Travel Through Brazil on a Harley-Davidson

By Peter & Kay Forwood

Brazil on a Harley (25/4/02 - 8/6/02)
Distance 7760 km (288482 km to 296242 km)

This is part of the eighth section of our around the world trip.
Complete Trip Overview & Map

Coming from  French Guiana
 

25/4/02 Slightly more organized here as cross river traffic has been occurring for a long time. The two border towns are 20 minutes apart by river pirogues. Again $25.00 to load, unload, and carry us and the bike. The bike more unstable in this boat and the river fast flowing particularly rounding a couple of bends made the journey in a tropical downpour a bit tense. We arrived at a sandy beach drenched to unload and get the motorcycle up the bank onto the road. No paperwork for the motorcycle and the Federal Police stamped our passports.Another river crossing another boat to load the bike in and out of It had now rained heavily for the previous two hours and we arrived at our hotel soggy.

26/4/02 220 km Oiapoque to Calcoene. This road was to be sealed a couple of years ago but somehow missed the budget. The reported all weather road didn't show any two wheel drive vehicles today, only buses, trucks and 4x4's. We moved along slowly crossing dozens of wooden bridges, through the Uaea Indigenous Area, forest and farmland, through some muddy holes but generally a reasonable dirt road for the wet. We stayed dry for the first 2/3's, but a torrential downpour had us soaked in a few minutes. It's too hot to wear wet weather gear, we would get wetter through perspiration. All the potholes now full disguising the shallow from the deep and with Riding the bike out of the muddy landing place up the wooden ramp rain speckled glasses the going for the last part was slow. We have become accustomed to being drenched and enjoy its beauty. The streams are full, water lilies flowering, air crisp and clean, countryside brilliant green and the cloud formations it brings with the sun shining through stunning.

27/4/02 Into wet clothes again. They have no chance to dry out overnight and with only two sets we need to keep one dry, and it was raining within 30 minutes of us leaving anyway. The road no better, in fact worse as there is more traffic to churn up the sandy loam and splash out deep potholes scattered across the road making them unavoidable. This lasted for about 150 km then all of a sudden beautiful asphalt, black top. The sandy loam used to make dirt roads in this area gives reasonable traction even when boggy but we realized it had sand papered away our brake disc pads to the metal in less than 1000 km.The road muddy but good traction, a lot of sand mixed in the clay We only noticed the squeak when back onto asphalt and luckily caught the problem before too much damage to the actual rotor discs had occurred. By this time the rain had cleared so with only mosquitoes and sandflies to bother us we replaced the pads roadside surrounded by plantations of pine trees and eucalyptus, a little incongruous in the Amazon. Tired and dirty we arrived in Macapa.

28/4/02 On our arrival in Macapa yesterday a group of locals had approached us, a couple from the local newspaper and their friends, led us to some accommodation and showed us around town, a great welcoming. Today we washed the mud off ourselves, clothes and the motorcycle plus an oil change before being taken to lunch. It seemed everyone was out with family this Sunday. Brazil with a young population very vibrant. People swimming and boating on the Amazon, lunching and drinking on the waterfront and playing football (soccer) at the Equator stadium.Finally on asphalt, muddy bike and rider This field straddles the equator with one team's side in the Northern Hemisphere and the other's in the Southern. We popped over to the Southern hemisphere for lunch as well as to arrange a boat across the mouth of the Amazon to Belem. Unfortunately a large one leaves tomorrow or a three day wait for the next one, so our rest has been short lived.

29/4/02 We had arranged a price for us and the motorcycle with the boat's agent yesterday but surprise, surprise, today the price had increased. Gil, the local man who had been showing us around yesterday and negotiated the price for us was horrified that this was how business was being done here. We of course had been through this many times before with boat operators and agents. On principal we refused to renegotiate the price and instead found a smaller boat leaving in the evening with a more honourable agent. All the boats here are wooden, mostly two stories, with a cargo hold and engine room below deck.Boats plying the Amazon River supplying and collecting produce We rode the motorcycle onto the bow at high tide and settled in on our mattresses on the deck. About a dozen other passengers slung hammocks and our small group departed at 6 pm to watch a magnificent sunset and tropical lightning storms into the evening.

