Foz do Igauçu - unleashing our not-so-inner nerds

Trip Start Aug 11, 2009
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Trip End Sep 30, 2010


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Where I stayed
Hotel Villa Canoas

Flag of Brazil  , Paraná,
Wednesday, August 19, 2009

From the Argentinian side, it is a short bus ride (and a couple of passport stamps) across the border into Brazil. Where the Argentinian side feels like a small town (think tumbleweeds), Foz on the Brazilian side is 10 times the size and feels distinctly seedier and shabbier.

Our afternoon was spent at the much anticipated Itaipu dam - the second largest hydroelectric plant in the world (cue nerd noises). Not only were there opportunities to take photos of big power lines, here there were substations, transformers and a view from inside the plant of a spinning rotor. There was even a control room to keep me entertained.
As the Parana river is the border between Brazil and Paraguay, the plant is half owned by each country (complete with border lines marked on the floor, so you can stand in both countries at once). The dam itself is almost frightening in its size when you consider that it filled in only 2 weeks (admittedly in a well timed flash flood) and drowned 700km2 of forest as well as a set of waterfalls larger than Iguaçu.

The following day, we admired the view of Iguaçu falls from the Brazilian side, which was less impressive and thanks to the windy weather, distinctly wetter. We were entertained by the quatis though (like raccoons I think) who hassle the tourists for food.

We took a night bus on to Sao Paulo, where on arrival at 10am it somehow seemed like a good idea to book another night bus straight on to Ouro Preto. So we had a day wandering around the rather unnappealing Sao Paulo (the largest city we've been to so far). We found a 41 storey building for a view from the top, where it still looked like a huge shabby city all graffiti, peeling paint and homeless people. Not really looking forward to coming back.
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