BRAZIL
Trip two
It’s a fast drive to Brasilia to meet up with our friends but we still manage to stop at some lovely towns along the way to do some sightseeing.
Trying to find a quiet place to spend a weekend is still a problem.The Brazilians LOVE to party.   Every weekend the town plaza’s fill with temporary bars and loudspeakers, which is crazy considering that every corner in every street has a Skol lager bar and pool tables, (most of them open at 9am or earlier). While the adults sit drinking the children run around flying their homemade kites. Everyone is happy.
World Cup madness has ended, when Brazil was playing EVERYTHING stopped, shops would close, church sermons would be re-scheduled and televisions would be dragged out onto the pavement for all to watch the match.
In Brasilia we spend a few days sightseeing with our friends. The new capital is only 50 years old, the modern design making it is easy to drive but hard to walk, with large distances between sights. It will not be one of our highlights in Brazil but we are still glad we visited.
Dave beside a giant palm in Pirenopolis, lovely Cidade de Goias and a busy truck route.
Inside Brasilia’s lovely Metropolitan Cathedral, the Saturn shaped city museum
and the Dom Bosco shrine.
After a quiet night in the old slave village of Natividade we come upon our first of many ‘rescues’. In every country we have had to help people - pulling them out of thick mud or deep ditches, supplying tools for flat tyres or mechanical problems. Brazil is no different and before long we have to stop to help a large coach with a blown out tyre - the passengers are a wonderfully friendly group who are all members of a band from Palmas.
Hello to our friends - kiss kiss!!                      Natividade’s slave church.                The famous Brazil bum.
Our huge detour from Brasilia has been for one reason only - Jalapao National Park. A park that holds 40m high sand dunes, waterfalls and indigenous villages. We spent a few days camping on a riverside beach just above a lovely waterfall and it was there that we met some Brazilian Landrover owners. They were driving a memorial tour of the park in honour of their friend who ‘discovered’ the area after begging maps from the military to see if it was possible.
After our relaxing ‘beach’ holiday we drove to the eastern edge of the park along a typical dirt, stone and bull dust track when we came across a poor indigenous family up to their axle in bull dust. They were exhausted from their efforts yet several cars had passed them without stopping. They were in the shallow stuff which meant we had to go into 4x4 to get through the deep stuff and past them to then tow them out. Rescue one of the day completed, we drove on to the large sand dunes. (We let our tyres down as much as we could and hoped to complete the 5km track to the oasis without any digging!) On the way back we found ourselves having to stop for another family who were stuck in very deep sand, it was clear the family had been there for some time in the heat and sun with no water and no-one stopping to help. Driving the track back from the dunes was harder than driving in as there were more slight inclines - not only does Nessie take it in her stride but she does it also towing a heavy pickup for 2 km’s - we are like proud parents!
We are convinced that a road must link us toward the east and although our paper maps show none, our GPS shows a track of some sorts. It was to become another of our ‘great drives’. We really enjoy this sort of thing - driving down a little known track, hoping that it will lead us where we want to go but not being 100% sure, and, let’s be honest, with a truck full of supplies - does it really matter if we only manage 10km’s a day? It was a good route, a old bridge, a hand-full of indigenous properties, a track that was a mix of dirt, sand and rough stone - at one point we were driving over large rough boulders with holes on the other side. A quick stop to ask directions from some cotton pickers and we were on asphalt a few minutes later.
Tremendous fun and just what we enjoy - what a shame it only lasted a couple of hours!
Back on asphalt roads again and we are living a ‘truckers life’ once more. The truck stops in Brazil are excellent places to spend a night, with hot showers, restaurants, mechanics, express laundry services, a pharmacy, injector specialists, seat cover makers and much, much more.
Many of the truck drivers take their wives and sometimes even their children along and a night at one of these places can be a real family affair. The young truck drivers usually come over to tell us they remember their father driving one of these trucks and the older truckers come over to tell us that their first truck was this model. Either way Nessie seems to be a memory lane for many people.
Our next stop is the wonderful Diamantina National Park - the home of Brazil’s largest waterfall. A beautiful landscape that once held a huge reserve of industrial diamonds, some of which were used to drill the Panama Canal and the London Underground!
It is a 6 km trek to the waterfall from the nearest village but after 3km’s we have to surrender and turn back - painful knees and a lack of supplies make the decision for us. Terrible weather the next day seals our fate of never seeing the waterfall or being able to drive a 4x4 track we had discovered.
The change in the climate is dramatic - we have been used to a daytime average of 36c and a bedtime of 29c.
Now we are having breakfast at a chilly 18c - you may laugh, but for us that is cold! Rain and clouds chase us all the way to Salvador.
Jalapao dunes rescued family back on firm land.
Life on the road for a Brazilian trucker - the good and bad days.
Beautiful Diamantina National Park.
Home to Brazil’s tallest waterfall.