30/4/02 It turned out that our boat was the all stops to Belem, a passenger cargo boat. We stopped a couple of times during the night to disembark passengers and awoke to find ourselves in narrow waterways with rain forest on either side. Small wooden huts dotted the banks and we spotted a manatee and two dolphins during the day. Unfortunately the main industry in the area was logging the forests. The logs being cut and floated down the many narrow channels to the nearest mill and sawn into planks. The off cuts milled into broom handles which ended up being our cargo. It took three hours at a larger village, strung out along the river with a boardwalk between houses the only dry area, for us to load the thousands of broom handles into the hold.Locals huts perched on the edge of the Amazon Children swam and climbed on the boat to dive into the water, their only playground. These low lying islands regularly flood at high tide and during heavy rains. Our boat provided basic meals and we settled into another night on the deck.

1/5/02 We awoke to being the only passengers left on board and thought how lucky we had been taking the slow boat rather than the express with a 100 or more passengers. Our 400 km journey winding across the 200 km wide island strewn tidal delta of the Amazon mouth a magnificent experience. The boat had moved into increasingly larger waterways with larger shipping and barges before reaching the almost incongruous high rise city of Belem standing above the surrounding flatness. This city of over 1 million our largest since leaving Venezuela. We had to wait three hours for the tide to rise enough to unload the motorcycle, watched them manually unload the broom handles, then rode the motorcycle off the bow of the boat and to our hotel, surprisingly tired after two days of doing nothing on the boat.Unloading the bike from our boat, a timber carrier, at the timber yard

2/5/02 Kay had contracted a stomach bug so it was a hang around day doing small jobs. We did manage a walk to the newly revamped waterfront still marvelling at the enormity of this river. 6000 km long, draining from eight countries and carrying 20% of the world's fresh water. The tidal effect can be felt 500 km upriver and it is navigable for over 1000 km's more. The really amazing fact is that the water is still fresh 250 km's off shore, its volume pushing back the ocean's salt water. Belem is a bustling city on a working day with the majority of city centre streets lined with small stall sellers. There are a few beggars but most people seem to have found a small business niche. Whether it is a parking assistant and guard in the street or a distributor of pamphlets or selling one of the thousands of items people with money might want to buy.

3/5/02 Kay still not well and stayed near the bed all day. We have been having computer problems since contracting a virus a month ago and it completely died when we tried to start it after the bad roads of last week. However with nothing else to do today and much perseverance it finally jumped into life. Ran a bunch of tidy up programs so fingers crossed it may keep running. I am not sure if computers are a complete waste of time or just a waste of time.

4/5/02 Another day at the hotel for Kay but things improving. I upgraded the music library on the computer. Brazil has pirated CD's everywhere, not even trying to disguise their origin, about 1/6th the price of the originals.

5/5/02 We had to move today, Kay feeling a bit better. 550 km to Bom Jardim. One of those small towns split by the highway with just one hotel. The locals friendly enough but cautious of people on big motorcycles. Nothing was happening on this Sunday afternoon so everyone turned out for the funeral parade then went back to watching the traffic roll through town. I ate some bits of an indescribable animal, with bones I  have never seen before, from a local street stall. It tasted like a cross between fish and chicken.

