Wednesday, 3 February 2010

DIARY - BRAZIL Foz do Iguacu

Trivia - Which is the second largest dam in the world?

MONDAY 1 FEBRUARY 2010 – You wouldn’t believe it, for the first time our bus gets in early, 6.15am instead of 7.00am.  Consequently nothing is open on arrival at the long distance bus station other than a cafe.   With no information available we figure we will make our way to the local bus station to connect with the bus to Argentina.  Boarding the bus we suddenly come to a high turnstile at the side of which is someone taking the money.  Balancing our bags whilst bouncing down the street I ferret around for the money to pay, R2.20 (£70p) pp.  Next we realise we cannot pass our bags through or under the turnstile so much to the amusement of the other passengers I squeeze through then Steve hauls the bags over to me.  At the bus terminal we soon find the stand, just outside, for the buses to Argentina.  We are both exhausted so after what feels like an hour waiting an no bus to be seen we consider stopping in Foz and visiting the Brazilian falls today.   Just down the street we can see “Pousada Sonho Meu” where they have nice rooms with TV & Air-con, a swimming pool and buffet breakfast.  The price should be R$120 (£42) but we negotiate the room for R$80 (28).  After a quick freshen up we take the bus out to the falls.  Entry for foreigners is
R$37 (£13) and with no queues we are soon on the bus taking us further into the park.  At the bus stop we are greeted by lots of coatis (a bit like racoons) hoping to scavenge food from the tourists.  We have been warned not to take any food out near them as they are accomplished thieves with sharp teeth – but do look cute.   
Setting out on the trail down towards the river we suddenly turn a bend and get our first view of the falls - an involuntary “wow” pops out of my mouth.  We are below the main falls and opposite an escarpment with dozens of small falls and a few really spectacular wide ones all surrounded by jungle.   

The further we walk the more breathtaking falls we see.  There are lots of butterflies around and some even land on us.  We have to laugh at a warning sign “do not overtake the banisters”!   At the end of the path we are directly below the huge falls known as “Garganta Del Diablo” (the devils throat) where you can take a walkway out to the centre.  Sorry Canada but in our opinion this is way better than Niagara and probably just a touch better than Victoria Falls.  There is a scenic lift taking you to the top of the falls where we get a different perspective.  Rather than go straight back to the hotel we change buses and go out to Itaipu Dam, the biggest in the world until recently overtaken by the new one in China.  I was hoping that we could just have a look at it but the visitor centre is so far before it you can see nothing without doing a tour.  The full tour R$37 (£13.50) is not an option as we are not wearing long trousers and closed in shoes and the viewing only is R$20 (£7) so we pass.   
Call in to “Super Muffato” supermarket and are amazed to see someone sit their small child on the conveyer but no one else bats an eyelid.  She even scrambles over the scales to get off!  Back at the hotel there’s a lovely swinging bed by the pool which lulls us both to sleep.  Spend the evening in the room watching TV.
Pousada Sonhon Meu, R$80 (£28)

Trivia answer - Itaipu dam between Brazil and Paraguay

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