We had an unbelievably long journey to the Pantanal by road1, most of which was at night. Thankfully, we had hired a very comfortable coach, with reclining seats, blankets, and all kinds of other little luxuries that made it a bit more comfortable. I sat right at the front of the bus (best seat in the house!), and watched the scenery for a while until it got dark, when I settled down to get some sleep.
In the very early hours of the morning, I woke up to see a completely empty road ahead of us, illuminated only by the twin cones of our headlights. It was absolutely straight and stretched away to a vanishing point where it dipped down, as if we were about to fall off the edge of the world. The land was flat and seemed to be almost devoid of any vegetation or habitation. The sky was flat and dark. Suddenly, lightning lit up the sky. Vivid forks etched the clouds before stabbing the earth and leaving dancing after-images in my eyes. Sheets of light rippled across the clouds, revealing the huge dome of the sky, the texture of the clouds, and the flat land below. It was like watching a stunning flicker book animation, or some scene under a strobe light. So captivating was it that I spent the next hour or so wide awake, marvelling at the light show.
1 A journey time of 14 hours had been mentioned when we left, but in the end it took us closer to 19. ↑