6/5/02 Another 550 km's through Teresina and onto the national park de Seti Cidades. The roads so far in Brazil a disappointment. Bouncy, potholes, rough and where repaired poorly done. With petrol prices so high at $US0.80 cents a litre and travelling long distances we are eating up the budget with fuel. The rest of the costs here are surprisingly cheap. Brazil has for a long time had a reputation of an expensive country to travel but with the devaluation of its currency and low inflation prices are 1/3 cheaper for food and accommodation than suggested in our guide book. We are moving out of the wet areas and have arrived at our hotel for the last two nights dry, a pleasant change. The countryside, rolling hills with vast distances between anywhere.Seven Cities National Park, unusual land formations of weathered rocks

7/5/02 The Seven Cities National Park is an unusual land formation of weathered rock leaving behind sandstone formations. Not grand in itself but in its location surrounded by nothing but rolling hills these pinnacles stand out. We were the only people staying at the park run hotel, with its modern facilities and restaurant and enjoyed the economical luxury for the two nights being waited on by the overabundance of staff.

8/5/02 There always seems to be a few small jobs to be done on the motorcycle these days as well as a couple of larger ones pending time and parts. We cleaned the slate of many smaller ones this morning but the swing arm bushes need replacement as well as the steering head bearings. Hopefully these two jobs will wait till the beginning of the next trip when we can get parts easily. Meanwhile we will have to try and avoid the worst roads along the way to Buenos Aires. Just 140 km to the Ubajara National Park.

9/5/02 A cable car runs to the bottom of the rocky, tree covered cliffs to a limestone cave. Three long waterfalls drop off the escarpment and we enjoyed the cooler temperatures at 750 metres altitude. Our hotel is again empty, midweek out of season, it's restaurant seemingly just for us.

10/5/02 Dodged potholes and dodged trucks dodging potholes as they weaved all over the road with little regard for motorcyclists. The roads gradually improved near Fortaleza and further south to Mossoro, 560 km, for today. Brazil seems to be that great melting pot of "coffee coloured people". The Portuguese freely mixing with  the Indians plus some black Africans and other Europeans has made an almost raceless society without preconceived colour distinctions.

11/5/02 Better roads today, improving all the time as we head south. 470 km to Joao Pessoa. Brazil is a big country. We have travelled over 3000 km here and it seems as if we have only just dented the map. We are now at Praia Tambau about the easternmost point on the continent. They say there are about five different Brazils. Amazon, Centre, Coast, out West and the Cities of the South. For the three areas we have visited they are certainly different, in people's attitudes, wealth and therefore outlook.Relaxing in a hammock, invented by the local indian population

12/5/02 The hammock is truly a part of life in this country. They start swinging in it from conception to birth, as a cradle, a bed, sling in beneath trucks, on boats, on beaches and under verandas. Every hotel room has hammock hooks as well as beds just in case you prefer the hammock wrap around security blanket or as extra beds for the children. Some are made functionally, others elaborately decorated with lace. Single ones or doubles, lightweight or heavily woven they are everywhere. Brazil is also a country of motorcycle culture. Small road bikes are used as taxi's, cheap transport and as a work horse. But it is only the last few days that we have been seeing larger motorcycles, fun machines. In wealthier areas and owned by the wealthier population these highly taxed imported vehicles are expensive. Clubs, exclusive, small and large of multi brand motorcycles with their own badges, patches, bandanas, T-shirts etc. are springing up around this culture. We were welcomed to a friendly local gathering yesterday over a beer on the beach front followed up today with a magnificent sunset ride and great company and dinner at the local mall. The Brazilian genuine friendliness and willingness to help and be generous everywhere. Advice on roads and must see sights on our trip south along with genuine interest in our past trip.

13/5/02 What is it in man's makeup that allows him to help someone who doesn't need it while rejecting someone who does. As has happened many times on our trip, we as total strangers are often taken to dinner or shouted drinks. At the same time beggars will approach our hosts and be rejected. We are more likely to help someone perceived as being important than someone perceived to be in need. Watched the weekend disappear as those who were out drinking, eating and partying are now out pounding the pavement walking off the weekend's excesses.

14/5/02 100 km's down to Olinda, Brazil's first capital and now a historic city. Many of the buildings date from the early 1500's, soon after the first arrivals from Portugal. A local's tourist spot with artisans shops and stalls everywhere selling mainly religious "artefacts", most old buildings here being either church or convent. We are into the coastal city sprawl, one city almost reaching the next, particularly along the highway.

