we left santa cruz about an hour behind schedule, no surprise there, and settled into our faux leather seats and commenced our 22 hour journey out of the lowlands and into the pantanal.
an american in the peace corps told us last week when he took the train it derailed, so i had my hopes up for some similar deadly adventure but alas, none.
"the death train" is long a thing of the past, the tren mixto having been taken out of commission a few years ago.. essentially, there were no seats, people could jump in with cargo, people were standing in between wagons, and people died because of this, but also because of malaria, dengue and yellow fever. lovely!
speaking of dengue, i think i might have it, as i have most of the major symptoms: flu-ish, headachey (although not as bad right now as it was yesterday and this morning), aching muscles and joints, and rashes. really gross pus filled rashes. or maybe it´s just a bad cold and a couple rashes. in any case, i´mma take a lot of paracetamol and drink water and i should be fine.
anyway enough about me feeling like i´m about to die and back to the important matters, the dun dun dun.
the train is still a bit dodgy, going from side to side and bouncing on the tracks, sometimes giving you the impression that everything is going to fall over to one side. but we survived it, even though the heat was unbearable and the 7$ seats highly uncomfortable.
we met a brasilian with a heart warming smile named felipe who kept us company for a bit of the trip, inviting us to a joint as we tried to pressure him into drinking some of our cheap bolivian beer (which is prohibited on the train, apparently, because tomar en el viaje es peligroso...!). we kept opening the door despite the huge NO ABRIR LAS PUERTAS CON TREN EN MOVIMIENTO signs and the conductors kept yelling at us, once they were out of sight we would open them again to sit on the stairs and take in some air, it must have been 45 degrees in that train.
during the entire trip people would come in at one station selling all sorts of goodies, like lemonade in a bag (YUM), and empanadas, and asaditos, and hay pollo al horno pollo.. pollo al horno, and chicha fria, and what have you.. as usual i went against what everyone says and tried some asadito with yuca and had a few empanadas, and lemonade in a bag. at night it calmed down, when apparently if you listen closely you can hear the voices of those who perished on the train. i was sleeping with my head on the windowsill and at times i could hear faint noises that sounded neither like animal nor wind. i can´t say if it really was the ghosts of the death train, but at times it seemed a bit strange.
we arrived in quijarro at 11 and went to buy a ticket back to santa cruz but were met with a closed boleteria because there are no tickets left for today. well i suppose that´s alright, but what if we wanted to buy one for tomorrow?
so we thought about what we could do. technically i am not allowed into brasil for i am travelling with my canadian passport and require a visa and neither of us thought to bring our yellow fever inoculation slips, but we figured fuck it, let´s try it.
and so here i am in corumbá, brasil (pronounced brasiU), completely unplanned, completely surreal, in the heart of the northern pantanal.
normally i am allowed to stay 10 days, but i left my pack in storage at the hostel in santa cruz so that´s not really an option, and i want to get to samaipata and la higuiera.
my portuguese is non existant and they speak really fast but when they speak slowly i can understand maybe half of what they´re saying.
i think i need to learn portuguese next.
it´s really really really hot and my flip flops just broke and we don´t really know what we´re doing here or how to get out but hey!
this is what happens when you travel with me - you never know where you´re going to end up.