‘Wolf warning in effect’, read the poster at the start of the Rainforest trail we were about to walk. Supposedly, a pact of wolves was active in the area, showing bold behaviour towards people and dogs. There had been a number of recent attacks and therefore we were given advise on how to act if we were to come eye to eye with a wolf… or wolves. Most importantly, we were told to keep the ‘eye-to-eye’ contact – to not turn around or let alone run away! Then, to step backwards while raising our arms to make ourselves appear larger and let the wolves know who is boss by speaking to them in a loud, impressive voice… something I simply didn’t see myself pulling off. If the wolves would approach us despite these precautions, we were meant to throw sticks and stones at them. The last sentence of the warning poster gave me no peace of mind either: ‘If all else fails, then fight!’.
Sana is known for being a hippie town in the middle of waterfalls, wildlife and spectacular natural sights. It is located in the mountains of Casimiro de Abreu, about 1.5 hours away from our place in Buzios. At eight in the morning, we were packed and ready to go hiking there for the day, explore the countryside of Brazil and bath in natural pools. We were waiting excitingly outside of our apartment for the tour guide to pick us up.
However, at 8.15 there was still no sight of our tour guide. This wasn’t the first time that someone showed up late during our time in Buzios and my mum assured me that it was just a matter of ‘Brazilian timing’, nothing to be worried about. Secretly I was quite concerned that something had gone wrong with the booking, especially when at 8.30 there was still no tour guide around, but right when we thought it was acceptable to phone up the tourist office without coming across as neurotic Europeans, a car stopped in front of us. A man in a bright pink shirt greeted us and introduced himself as Juliano. It turned out we had a private-chauffeur who would be our guide for the rest of the day!
The first morning waking up in Canada, we were told by our park guards that there were seven ‘active’ bears on site. This meant that we had to be extra careful with regards to hiding all of our food in a bear proof manner. Storing your food ‘bear proof’ is done by placing all of it in a cool box, covering the cool box with a jacket and storing the cool box with the jacket in a car. This is necessary because bears are clever enough to recognize a cool box and break into the car to get to the food. Surprisingly, we were also told to hide all of our cosmetics such as shampoo, because the bears are attracted to the smell. Cheyen heard about this right after he had put on his perfume and feared he would be the first to be taken by a bear…