Brazil me baby, here I come!

Trip Start Jul 06, 2005
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Trip End Mar 10, 2006


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Sunday, January 15, 2006

Hi! Yup, thats right, after BsAs damn near killed me with good times I`m feeling positively bursting with energy after getting back on the road, a couple of nights sleep, and on to a new country! Been quite a while since I`ve gotten a true culture shock but seems Brazil is going to provide it - between an entirely new language (try speaking Spanish, but as a drunken dutch person with a Russian accent) and some serious differences in culture we´ve been forced to resort to the age old backpacker mumbled phrase book language, hand signals and hopeful friendly smiles. Now, an important announcement!

I´m fat. And lazy. So´s Mark. We´re going into hard core prep mode for the Brazilian beaches and imposing some fairly strict (by previous standards) dietary and exercise requirements. So far so good! Two a day workouts and eating sensibly...of course its only been 24 hrs. If only we´d given ourselves more than 3 days before the beach...

Without further delay...

Last days in BsFnAs

Funny enough, after nearly a month there the end felt all a bit rushed. We all had things we still wanted to do, none of us had really planned the next step, and I for one had met a pretty cool Buenos Aires girl (Celeste).

We managed to make it out to the Madres de Plaza de Mayo protest, which has been going on every thursday in front of the government palace for nearly 30 years. Many of the mother´s protesting (now quite elderly), if not all, had children murdered or go missing during a brutal government crackdown which has never been properly addressed or discussed. A somewhat surreal experience and certainly a sobering one.

Did some last minute shopping as Brazil is more expensive (t-shirts and a rugby top), got our bus tickets together and loose itineraries laid out, and generally said goodbye to our beloved BsAs. Had met some BA girls outside a club (actually drunkenly chased them down 1) outside the club, 2) driving away in their taxi, and 3) returning a bit later...all three times thinking they were different girls.) and hung with them a bit the last week. Went out for some drinks and had them by the apartment a few times. As I had hit it off with Celeste in particular I spent my last night in BA with her for a couple of drinks and a MAJOR test for my español (5+ hours in ONLY spanish...es dificil, pero no es imposible!). Very nice, on my LAST freaking night in town of course. Timing, life´s all about timing.

Last day saw Alan jump on a bus for Bolivia, before Simon Paraguay bound, and lastly us up to the Brazil border. Kinda sad to see the BA crew split, although Simon will catch up with us in a matter of days, and Alan in a few weeks. Slammed the last bottle of mint in the park for good measure, and because no-one could be bothered to carry it...stuff goes down a little rougher over the course of three minutes flat, from the bottle, while completely sober in a public park. And we were off!

Iguazu Falls

First, its HOT, like really hot. Like cook an egg on the sidewalk hot. Sign today said 45 freaking degrees, at least 42 or 43. Hot.

Now, more importantly here we found some of the most impressive waterfalls anywhere on the planet - kick Niagara´s ass (so I hear, not having been). They have NOT disapointed, absolutely mind-blowing. They are on the Brazil/Argentina border and both sides have something to offer with the ability to get closer in Argentina and a better overall vista from Brazil.

Argentina Side

Simply stunning, I`ve never seen ANYTHING like it. The sheer force and power coming off these things is overwhelming, and combine that with some amazing jungle scenery and a bit of wildlife and you`ve got yourself an altogether cool little daytrip. You have to check the pictures to get it, so do that! Highlight for me was following Alaska´s advice and directions, and scrambling out of bounds to find a completely secluded, absolutely unreal, and apparently secret swimming hole. Waterfalls crashing all around, good places to jump in, brilliant sunshine and not a soul to be seen - too perfect. The day ended with a walk to the "Garganata del Diablo", or Devil´s Throat. You end up on a platform basically right over this just incredibly powerful and noisy waterfall, with the mist spraying up all around. Cooool.

Brazil Side

We rolled into Foz de Iguacu after maybe a 1 hour bus ride from the Argentinean side, border crossing a piece o´cake, secured a pretty dope little hostel, found somewhere to get some Brazilian currency, and hopped a bus to the falls. The falls themselves were a much shorter day today, which isn´t so bad considering that both days it was well over 40 degrees! You basically walk along the cliff on Brazil´s side of the river and falls, seeing everywhere you were the day before but from a much broader perspective. Again, awe-inspiring and LOTS of cool pics.

Onward

In our newly rediscovered traveller´s spirit we´re moving quick again, off to Paraguay´s Ciudad del Este tomorrow (essentially a massive pirated goods market disguised as a city). This is one of the dodgier corners of South America as Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay all share a border. Lots of money flying around, apparently lots of drugs, and TONS of counterfeit and/or stolen goods. Going to check it for a day and see what we can pick up, then blasting all the way to the coast for some beach and surf. Can, not, wait! Guess that´s about a wrap for now. I wish you all love, peace, and $30 iPods,

--Shawn

Para las personas que estan leyendo esto en ingles, muchos gracias! Cuidate y nos hablamos pronto.
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