A Travellerspoint blog

Iguaçu Falls

sunny 25 °C

After a very interesting 22 hour bus ride to Iguaçu Falls including moldy air conditioning, broken seat belts, broken smelly toilet and 2 hours of sleep; it was certainly a relief to arrive. I was convinced I would have picked up tuberculosis or some other horrific air borne disease from the bad environmental conditions on that bus but happily nothing came of it except a numb ass and disdain for Brazilian public transit. Apparently Brazilian buses are a luxury compared to buses in Peru and Bolivia...scary. Anyway the same day we arrived at 7am we headed straight onto more local buses to get across the Argentina border to Puerto Iguacu. This was not particularly difficult, the bus left us at the Brazilian exit point and we got stamped and then realized it was a 2 km hike to the Argentinan border. That day though was the first day of good weather we had seen in a week so we were happy to be in the light even if it including carrying our heavy bags. The crossing at the Argentinan border was relatively painless. The most trying part was the bathrooms which all appeared to be broken to varying degrees. I suspect however that we may have skipped a part of the border crossing process - we saw people walking through metal detectors and such but we had just walked right along. Perhaps all the chaos of big buses going through gave us a break.

Anyway we got to the hostel, Puerto Canoas, and it was pretty cool. Room was decent and there were hammocks outside. It was very colourful and we were lucky enough to be able to check straight into our room even though we were there at like 10am (normally you can´t book into a hostel till around lunch time). We had a bit of breakfast and then headed straight to the falls. We learned our lesson in Rio, never wait. If there´s good weather - do the sites. As much as you can. So straight to the falls, while the weather was beautiful. It was a long day but the falls themselves were amazing. Extensive and we walked quite a few trails in order to see it from several angles. What amused me the most were the animals though. I suppose through exposure to Niagara Falls, though not nearly as impressive, of a similiar mold, I was somewhat desensitized to the charms of waterfalls. The new and interesting animals though were great. We saw couti, some kind of cross between a a lemar and an anteater in appearance. Very cute. We saw some lizards that were either gigantic lizards or small komodo dragons. We saw a caiman, some sort of small alligator, so many butterflies, a toucan. It was great. Now that I definitely can´t see at home. Between the fabulous sunny warm weather, the friendly animals and the roar of the falls it made a great day.

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The next day we just lazed around and enjoyed the town which is very laid back. A bit touristy but still very quaint just the way a sleepy small town should be. Another fun 20 hour bus ride to Buenos Aires next.

Check out more pics here:
http://www.new.facebook.com/album.php?aid=74140&l=0b877&id=684816071

Posted by Janelle_B 13:02 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Rainy Rio

rain 20 °C

Well the rain and cloudy weather hasn´t stopped. At least we haven´t been robbed. I suspect the grim weather is keeping the thieves at bay...that and our expressions of glum angry depression. We visited Copacabana. The beach was deserted but you could tell in the sunlight it would be a supurb beach. The views of skyscrapers and rocky hills. The shopping area around it was quite active as well so we hung out there for a while. We also bought the tickets for our upcoming 22 hour bus ride to Iguazu Falls. I´m trying to not think of this bus trip because it brings on somewhat suicidal thoughts.

Today we´re going to visit the infamous Christ Redeemer and Sugar Loaf. I don´t expect to see much but you kind of have to do it.

Check out pics here:
http://www.new.facebook.com/album.php?aid=74140&l=0b877&id=684816071

Posted by Janelle_B 04:48 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Sao Paulo & Rio de Janeiro

Janelle

overcast 23 °C

Well the trip has finally begun! After a hellish 10 hour flight which despite the comforts of multiple movies, shows and three seats to stretch out across, was still miserable.

Steve was there to meet me at the airport and we headed by taxi to Hotel Columbia by a very expensive taxi ride. The taxi was rear-ended someone, my experiences have yet to improve when involving Brazilian taxi drivers. The hotel was fair and in the afternoon we strolled around while it was still light and had some food. We ended up in a restaurant that offered food by kilogram. So you can choose what you want and of how much. We tried quite a few things which were tasty but I would not be able to identify or name.

The hotel was nice and the breakfast which included papaya and melon was welcome.

We ended up choosing to go with the bus company 1001 to get to Rio. Mainly because it appeared to be the most popular. Seems like different ´levels´of buses leave at different times and for different costs. The bus we ended up on cost $78 Reais which was on an ´executive bus´which meant it had air conditioning and a certain level of reclination. The cheaper buses seem to leave only a couple times a day at awkward times and don´t have much in the way of comfort. The bus ride was fine at first but then half way the bus driver came in and said something in portugese that sounded suspicious and sure enough we ended up taking a detour through some small villages and when we came back onto the highway later it seemed like there was a huge backlog. We arrived in Rio almost two hours late - we were supposed to be picked up at 5.40pm by a taxi sent by the hostel we were staying in. Luckily he waited! We felt especially lucky when we saw the queue for the taxis at the bus station.

The hostel we´re is nice. We have our own room with a fan and temperature is not so humid that it´s stifling.

Our first day in Rio we did hang gliding. Which is supposed to be one of the ´things to do´. It was cloudy but apparently still a go. Now I´m not one for flying even so hang gliding shouldn´t really be on my menu. However I was more worried on the taxi ride there - with wild Brazilian driving keeping me on the edge of my seat. I was nervous when I looked over the edge of the cliff we were going to run off with little more than a oversized kite on our backs. The hang glider I was riding tandem with has 22 years experience so there was not much to worry about. It was like being a bird I suppose. Amazing views and quiet and tranquility. We glided for probably 20 minutes or so before we landed on the beach rather softly. All in all a great time.

We visited Santa Teresa later that day, taking a rickety ´bungee´ tram. Which has no railings and is accosted often by street urchins. Santa Teresa was a nice quaint area. The best part was the bookshop at the top of the hill with delicious cappuccino´s and the reggae/salsa band playing nearby. We listened to that till night time and enjoyed the famous local drink caipirhinas. Those simple moments of good music and drink was even better than hang gliding in my opinion.

Today it´s been raining on and off and from what I understand will be until after we leave - looks like we won´t be getting any lovely shots of Rio in the sun from the Sugar Loaf. We ended up at the Botanical Gardens which was quite beautiful and extensive. Surprisingly so. Next couple days we´ll be hitting Christ Redeemer, the Sugar Loaf, Copacabana beach and Ipanema Beach - should be good even with the grim weather.
Cheers

Posted by Janelle_B 17:17 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Welcome

semi-overcast 22 °C

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This is our trip plan to South America. 8 countries in 3.5 months. Starting on September 10th.
Original sized and a more extensive variety of pictures will be available here: http://picasaweb.google.com/berry.janelle

Keep an eye on this space from September 10th.

Posted by Janelle_B 12:27 Archived in Canada Tagged preparation Comments (0)

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