Battling a meat-induced delirium

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“Does anyone else feel dizzy?” I ask as I force another piece of tender beef into my mouth.

“Good to know it’s not just me” responds Neil with a faint smile and glazed-over eyes. He may be the only one at the table who has sampled more varieties of beef, pork, lamb, chicken, and fish than yours truly.

Our group of 10 is having our last dinner together in Brazil, after just arriving at our final tour destination: Rio de Janeiro.

Over the past two weeks, we had slept among bats, fished for pirhanas, snorkeled in the rivers of Bonito, explored the majestic Iguassu falls from both the Brazilian and Argentinian sides, swam and battled the waves on the beautiful beaches of Ilha Grande, and much more.

To make the occasion special, our guide, Geraldine, decided we head to a traditional Brazilian rodizio restaurant, in particular, a rodizio of the churrascaria variety, which specializes in barbequed meat.

A rodizio is basically an all-you-can-eat affair, but in contrast to its North American version, in Brazil, you don’t even have to leave your seat.

Once again, a waiter has come to the side of our table presenting another cut of juicy meat on a skewer.

“I really don’t think I can…” I mumble staring blankly down at my plate which has a backlog of at least 3 different types of meat needing to be consumed.

“What is it?” inquires Marina.

Geraldine asks the waiter in Portuguese.

After a brief exchange, we get a verdict:

“It’s beef.”

We’ve heard these very words half a dozen times and yet in each instance the taste of the beef has been very distinct depending on the cut and the method of preparation.

Against my better judgment I motion with my personal meat-grabbing tongs to get a cut of “the beef.”

As the beef is falling on my plate, another waiter walks past our table showcasing a novelty.

“WHAT!? They also serve fish!?” I exclaim, as the waiter carrying the platter of pan-seared white fish stops in his tracks, looks back at our table and begins to walk towards us.

Before long, I am facing a backlog of 4 types of beef and an unnamed piece of fish.

With my eyes half open and my glistening face (on account of the “meat sweats”), I look over at Martyn, who’s currently enjoying a plate of fresh and light veggies.

“Salad, eh? Good idea…” I manage to say in his direction.

I really am feeling rather intoxicated.

Martyn looks over at me and smiles.

Suddenly, I become insanely thirsty and crave fresh fruit.

Marina and I quickly order a pitcher of freshly squeezed suco de naranja.

Mmm... juice...

A few minutes after guzzling back the orange juice, I begin to regain my alertness.

Just as this happens, yet another waiter starts approaching our table.

“No more!”

“ Please! I can’t…”

“So much meat…”

After two hours, we have all exceeded our capacity for consuming meat.

Geraldine politely tells the waiter to stop presenting our table with meat, as we all begin to relax in our seats.

Of course, there is still dessert.

Peter

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“Holy Wildlife Revenge, Batman!”

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“SWOOP”

“FLAP FLAP”

“SQUEAK”

“Is anyone else awake?” I ask sheepishly.

At first, no response.

Apparently, I am the only one of our group of ten who is aware that we are sleeping in Batman’s bat cave.

“Yeah, I am awake,” eventually responds Marina.

“There are tons of bats flying in here!”

As we all lay in our hammocks, separated from the overly abundant wildlife by a mere bug screen, about half a dozen bats fly and feed all around us.

This is our second night in the Pantanal, a region of Brazil’s wetlands inundated with animals of all shapes and sizes.

The previous night I had slept so soundly I hadn’t noticed the other residents sharing our communal hammock cabin.

 

“Don’t worry, they won’t bite you,” Marina attempts to reassure me.

The slight tremble in her voice suggests she herself may not be so certain of this assertion.

In my mind, bats are simply rats with wings.

And rats bite.

I cover myself from head to toe with a suffocating blanket, and attempt to relax in my hammock while the bats continue their frenzy mere inches from my head.

As I fade in and out of consciousness throughout the rest of the night, a thought crossed my mind:

“This is nature’s revenge.”

Had I not mocked my horse, which I named Rusty, all that morning while riding through dirt, water and mud?

 

Had we not thrown stones into the nearby pond in an attempt to rouse the plentiful caymans resting at the shore?

Had we not poked a tarantula with a stick to coax it out of its hole?

Had I not held and fondled a wild, albeit young, Anaconda earlier that day?

 

Had we as a group not fished and then deep fried and ate over a dozen Pirhanas?

Yeah, maybe I deserve this…

This was the last thought crossing my mind before I drifted off to sleep to the sound of bats flapping, squeaking and crunching all around me.

Peter

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