TRAVEL: BEAM ME DOWN, SCOTTY

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The Independent Travel
This week's random co-ordinates chosen by the computer are:

12 37' S 53 60' W

FIRST REACTION

That banana plantation is remarkably similar to a collection of football shirts waving in the wind.

COUNTRY AND REGION

You have landed on the Eastern rim of the Mato Grosso region of Brazil, 313 miles north-west of the national capital Brasilia.

NATURE OF THE TERRAIN

This is part of the Brazilian Highlands, one of the country's most desolate regions. Due to the scarcity of good grazing land and soil, expect to find yourself feasting off beans and maize, and conversing with lonely gauchos (cowboys).

NEAREST SETTLEMENT

The small town of Mato Verde is 60 miles away

POSSIBLE HAZARDS

The drug laws in Brazil are very strict, so travellers should constantly check their luggage for signs of tampering. Also the danger of contracting Malaria, Yellow Fever or diarrhoea is omnipresent. Avoid tap water and food sold from street vendors.

USEFUL LANGUAGE

Portuguese is the main language. Basic Spanish will help slightly, especially after Argentina have been knocked out of the World Cup.

TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER

The respected left-wing theorist, and former finance minister, Fernando Cardoso.

LIKELY WEATHER CONDITIONS

This is the coolest, pleasantest time of year, with an average summer temperature of 16C.

REASONS FOR HANGING AROUND

Conceived as a gigantic Milton Keynes, Brasilia is nevertheless famous for its magnificent sunsets, and it also has galleries and a good selection of affordable places to eat and drink. The local drink, caipirhina (a mix of rum with fresh lime, sugar and ice), is worth trying if you've just arrived on foot.

GETTING THE HELL OUT OF THERE

Walk to Mato Verde, and catch the bus to the town of Salvador, where you can catch a direct flight back to the UK.

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