Thursday, June 26, 2008

Capão days one and two

We left our apartment on Thursday (June 19) at 5:45AM because we had to take a bus to the rodoviaria (long distance bus station) to catch our bus to Palmeiras that left at 7AM. Luckily we had no troubles and made it with 15 minutes to spare. We arrived in Palmeiras about 3PM and then had to take a "cab" up to Capão, which is about a 45 minute ride. I put cab in quotes because all the "cabs" are 30 year old jeeps that have no shocks and run on propane gas. In fact, our driver had to stop and change the propane tank on the way! I never knew that the same stuff that fuels gas grills can also fuel cars!

The guy at the pousada (bed and breakfast) was expecting us, so our room was ready and waiting. It was a good thing because I think that every room in town was booked. Some locals were even renting out beds in their houses to make some extra money and provide space for those who didn´t make a reservation. I was glad to have our little room with a bathroom for the equivalent of about $25US per night. Here is a picture of Vilma in the doorway of our room. We took advantage of the hammock in front and spent some QT relaxing there.

The second day we were there, we went on a day hike up to Cachoeira da Fumaça (Smoke Falls), which according to Wikipedia is the 25th highest in world at over 1000 feet! Once at the top, there is a spot that overlooks an amazing canyon. There is a rock that you can lie on and stick your head over the edge to look down. Of course you need someone to secure your feet, but even with this, I could not put my head totally over the edge. See the picture above to check out how far I made it.

I have done this hike a number of times before, but each time when I arrive at the top and see the incredible view, plus the waterfall, I am rendered speechless. It is truly an amazing site to see. You can do a 4 day
overnight hike from Lençois to the base of the falls, which is something that I
hope to do sometime soon.

That night we had dinner at a restaurant owned by this Italian guy. They specialize in vegetarian pasta dishes and are renown for their lasagne, which is what we ate. Homemade noodles and homemade tomato sauce=yum yum! Later we went to the party in the town square (more about the São João parties later), but didn´t stay up too late because we were both tired from the hike and knew we would be hiking again the next day so wanted to get some rest.

Another interesting thing happened on the way down from the waterfall...we saw a snake! A big one! It was red, grey and black. There are 2 types of coral snakes here in Brazil, real corals, which are the poisonous type, and false corals, that have the coloring of real corals but which are not poisonous. A group with a local guide was behind us and the looked at it and said that it was a false coral. I was glad to hear that, but surely didn´t want to mess with the snake, poisonous or not! Here is a picture so you can get an idea.
OK, more later about the rest of the trip. Hope you enjoyed the story so far!


Lane said...

ahh... Capao! thanks for helping me re-live it. and coral snakes vs. false coral snakes: and old-timer once told me "red and yellow kill a fellow" (if the red stripe and the yellow stripe are adjacent, it is poisonous); if there's a black stripe between them, it's safe. your blog is a great place to visit!

Ali la Loca said...

The "red and yellow kill a fellow" rhyme only works with coral snakes in North America (Texas and Arizona). In South America, the patterns vary too much on venomous coral snakes to be able to have a foolproof rhyme.

In general, the best way to tell the difference between false and real coral snake is that on the venomous ones, the bands go all the way around the body; on the false ones, the bands are only on the back of the snake, and their belly is a solid color with no banding.

From your photo, I'd have to say your guide was dead wrong. This appears to be a venomous coral snake. I've even seen photos just like this one identified as venomous!