Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Jaguar Reserve

Yesterday was a holiday in Brazil, so there was no school or work.  The CLO at our embassy organized a trip to the NEX Jaguar Reserve, which is out in the middle of nowhere, a few hours from Brasilia. The road to get there was little more than a goat trail with bandaids covering the streams. Some would call the bandaids "bridges", but I wouldn't. The embassy chartered three huge tour buses to get us there, but did we reserve 6 spots on the luxury buses? Hell, no. Because we are hardcore, and not afraid of getting scratches on our car. Anyway, there was a mix-up and the buses were overbooked, so we took three extra kids with us. The poor teenagers had to sit in the way back, and every time we hit a hole or bump, their heads would hit the roof of the car. How I laughed, because they were trying to sleep, and also, I'm mean.

The Jaguar Reserve houses jaguars that have no means of living in the wild. They've been raised as pets, abused, declawed, are blind, etc. They're stories are very sad,  but they are lucky to be where they're at, safe and seemingly well-cared for.

This black jaguar was really aggressive. You could tell she was pissed by the way her ears were flattened back. Just as we were about to leave the area, she took one giant leap and jumped at the fence, and added a nice, healthy cat-scream for good measure. All the kids in front of her needed a change of underwear after that. How I laughed, because I am mean.

The pumas were very, very interested in the toddlers of our group. It was almost feeding time.

After we admired all the cats, the guide took us on a hike, and we ended up here:

Did I have towels or swimsuits for my kids? Hell, no. Did that stop Olivia from diving right in? Hell, no.
I had to pull her out because it was c-c-c-c-c-c-cold. But she went right back in after giving me a cold, muddy hug. I don't know where she gets her meanness from.

Grace was all, "Brrrrrrrrrr. It's too cold. I don't think I want to get in any furthur."

And then, she was all,

Jack and his teenaged friends only got their feet wet, but Henry and his friend were all in:

The hike back was steep, but the scenery was gorgeous. We passed a very large chicken yard with hundreds of chickens squawking about.  We were tired and hungry, but the jaguar place provided a big lunch for us, AND caipirinhas when we got back. After our lunch, it was time for the cats' lunch:

Yum. A wheelbarrow full of dripping meat. The cats had the same thing we had for lunch. Chicken! I kept remembering the chicken farm we passed earlier in the day for some reason.  They wrangled the cats into their cages, then rubbed the meat all over the trees in rocks in their enclosures, finally hiding the meat up high, so the cats would have to hunt for it. It was amazing to watch.

After another hour of watching them feed all the cats, we had coffee and fruit, and the adults got to go play with a jaguar. I'm not kidding. Kids weren't allowed anywhere near it, because they are viewed as food. I stayed with all the kids, and Mitch and Jack went and played with this little kitty:

See my firstborn, petting a Jaguar teenager? I'm pretty sure something like this wouldn't be allowed in the States. Brazil, you win at not worrying about lawsuits!

It was getting late, so we said goodbye to the cats, the parrots, and the toucan.

And followed this roadrunner home. Actually, I'm not a 100 percent sure it was a roadrunner, because it wasn't in cartoon, but it WAS running on the road:
See the little fella, just right of center?

All in all, it was a great day, and no one even complained about riding home in damp, muddy clothes.


Donna said...

Oh, wow, that is SO COOL! Now I want to move there, just because of this one post.

Nomads By Nature said...

A complaint free return is the second best part - the first would have to be the jag meet-and-greet. Way awesome cool adventure to share with us!!

emlovesbeer said...

You are freakin' hilarious! I knew I liked you when you laughed at the kids peeing themselves. Love your blog!