15/5/02 We passed the 10 degrees south mark below the equator and realize the tropical climate is rapidly changing and it is mid May heading into winter. The tropical downpours are gone replaced by steady rain or drizzle. Kilometre after kilometre of sugarcane, tall having run up to seed.Locals protest, blocking the road, in rain, eventually we were allowed to pass Small mud and grass huts roadside, three or four such shanty villages, trucks lined up and then the logs across the road, a road block. From what we can deduce the cane cutters are on strike and since midday yesterday they have blocked the main North/South highway 101 to all traffic. They are settled in for a long wait, now holding up a couple of hundred trucks each side of the roadblock. We rode to the front and received a friendly welcome from both the truckers and protesters. Peacefully they stood facing each other, there were no police or military to be seen, just a couple of reporters from the local newspaper. For an hour, standing in the rain, we were refused permission to pass despite repeated requests from the truckies, approaches from ourselves, explanations that we were not Brazilian and just tourists, that we would put this protest on the internet. Another large branch was cut and added to the pile of road block which seemed to inflame the tempers of the truckies, some had been here now for 24 hours. Opponents amassed either side of the logs and we decided it might be time to depart. Amongst the heated discussions that followed there was a change in attitude towards us and suddenly we were allowed to pass through the road block. It seems both sides now agreed it was not our fight and it was the hospitable thing to do. In some way this lessened the tension and with friendly handshakes we continued, onto a small roadside hotel for the night.

16/5/02 The television, in our $US 8.00 a room hotel complete with hot shower and air conditioning, confirmed that we are being followed around South America by a rain cloud. Soon after we left this morning it started raining again and was raining steadily as we were about to cross the Sao Francisco River at Propria. A train track merged with our lane and despite slowing and crossing the first rail the second one took the front wheel and we went down hitting the asphalt at about 40 km/hr. Kay received cuts to the back of her hand and a grazed elbow and we both had sore hips. But the impact had also pushed the corner of Kay's glasses frame into her eyebrow giving a nasty Y shaped cut requiring stitching. The crash bars on the motorcycle collapsed wrapping them onto the footboard and preventing rear wheel braking. A couple of cars stopped and after recovering and straightening the bars a bit we rode to the hospital in Propria where Kay received 4 stitches. Straight to a hotel for a rest for Kay and a welding shop for me to straighten the crash bars and weld a couple of strengthening pieces. It annoyed me having crossed so many wet slippery railway tracks before to be caught by this one.

17/5/02 Awoke with sore muscles wrenched from holding on as the bike hit the ground. But the sunny day tempted us out for the 400 km ride to Salvador da Bahia. A new road "linha verde" for the last 250 km from Estancia, no trucks, no potholes, no traffic, a joy to be able to just cruise along looking at the scenery. Salvador, one of Brazil's gems, has a rejuvenated old city centre brought back to its peak like it was 300 years ago when sugar cane made it wealthy. Today it's the old world charm that attracts local and foreign tourists, upmarket shops, the arty crowd and touts. The city sponsors street bands and you can't walk more than one small block without encountering different music, predominantly the African, South American mix reflecting the people in the area. After dinner, a show, a couple of street performances, our hotel overlooked another band, it was ear plugs to sleep, the last music dying away as the sun rose.

18/5/02 The muscles still sore and the gravel rash grazes tightening up as they heal. The head hurts from the beer and it's no fun getting old. Brazil doesn't seem to have moved to noise pollution laws yet with the purpose built vehicle boom boxes blaring out messages of coming events or sales, to the loud music all night from nearby bands. We strolled the city with a Saturday morning bustle, vibrant as everywhere here. In the evening out again with more street performances of drums or belly dancers and local singers in the largoes (squares).

