The road stretches straight due west today and again there is little to distract us along the way. The traffic, too, has eased since evidently few want to head to the swamps. We pass small towns whose names appear unpronounceable and visually they'd appear as but a dusty blur too had they not placed speed bumps along the way. We stop only when the gas tank gets low in which case we fill up with grain alcohol, a cheaper alternative to gasoline. Our little car had been modified to run on any flammable liquid, including, in a pinch, some cheap Cachaša rum the sort that the local drunks depend on. By sunset we'd cleared the last major city along the way, Campo Grande, and settled for the night in a hotel near the southern entrance to the Pantanal.
We found a fancier hotel than usual tonight, with a little fridge and wifi even. Flipped the AC on, took a quick shower and off we headed across the street for dinner al fresco. We had two heaping plates of really good fish and chips. It was nice to sit and relax and tell jokes. We paid the tab a couple hours later and crossed the street back to the hotel. I looked up at the sky to see an unfamiliar array of stars above then closed my eyes for the night.