August 15, 2010 – August 16, 2010
Tue 17 th August At our hotel that had a dog and it bit me and harry it was only a puppy but it was really scary and i staid in the room most the time but if i wasn't i would just end up running around in circles followed shortly by a puppy.
When we got from our Pantanal trip yesterday Joel was very apologetic about the problems on the first day with the car. He took us to his house, the Cuiaba Ecolodge, where we would stay that night. There is a central courtyard like a room open to the sky and the bedrooms all lead off from it. He has a collection of old mechanical artefacts , old telephones, typewriters and sewing machines which with the occasional papier mache jacare and local works of art make an interesting surrounding. Books in many languages and colour atlases of local wildlife lye around on a central table and fill bookcases by a hammock. He has a very young puppy over which he has no control. It is very excitable and likes to run around chasing people and chewing ever tying to test out ints teeth. When it gets too boisterous he tells it to go into the other room, but it doesn't understand. He tells it to sit, to lie down to no effect. So he shrugs his shoulders and says in English "What can I do with this dog?" ... and gives it a piece of ham from the breakfast table. Alex tells me that he is just as generous and forgiving with people: tourists, his guides, his drivers and his children. In the evening we asked Joel for a recommendation of where to eat, perhaps with some meat for Harry. He said "Actually, it's a good idea, we will all go." So Joel, Alex, 3others of Joel's employees and 2 other tourists all went out together. The restaurant had a flat rate for all you can eat (La Gaucha) and specialised in meat. Every 30 seconds waiters would offer yet another slice of succulent meat from a skewer, cut at the table. You could chose which bit they cut, anything from bloody to well done. Harry's eyes grew wider as each successive joint arrived. He was in heaven. It was an extremely pleasant evening in good company.
That evening I suggested that we eat at one of those Brazilian meat restaurants. Before I knew it, the whole hostel, Joel, Alex and some other Brazilian friends were getting out of a couple of taxi's at the Gaucha Churrascaria. Our jaws dropped as every 2 to 3 minutes a smart waiter in white brought long metal skewers of roasted beef of different cuts. Blackened on the outside but juicy pink inside and deliciously tender. He and Alex both turned out to be friendly,trustworthy,kind and full of Character. May be I am unfair on Joel and his organisation ,may be this is just Brazil or may be he just needs a secretary. But the next day everything was reconfirmed to me . Instead of the day camping, we had asked for a day in the Chapada dos Guimaraes national park two days previously. It was only one hour ride from Cuiaba and we wanted to go early to make the most of the day. The start time could not be decided and we left a little late. .Alex did not seem to know that parts of the Park at been closed the previous year due to a couple of deaths in which people had fallen from cliffs. There seemed to be vague excuses why we couldn't do this and that and ended up having a long lunch and a rest by a small swimming pool. I was frustrated that out there were wonderful ancient red cliffs , bizarre stone formations and fabulous waterfalls. The evening we walked around for somewhere to eat and in the end had a pizza. In the morning I saw a great old black and white photograph of an odd stone formation and asked Alex if we could see it. He asked the hotel owner for details and said yes but its a three hour walk and we didn't have time now . I could have killed him. We said goodby both to Alex and Joel , two people who we liked very much.