We rolled out of Natividade around 8am’ish for a short’ish drive to Palmas. Palmas is only a young city – designed and built in the 1980’s, and probably because of that it looks very modern in comparison to the other Brazilian Cities we have been to.
We arrived in Palmas around 11am’ish and proceeded to experience an ‘Impromptu City Tour’ while Franco tried to find the Tourist Information Office … we saw some streets a couple of times on this tour, but Franco did end up finding a friendly gentleman who not only had connection to the Tourist Centre, but also spoke excellent English! He led us to the centre of the touristy part of town, and then helped Mel & Franco find us some accommodation and activities to occupy our time here in Palmas. While Mel & Franco were liaising with the locals, we all found the Banco do Brasil and some lunch … then an hour or so later we found ourselves at the Hotel Economica with showers and internet access !!!!!!! Clean AND Connected – a Budget Traveller’s dream come true.
As we understand the situation – our group plans have changed ever so slightly … originally we were to stay here in Palmas for 2 nights, and the 3rd night would either be here again or somewhere not far from here near some waterfalls … after chatting with the awesome English speaking gentleman, Mel & Franco have decided that the waterfalls are apparently more awesome than Palmas and so we will spend only 1 night here in accommodation and then 2 nights camping at a family farm up in the hills at Taquaraçu.
It all sounded lovely – and any travel experience is exactly what you make it – but our arrival in Palmas and connection to the internet again brought not so great news for us personally, and a gutting decision. Long story short, things have not panned out back home (financially) as we had hoped and so we have decided to return home early to start earning incomes again. Naturally there is considerable emotion for both of us surrounding this decision, but we made the decision together and both agree it is the right thing to do ... Sucks to be responsible adults!
So all that gut-wrenching stuff took up most of our afternoon and evening, but we did manage to get to dinner at a lovely local churrascuria before returning to our hotel to phone Natalie in Sydney to re-organise our flights home. We made it to bed around 1:00am, but neither of us slept very well … sad & crying face …
The next day (Day 138) was a bit all over the place really … I woke early because I just couldn’t sleep and went out to check emails. There was a reply from our girl Natalie and she had sourced new flights home for us – all we had to do was confirm that they suited us and provide our Credit Card details because we had to pay for the seats to hold them (we understood that it would still cost us more money to leave the truck early, but at least that would be a finite figure that we could plan around and budget for) … and then I had to email Oasis Office (on Mel’s recommendation) to advise them of our intentions … and then we were free to enjoy our morning before leaving Palmas City for the family farm at Taquaraçu around 2pm.
We wandered up to Girassois Square first – it is touted in local tourist infoirmation as the largest Urban Square in the world, and in the centre is the ‘Araguaia Palace’ (the seat of the State Executive Government), and there was also a monument to Oscar Niemeyer (the Architect behind the design of Brasilia in 1960’s), and a monument to what seems to have effectively been a Civil War, called ‘Monument to the 18 from the Fort’ (depicting the uprising on July 5, 1922 which saw the beginning of the uprising that eventually overthrew the Old Republic). After we were done in the square we wandered about 30 minutes or so to the ‘Bridge of Friendship’ … but the bridge and surrounding area turned out to be quite underwhelming and a bit of a let-down really. As we wandered we chatted some more about our decision to pull-the-pin and although we both are still very gutted we both agree that it is the ‘right’ thing to do … it still sucks to be a responsible adult! After all our walking, we had a quick lunch and then loaded up for the drive to the farm at Taquaraçu. We arrived at the farm around mid/late afternoon and set up the kitchen and tents, then we all sat around and chatted and drank … Mel challenged me to a game of Scrabble - the last 2 games we have played were cut short, and Mel was winning both of them quite convincingly, but this time I reigned supreme and beat her by 1 point!
The next day (Day 139) was a Full Free Day at the farm. About 10 of our group had a ride on what is said to be the longest Zip Line in Brazil, but at BR60.00/head we decided to do the activity would be counter-productive to the reason we were leaving the trip early and so we stayed behind. I took this opportunity to clean our tent in preparation for our departure because although we still have another 3 nights camping or so before Belem, we may not get the chance to clean our tent as thoroughly as we need to … we had the time and space here, and I had nothing else to do, so I did it. We were supposed to be taken to the local waterfalls this afternoon, but while we ate lunch some thunder storms rolled in and through and nearly washed us all away … Thunderstorms are not all that exciting for an Australian I know, but it did make the road in/out very muddy and slippery and Franco was disinclined to drive Frida on those roads if he didn’t absolutely need to … so it was a slow and reasonably quiet afternoon of intermittent rain on the farm for all of us.