7 05 2008

Brazil has been an amusing interlude. Possibly more amusing for the locals – I still cannot speak a sentence in Portuguese. I still call it “Russian”. If they speak too fast to me, I reply with “Russian russianrussianrussian”. Honestly, some of the sounds are more Russian than Spanish. Stupid Australian – still only speaks English.

10kkmFrom Morretes we climbed up into the metropolis of Curitiba via a back road. It rained the day we went anyway, so the cobblestones were wet and slippery. There were only two maniac drivers that tried to skid off the road, the rest were more sedate. But the scenery was pretty good – possibly amazing without fog. Lots of rain forest. Too wet for many photos. Stefan and Sabine hit 10,000km. Well done… 10,000km more to go Sabine!

With barely a pause in Curtiba (ok, a few hours stop) the three of us jumped on a bus to Foz do Iguaçu at the border of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. A long bus ride and a day later we were still in overcast conditions. So we did the only rational thing – find a place to sleep and wait for the rain to go away. It did.

Paraguay borderSo the next day we went bargain hunting in Paraguay. The weather wasn’t nearly nice enough to go and visit the falls. The oddest thing about this day (apart from the utter chaos of Ciudad del Este in Paraguay) was the border controls. From Brazil to Paraguay there was exactly zero control. That was a bit odd, but it meant I could enter, take a look around, tick Paraguay (otherwise a big hole in the middle of the continent I hadn’t set foot in) and not need to worry about a new visa or the return to Brazil. Whew. Lucky.

Ciudad del Este was chaotic, and Stefan and I ran out of steam and patience before hunting down a bargain. I probably should have been looking for a camera. Eh. Canada is fast approaching. I think they have them there as well.

The border crossing into Argentina began as simply as the one in to Paraguay – we had to go and ask for an exit stamp from Brazil. Normally you could just exit without hindrance. The Argentinian side looked more like normal, with a propper border control. The catch phrase of the day was “Everything is better in Argentina”. This was backed up by the cost and quality of accommodation, the food, the wine, the language (I can understand something again!), pretty much everything. Although after a day of consideration, the consensus was “everything is better in Argentina, except for the breakfast, fruits and beach chicas”. You can’t have expect one place to have everything.

So in a spirit of inquiry, after a strenuous ride of 13km and a border crossing, we tried the Puerto Iguasu offerings. A kilo of Bife de Lomo (fillet steak) and sides, for three. Almost as good as out west in Argentina. Everything is better here. Life could be so hard. I’m really starting to put weight on. Not to worry: I’m sure I’ll lose it in Canada again.



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