24 Hours on a Bus

Well actually the title is a bit of an exaggeration it was only 23 hours. But actually it really wasn’t that bad, when we got on the bus in Rio is was nice to escape the 40 degree heat and get into the air conditioning and then equally as nice to discover that the seats were very comfortable and reclined a fair way back!! Certainly better than airplane seats anyway.
So we departed from Rio very excited and feeling pretty good about the decision to catch the bus, and this bus wasn’t even the executive bus is was just the normal so we wondered what treats we had in store for us in the future! The only slight doubt we had in our minds was that although we were confident we were due to arrive in Campo Grande in 22hrs time we had read somewhere that the trip could take 32hrs!!! We were relying on this being a typo (thankfully it was)
The plan was to see some of the countryside of Brazil, and it started with seeing a fair amount of poverty on the outskirts of Rio. It was pretty horrible and the dirt and living conditions looked pretty bad. The worst was seeing all the rubbish in the rivers, it was all a bit dirty, but to be fair we were probably seeing the worst of it as it was right next to the motorway.
Soon though we were out of Rio and into some pretty luscious land, very green and lots and lots of farmland everywhere. It was really quite nice to see and to be fair most of what we have seen in this area has been very fertile land and a battle for space between farmland and the natural ecosystem.
The only bad thing about the bus trip happened at about midnight when we were awoken from our slumbers to change buses into a newer bus. Unfortunately newer meant more economical which crucially meant less space in the seats so whereas before we had been relaxing in comfort, I now didn’t have enough room for my legs!  
But on the whole we arrived in Campo Grande only 1 hour late and feeling pretty good! So onwards and upwards. The reason for coming to Campo Grande was that it is described as the gateway to the Pantenal and that we could find out tours and guides here. I am not sure what day the Lonely Planet writer arrived on but they describe a situation where you are mobbed by people trying to get you to go on their trips and was full of warnings not to just go with the first person!! So we had our game plan in place and were ready for it when we got off the bus. The reality was that the mob did not exist and the tourist information center was shut at 2:30 in the afternoon and we were obviously the only tourists in the bus station. There was one lady there selling tours but the photos she showed us were so bad we decided to chance it elsewhere!
We arrived at the hotel and booked in smiling a lot and just about following what we were being asked while constantly nodding and saying thank you and please all the time. In then decided to ask if the lady could point is in the direction of a good local tour guide who could help us out with accomodation tours and transfers to the Pantenal. Unfortunately the lady spoke less English than I Portuguese, so in reality I just repeated the word “Pantenal” a few times as if I was asking a question. Well she looked as us curiously and picked up the phone and you wouldn’t believe it but twenty minutes later a guy called Gill arrived and had our whole trip sorted within minutes!
So onwards to the Pantenal! T

The outskirts of Rio this went on for quite a few kilometres as we drove along.

Outside of the city this is the view!!

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