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"We are stopping at a roadside joint way north of Guarantã do Norte. Rice, beans, manioc, and a lot of meat. A trucker is leaning cooly against the counter and swallows two pills with a big gulp of Coca-cola-doping for a sleepless night. A baseball cap turned to shield his neck covers his oily black hair. He looks like a character in a film by the Coen brothers. The trucker introduces himself as Julio Cesar and offers us to join him for a few hours on the road. He has been driving trucks on the BR-163 for as long as he can remember. During the dry season the road was somewhat passable, but during the wet season it turned into a slippery sludge channel. Hundreds of trucks got swallowed by mud holes, bridges collapsed under overloaded trucks or were washed away by torrential floods. For years the BR-163 was known as one of the most dangerous roads in the world. With the agricultural boom in Mato Grosso, the situation became unbearable. To reduce transport cost for commodities the highway was finally paved, and by 2012 most parts of it were in an acceptable condition."






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