19/5/02 Still really enjoying the people, facilities, breakfasts and prices in Brazil. After a stroll around the churches, now open for Sunday service we headed 430 km inland to the town of Lencois. Along a bumpy but acceptable road. Truck traffic lighter but we find the need for trucks to stop at each state border antiquated in a world of free trade. The police presence seems only to be at road blocks on the edges of towns where they sit in comfortable chairs diverting vehicles to slowly pass and occasionally stopping one. Their road block is usually surrounded by damaged accident vehicles, some having been there for years rusting away. There is no police presence on the highways between road blocks and outside tourist towns we almost never see a policeman. Brazilians inform us that the police here are useless if you have a problem.Our accommodation in Lencois

20/5/02 Lencois is one of those small country towns that time forgot, at least till a few tourists discovered it. With a mountain stream dividing the town and surrounded by forests, and waterfalls off the escarpment in a cool winters climate it is an idyllic town with old world charm. The people are as yet unspoilt by tourism, happy to make a few extra dollars but not fighting each other for a larger share of the wealth. Touts and beggars are nowhere to be seen and artisans are plentiful in their shops. It's not the town that people come here for but the surrounding attractions and walks. The river flows over some lovely conglomerate rock carving tunnels and whirlpools. The wind has eroded cave overhangs where different coloured sands are collected for natural coloured paintings and of course the waterfalls. We walked to the above attractions in the morning, rested in the afternoon and watched the town close quietly in the evening.

21/5/02 It's a town where foreigners come for a day, stay for a week, some getting lost here forever. An occasional German 16 yrs or Swiss national 3 yrs, marrying locals or just falling in love with the surroundings. Another walk today to a natural water slide over the conglomerate rocks into a pool. May is a quiet time and we are the only ones again in our pousada (small hotel), getting individual treatment and breakfast served just for us.

22/5/02 We had been told of a motorcycle rally just north of Rio de Janeiro that starts in a couple of days. So with only a beach in our plans, beaches are everywhere here, we decided to head straight down south for the rally. 600 km to a pousada attached to one of the enormous truck stops that dot the highway.

23/5/02 We are travelling the 116, a pretty good road, along with all of the trucks. There are more trucks than private cars on the roads here. This inland road passes through some magnificent scenery as it winds its way south. Never really out of the mountains with massive granite rock formations dotting the scenery, then further south, klm's of bright green coffee plants cover the rolling hills. 650 km's to some obscure town and another cheap comfortable pousada at a petrol station. Accommodation here available, accessible, cheap and comfortable.

24/5/02 Just 320 km and we are at the town of Itaborai, just north of Rio.Putting on a donut display at the Itaborai motorcycle rally Set near the ocean we had to descend from the mountains. A truly magnificent arrival with more granite peaks in temperate forests dropping to the coastal plains. The 116,  now without trucks, they take a different route, almost ours alone in the mountains. Itaborai is where the bike rally is being held. All the hotels are full but the manager of one vacated her room for us, at a price of course. We are in the city now, a different Brazil, people have less time, therefore less friendly, more motivated to making money, therefore more rip offs, more people without money, therefore more potential theft.

25/5/02 The bike rally was totally different from any we have been to. All bikes and sizes were here. All aged riders. Many too young to have a license riding mainly beginner bikes, 50 cc step throughs and small trails. They were doing tricks and stunts on them in the street surrounding the park where most of the stalls were set up. Wheelies and donuts mostly and amazingly enough burn outs. There were many clubs and some took turns in a closed off area to show off what they could do on motorcycles.Fernando Valsesia, around the world on his Honda ST 1100 The earlier twenties age group had bigger bikes, noisier, and again performed smokier burnouts, destroying the rear tyre and probably damaging the engine. The older groups had mostly cruising bikes to just look at. The bigger imported bikes here are very expensive. The noisy rock band pretty similar to most venues along with the beer drinking. We strolled the street stalls and came across Fernando Valsesia, an Argentinean, selling silver jewellery to finance his trip around the world on his Honda ST 1100. He has been travelling now for 7 years visiting 40 countries on his 260,000 km journey. Needing to finance his trip as he goes he has had to work at many different things, mostly selling, even writing peoples names on grains of rice.

