Smoke On The Water/ Blood Thirsty Bastards

“They only live who dare”


The mosquitoes on South West Brazil are comparable in number to the population of china and the armies of Mordor put together. At any one moment you can see around thirty or so feasting on the person walking in front of you. The smoke on the water, in this instance, is in fact swarms of mosquitoes heading in your direction. Each person on the tour has become their own unique buffet blood bag. There is nowhere to hide. They bite through clothing and Deet doesn’t even seem to bother them very much. I’m going to have to resort to wandering around in my mosquito net.

We currently staying in a large expanse of wetland called ‘The Pantanal’. The area itself is fantastically exciting. We’ve seen an armadillo, capybaras, howler monkeys, toucans, scarlet macaws, giant blue macaws and the most extortionately large variety of vividly coloured birds.

We’re camped out in hammocks in an equestrian farm which is perfectly situated for the likes of bush walks and boat trips. Hacking out on the horses is fantastically good fun; there are so many wide open spaces that you’re free to gallop about, racing each other. I also tried my hand at vaulting (riding whilst standing up on the saddle) as the horses were so well behaved. Sleeping in hammocks is not particularly my cup of tea, I must admit. However, following the two nights before we arrived here, setting our tents up outside service stations en route, it seems comparatively luxury!

Yesterday we fished for piranhas for a couple of hours. Everybody except me were catching the fish for supper but I have never been one for unnecessarily butchering animals so I was taking out the hook myself and throwing mine back in! Ironically I seem to have caught the most out of anybody! I have to admit that I was rather hypocritical in that I feed a couple to the Caimans (crocs) who were hovering about for a snack. I was, rather cruelly, dangling the piranha right about their heads so that they would jump out of the water to grab them. I accidentally got one caught on my hook for a while before it managed to unhook itself. I feel that is enough to be able to claim that I caught a crocodile whilst fishing. In fact there are so many of them about that we’ve introduced ‘croc or rock’: people have to bet on whether a likely shape in the water is a Cayman or just a log or rock. Great fun.

P.s. My apologies for the lack of posts recently but I’ve been completely cut out of internet since my last post; I can’t seem to get my modem working.



Stopping to cool down in the piranha infested waters. This is directly following spotting a cayman and our local guide explaining that the piranhas had eaten the top of it’s tail. Definitely an adrenaline rush!




6 thoughts on “Smoke On The Water/ Blood Thirsty Bastards

  1. love your stuff! you write well, and traveling south america definitely inspires creativity. I traveled central america for a year after college. i have a great fascination with Brazil particularly Rio—i’m a singer/songwriter (good lord do we really need another one of those!) and my travels have inspired many of my tunes and lyrics. i’m working on one right now that incorporates Rio’s stark contrasts of riches and squalor. i actually just started a video blog to share my creative process/showcase some music—i think you would like it, but i imagine your internet connection is limited. anyway, thanks for the pics and the vivid writing. cherish the journey!


  2. The mosquitos sound appalling, unbearable in fact- (great descriptions btw) But I’m very jealous of all the rest, would love to visit the Pantanal some day, have long wanted to. Don’t they have anacondas there? I was thinking about them when I was looking at your photograph, of people wading beside the boat. (Gulp) But presume nobody was grabbed by giant snakes. Anyway, looks like an amazing trip, & delighted to come across your blog. Warm respects- Arran.

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