Countries 8 Hotels 29 Cars 39
Flights 16:flying time 55.14 hours
Rickshaws 4 Buses 8 Elephant 1 Boat 4
Cog-wheel train 2 Cable cars 6 Subway 4 Ferry 2
Minibus 34 Coach 2 Catamaran 1 Funicular 3
Pick up truck 3 Land Cruiser 8 Hydrofoil 4
Llama 1 Cycle Taxi 1 Train 3 Motorised Canoe 9
Here breakfast is at seven, lunch at twelve and dinner at seven, and it gets put out at those times so if you are late, cold food. The kitchen staff are lovely, all the staff here have very smiley faces, none of them speak English, so really thankful I have Toto here whose English is very good. They talk to me in Spanish I reply in English and neither of us knows what the other is saying, but we smile a lot. This morning it was pissing down, I had to use my brolly on the way to breakfast, it’s the rainy season here. There was lots of squawking outside my room, the trees are full of Ibis and black vultures, all looking hunched up and fed up because it was so wet. I have been moved to a better room.
After breakfast we went on a wildlife spotting drive. Windows down, so we can spot things more easily but also so we get rather wet. Capybaras are everywhere, I never get tired of seeing them, they have such cute faces, a lot of them just sit in the road and one has to drive around them but some of them do move out of the way, they have fat bottoms.
Every now and again Toto would stop and get his binocular and stand out and focus on a spot in the distance, he’d seen a deer or some lovely bird, and wanted to show me. We probably saw about fifty different birds, maybe more. One practically falls over the wildlife here it is so abundant. On the way back from our drive we stopped to talk to Victor, a retired guide, who was catching piranhas, he said for our dinner.
The ranch is one hundred and thirty one thousand acres, and divided into different sectors to make it easier to manage. However at weekends the ranch is quieter because a lot of the workers go home for the weekend. Ninety percent of the ranch is owned by the state and the other ten is privately owned. The main business here is beef and the cows are like the Indian cow as they are the breed that can best cope with the conditions here.
They also grow crops, corn, rice, watermelon, passion fruit, mango, and yucca, they grow teak wood for commercial use, and they have buffalo, producing two types of cheese from the milk, and then they have about twenty-five rooms in the little area which they use for tourism. I am the only tourist here.
After lunch it had stopped raining, the sun was out and when I came out of my room there were green iguanas on the grass, they had come down from the trees to get warm and feed, there was about twenty all wandering around eating fruit that had fallen from the trees. As it was so sunny Toto decided it was perfect weather for a boat ride. Victor and Toto, ‘the boys’, had brought a bucket of meat with them, the plan was to chuck a piece of meat into the water and watch the piranha feeding frenzy that occurs with this type of fish, however they couldn’t find any. So they called to a great black hawk they saw in the trees and once they had its attention they threw pieces of meat up into the air and the hawk would swoop down and catch them with his claws, very impressive, my camera phone isn’t good enough to get a shot of that however it was good enough to get photos of the next thing they did.
Put pieces of meat onto a long stick and wait for the caiman to arrive, once the caiman was interested in the meat the stick was placed high up and the caiman jumped up to get the meat, the boys, who were probably more excited than I was at this scene, their enthusiasm is very infectious, did it with several caiman and I got some amazing shots, as the caiman can jump rather high.
I saw a hawk kill on bird on the wing right in front of our boat. The landscape is quite beautiful here.
For dinner I had the piranhas that I saw Victor catch earlier in the day, there isn’t much meat on them and they are quite picky to eat, but they are delicious.