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Day 33 Drive to Terra Ronca Anyone for Bridge? 6th June 2011

Lost track now but I think we had one of our earliest starts so far!  We had a taxi booked for 5am to get us and our gear back to Amber and be on the road by 5.30.  Taxi finally arrived at 5.30 by which time we had gone down the cobbled hill with all our stuff.  Amazing that we left only a few minutes later than planned.  Go team  Amberghini!  We had a long and very dusty drive on a dirty road and when we got the campsite we discovered that it had closed down so onwards to a place we were told would let us camp and may have some rooms available.  To get there we had to cross 2 very unstable looking bridges which Ross crossed while we all watched from the safety of the road!  We got to the Pousada and set up tents (believe it our not I chose not to upgrade – feels like cheating if I upgrade all the time) and got here beers out.  The owners made a lovely Rice, beans & meat dinner which was welcomed as no one wanted to cook after such a long drive!

Days 31 - 32 Chapada Diamantina National Park Are we nearly there yet? 4th June 2011

Its Maya Papyas 19th Birthday and how do we spend it? Well we head off in a 4x4 to walk up to the Fumaca Fall. When we got there some 45 minutes later the guide mentions that we should have jackets with us because it can be chilly!!!! Bit late to mention that now. Anyway off we go with a spring in our step until we see the climb ahead of us! The climb was gruelling but we had some amazing views to compensate.

When we reached the top we had a 2km or so flat walk. We got to the fall and that’s when we were told that you had to crawl out on to a ledge to see the Fumaca Falls (smoking falls because the water looks like its turned into smoke half way down).  These falls are 1,400 feet long, the highest in Brazil, although I think/hope Iguazu Falls will be more impressive!

After a quick lunch and photos we headed back. By this time the sun was getting very hot and it was easily over30 degrees with very little shaddy spots. I thought my head was explode from the heat of the sun. 3 of the 6 where going back to the campsite and the other 3 stayed in the park for a trek next day.

By the time we go back it was after 8pm and Anki and Ross were waiting in the bar with party hats, balloon, chocolate cake and a little rum and coke to wash it down. It was lovely of them to put this surprise party for Maya but we were soooooooo tired that once we sat down none of us could be bothered to shower and change for dinner so the chocolate cake and run became dinner. Unfortunately Maya was not feeling well which meant it was left to the rest of us to party for her. Ross even managed a few songs on the guitar borrowed from the bar. All in all a good night but would have been better with the birthday girl there!

Not surprisingly the following day was a very layed back affair for me. All we needed to do was to seek out some lunch and a good spot to read! It was my turn to cook with Maya in the evening but as she was still poorly I cooked a simple Spag Bol which went done a treat!

Will add pics to this blog when I am back home!  Takes up to much beer drinking time here!

Day 30 Lencois Where are all the happy campers? 3rd June 2011

We drove to the pretty town of Lencois within the Chappada National Park. Only Locals can bring vehicles in past the bridge over the stream so we had to leave Amber at the bottom and off we went to the campsite with all our gear! The campsite was in pretty grounds with quirky buildings and a onsite bar although we were the only guests!. Anki cooked dinner for us – a welcomed “bangers & Mash innit” whilst Ross arranged for a guide to give us the low down on what activities are available for us in the park. I had brought my gear to camp at this site but for $10 more I could have my own room! Guess which option I took!

Days 26 - 29 The long drive to Salvador 30th May 2011

So the late start from Olinda meant a long drive to Salvador. We were due to bush camp over night but the decision was made to keep driving through to make up for lost time. I had a couple of hours shift in the front passenger seat keeping look out for pot holes and speed dumps (usually sighnposted but not always and Brazil has thousands of the bloody things!) You get a good view from the cab but it was dark. We stopped at a trucker place on the way for dinner which was 9 reals for a plate piled high with ….can you guess….. yes more rice, beans, spaghetti , salad and meat. That’s about £3.50! There was enough for about 3 people to eat well on each plate. The drive to Salvador was much faster than expected so we stopped in a layby for a couple of hours and then again at a petrol station just outside Salvador. We were not keen on arriving in the dark. It did mean that we got to our Pousada at 9 am and gave us an extra day in Salvador. The pousada staff were so helpful and suggested we all had breakfast at the hotel. This was very welcomed after the steep climb from the street to the hotel. Did I mention that Salvador is very hilly and very steep? We had a lazy day by the pool (whats new!) and late afternoon we headed into town to find a cashpoint! We were told that if you are going to get mugged on the trip then it would be in Salvador! We arrived on a Tuesday which was great because in the Salvador Tuesday night is the new Saturday night! So off we went with our maps which the hotel staff had kindly highlighted with big crosses the roads we must not go on after dark!!!!

Arrving in Salvafor also marked the end of our Manaus to Salvador trip where James and Charlie where leaving us and a new passenger, Ray, was joinging for the trip to Rio
After Some food in town some of us decided to go back to the hotel and were about to go down “piss alley” to get to it when the police told us we could not go down there. We showed the cards the hotel had given us and one of the police knew where it was and said that we could go but to go straight there! Scary! I went on a city tour in the morning with Gwen but the best bit was our guide took us to the best icecream place in all of Salvador. It was started by a Spanish man about 100 years ago and the coconut icecream was sublime!
My last day in Salvador I went to the shopping mall and bought a pair of straightners!!!!!! My best purchase to date. I could not cope with the mess my hair turned into since arriving in Brazil!

Day 25 Olinda - apparently a pretty 29th May 2011

By the time we got to Olinda most of us had washing to do and showers to take so we didn’t see much of the town. We also had a pool available in the Pousada we were staying at so…….. we didn’t get very far. I’m a shamed to say that come evening time because it was raining we stayed there for a light dinner and beer. We left Olinda a little later than we originally planned so that we could have a chance to see a little of the town but I preferred to enjoy the lie in! Oh well, may be another time!