Fantastic Foz de Iguassu

Iguassu Falls (Foz de Iguazu)

 I had thought about the falls but not where the town around them might be or what it was called so Foz de Iguazu was small, a little boring and unkempt to some extent.

However, nice friendly people, and a taste of real life again that I always want to experience.

My first experience was landing at the airport, in the evening, having to find my hostel in the town and take a bus – again with no map or language!  A pattern here that I learned to adapt to.

Waiting for the bus, once I had sorted my head around which of the two buses out I needed to take without the help of a map, I talked to a young man who turned out to be so helpful – not only to me, speaking English, explaining the bus route and where I needed to get off and even, at the other end, sorting out a teenager at the bus station going my way who took me to my hostel!   How lovely of them both!  He also helped another young woman on the bus and took her himself to where she was going, hence he found help for me.  NO need to, but was helping us all as he spoke English.

Once there, it was basic, not very friendly and open but corridors, clean, safe and breakfast bar with buffet each day.

I had to find my way on day one there to the falls on this side – Brazil, and tomorrow planning to get to Argentina – for the day, as you do!

I ate that evening at a restaurant around the corner, finding my way around by wandering, and eating in the meat served at the table style of a Manchester place called Bem Brasil which I now understand!   Various meats cut at your table, according to the green card you  are given, and when you don’t want it for now or any more, turn it to the red side and they don’t ask.

There are salads and side dishes buffet style, all for one price.   And they speak Portugese Brasilian Spanish!   So the waiters didn’t speak English, one a tiny bit, but we made friends and they taught me how to say thank you, please and such using the masculine-feminine requirements which was lovely of them!  Obrigado or Obrigada I learned from them!

I got the bus to the falls easily enough, and it was spectacular.  I was here because Becca and Ruth had told me to visit, unsure in the jungle where I was heading, and told me to do ‘both sides’ of the falls – so vast they stretch over two countries and yet you can see the people on the ‘other side’ from there too.   Bizarre!

Coati at Iguassu Falls (see below)

The second day I had to cross borders, which even after so long travelling I wasn’t ‘good at’.  I didn’t get off the bus with my passport as I should have on the way out as I didn’t understand the driver and another family of tourists sat in front of me were unsure too.  However, I survived even though I could have been in real trouble, when the young man on the return journey over the border -where I did get off – asked where my stamp was, I said I didn’t know, and he looked frustrated and then decided to let me go without a stamp back in either!  No doubt, saving effort and paperwork and I probably didn’t seem a threat thank heavens!

 

Advice?  Find out the details, a few key phrases to ask the drivers at the borders etc!!

Now, the Argentina side of the falls was simply AMAZING!  Just beautiful, awe-inspiringly huge – high and long – with so much water over the falls and along the rivers, it looked like it could swallow the earth!  Rainbows lay over the waters at times, the spray so high and damping everyone around there most of the time.  Falls so deep below and so far stretching along the cliffs to Brasil from the wooden walkways built from entrance to end, through woodlands and little furry beasts called coati who would bite and injure and poison you potentially so many signs warning not to feed or touch them.

Otherwise, they looked for food, wandering around the walkways, on the fence tops above the rivers, along the walls and nuzzling near the restaurants where weary workers tried to shoo them off all the time!

It was a long but lovely walk through the falls area in Argentina.  I had realised late that I needed money so the hostel gave me the money and I had to work out costs and coins to pay!  Another thing I rarely considered early enough at times but a habit in the airports to pick up some for at least day one or the whole stay there.

I liked Iguassu though, and my stay was nice if brief, and the restaurant, mall and banking new for me.  Not much else to see there.

My next trip was to move to Curitiba on my way to Rio de Janeiro in the east, near the coast.

Capybara Haven

The largest rodent in the world, the capybara, prefers a habitat of dense forestry and bodies of water. They live in social groups ranging from 20 to 100. Adults grow to about 20 inches tall and 4 feet in length, with brown-reddish fur. They feed on grass, tree bark, plants and fruit. Consuming their own feaces provides them with a source of bacterial gut floral that aids in digestion. Although they can live up to 10 years in the wild, they are prey to many predators. Their predators include anacondas, ocelots, jaguars, pumas, caimans and eagles.

 

 

Paraty beach touring!

9th May 2016  

I saved a fish today!  I was on a trip to the beaches ( really all one beach,,), walking along one with Jo the guide, she pointed out a beached fish gasping for water….so I picked it up, paddled in to the sea, and put it in deeper water but not above the waves and it scuttled off…😄

I was with three Brasilians, apparently sister and two brothers as I found by the end.  She wasn’t in great health and older, and her brothers helped her in and out the van, she sat and waited for them to do their thing and at the end, although we couldn’t communicate that well, guide and driver either, we had a chat and a giggle (and I tasted cachaca – banana fire water 😜!!). In the end, Carmen ‘loved’ me, and we hugged, and her brothers William … (very cool, cute too) and Sergio (funny and hidden English talent!) shook hands and Sergio said I was ‘very good company’ – as they were!   Such a nice easy day on lovely beaches with amazing waves!! Got knocked over twice so not the cool water babe I aim to be …🐠💦

Fresh water pool running from the waterfall, grey seas quite calm whilst some waves rose to 7ft high before crashing loudly onto the beach, at the foot of the 7ft high sandbank we were sat on!!

Carmen chuckled at how excited I was at the waves – my childish side again! 

Curitiba Culture

The cultural centre of Brasil, capital or Paranay, this is after all an interesting and pleasant city in South America. 

Exploring on the first day I found numerous small placas or park areas to sit, reflect a d watch the Brasilians go a out their daily life.  Apparently, a well planned city thanks to a three term mayor Faria, and the envy the world over, the residents have a better than average standard of living here, with cobbled pedestrian zones like Largo de Ordem for the Sunday craft market – the best Ive ever seen, with 1000 stalls, most unique with god quality crafted items I would love to have bought!  Live music on all corners, people sitting and listening, eating the wares of many sellers or sitting in the warm sunshine (at last!) with a berr outside the bars.  

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There is also the lively and bustling Saturday shopping on Rua XV Novembro, another cobbled pedestrian zone of shops, bars and cafes, street entertainers and street vendors.   Again, a few nice sunny or shady park areas to sit and rest, watch the world go by and still feel involved even on my own! 

I really enjoyed my stay in this city, even being unable to speak more than the odd word of either Spanish or Portugese, and even if I can ask I don’t understand the response!   The city tour too was good, 40 real for 2.5 hours  on a 46km tour of the centre and cultural spots.  You can get off and on four times for this but I chose to stay on and just look from the windy open top bus. Choose the sunny side for warmth!

My hotel, with deluxe en-suite double room that I didn’t query further in, was great!  A bit of luxury in a bed so comfortable it was like a cocoon once I doubled the furry bedcover over the single sheet, it was cosy too!

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Dead centre of the Historico Sector, on Largo de Ordem, my back room offered quiet to sleep, but looking from the dining room/lounge balcony, seeing the cobbled street, people walking or drinking, the busy stalls lining the street in Sunday, and food on my doorstep it was perfect! Such a lovely little city this is and one where the mayor really made things happen, and changed the culture and outlook as well as the economy for this city.  Or is that Sao Paulo?!

As I arrived later at night, I was left at the square by the taxi who sort of pointed the hostel out to me, but with tables and people sat around drinking in front of the door, at the bar below, I was confused!   I wandered up and down a couple of times, then a young man offered to help me and asked around in Spanish, then a guy sat at one of the tables noticed me and pointed to the door!  So helpful as ever.