’ looks around in a panic, worried that Odin had already left.

A few minutes later there’s a distant and desperate ‘TIARA!’ cried out as Odin is also jolted out of his nap with the fear of being left behind scarred into him.

We make it to the bus station and jump onto our bus to Bonito, a town about 10 hours drive away that was the next stop for the Tucan tour bus which had all of our luggage.

The guy at the information desk had written down 2 names on a post-it note for us and instructed – ‘You must go either here, or here, for Bonito.’

Speaking fuck-all Portuguese, we held onto this post-it note like it was the new Hope, and continuously asked the bus driver and transport officials to reassure that the bus was indeed going to either of these destinations. Unfortunately, no-one understand us unless we pointed to the bus and said ‘Bonito?’.

A couple of hours on the road and our bus pulls into a bus terminal.

The bus driver announces something in Portuguese that we didn’t understand and everyone starts getting off the bus. Still drowsy and half asleep, Odin and I follow the crowd thinking ‘It must be a pit stop’ and figured as long as we stuck with the other passengers on our bus we would be fine.

We check out the food stalls at the terminal. Odin orders a hot dog in pastry, and I order a deep-fried crumbed potato and chicken cone.

We stand out the front of the terminal eating and keeping a watchful eye on the bus.

T, with sudden realisation – ‘Great! I just ate chicken from a gas station in Brazil before taking a massive bus ride. That’s just asking for trouble.’

Odin, looks up in a panic and proclaims – ‘ I just ate a DOG!’

At that moment our bus starts pulling away and slowly drives out of the bus terminal. In a panic, Odin and I start running after the bus, waving our arms and yelling for it to stop.

The bus driver, seeing the spectacle before him, calmly signals for us to wait and that he will be back in 20 minutes. We look around and realise that the other passengers were completely calm, even laughing at us.

T – ‘It’s probably just going to re-fuel or something… But I should have taken my daypack with all my electronics off the bus. I have about 2 grand worth of electronics in that bag!’

Odin, always slightly worse off, states – ‘I left my PASSPORT on that bus.’

We sit back down on the curb, and hoped to God that the bus would return with all my electronics, and Odin’s passport, so we could continue chasing after the other bus that had all of our luggage.

T – ‘We don’t do things easy do we?’