26/5/02 The rally continues today but we decided we would like to see Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana Beach in full swing on a Sunday afternoon. Sunny and with half the road closed off it seems everyone was out walking, bike riding, roller blading, playing volley ball or soccer on the sand or roadway. Palm tree and drink stall lined, this 4 km beach has the tropical feel despite being back dropped by high rise buildings and being one of the most densely populated cities of the world. Buskers came out in the afternoon and musicians in the evening when people would dance in the streets to the rhythmic music.Copacabana beachside sellers

27/5/02  The streets behind the beach front are full of things that only those with a surplus of money think they need. A variety of foods, clothes and jewellery. Bustling now that it is Monday with buses roaring and taxi's blocking traffic while waiting for fares. After clothes washing, internet, we visited the H-D dealer here. A small shop with incredibly expensive motorcycles and without the parts we need to fix our swing arm and front suspension so it will be slowly to Buenos Aires and hopefully the worn parts will last.

28/5/02 It was a relaxed morning bus ride into town, a ferry across the bay to Niteroy and back and a walk around the city with its old buildings and street sellers. Rio has kept its appeal, despite overpopulation, by having an open park and beach front area without buildings. You can drive the freeway with almost uninterrupted views of park, beach and ocean, from the city centre for over 10 km south. We walked down onto Copacabana Beach in the evening to sit at the ocean and listen to the BBC on radio. The 4 km of beach is flood lit and people are about walking and jogging, sitting on the sand and playing football. We had only been there for a few minutes when someone asked us for the time and while I was looking at my watch he drew a knife threatening me. Two others came from behind, one holding Kay down and the other pushing me over, looking for valuables. While I wrestled with the man with the knife in the sand my wallet was lifted by the other man and within a minute they were gone. They had no time to remove watches or any interest in the radio. A girl jogging in the area immediately called the police but the three had run along the waters edge out of sight. The wallet had only $US 25.00 but the usual cards and drivers license you often debate is it safer with us or in the hotel room. We oscillate between the two and obviously should have left them in the hotel this time. The tourist police were helpful, taking a statement over an hour, but little hope of getting anything back, a seemingly placating tokenism for tourists. When we phoned to cancel the credit card it had already been used, just 30 minutes after the robbery, a $US 300 purchase, which Mastercard said should be refunded. Our laws in Australia very much with the cardholder when fraud is involved. So it took 50 years to get mugged, without injury or great financial loss, might we be so lucky for the next 50 years.30 metre high statue, Cristo Redentor, Rio's famous landmark

29/5/02 The enormous 1000 ton, 30 metre high statue, Cristo Redentor, Rio's famous landmark, stands atop an equally impressive 700 metre high mountain as a backdrop to the city. We rode the winding mountain road to the top through quiet forests to be met by hoards of tourists coming up via the cog railway. The views from the top spectacular, city and coastal, beaches with islands offshore and ships and bridges in the bay. Our wet weather gear had been worn to uselessness and after buying new sets today the old ones were given to street sleepers. Maybe they will help keep out the wind.

30/5/02 With only one day to the start of the World Cup and Brazilians being obsessed with soccer today's Corpus Christi holiday was spent selling or buying all the sorts of nationalistic soccer paraphernalia. Flags, hats, T-shirts, bandanas, streamers, mascot dolls, shorts, badges and stickers. Almost anything someone might buy to show their support for the team and country. The streets are being decorated with streamer banners and our street is painted depicting the players at a game. I don't think the country's productivity will be very high over the next month with partying and late night game watching. We had a quiet day catching the sunshine and surf at the beach with the other holidayers.

31/5/02 We left the good and the bad Rio behind choosing to take the coast road south. On this sunny, balmy, almost winter's day, riding around or over rocky headlands dividing magnificent sandy beaches fronting turquoise waters, was fantastic.Beachside scene With a good road and little traffic this has to rate as one of the most scenic and enjoyable rides we have done. Stopped at one fishing village, right on the sandy beach for a drink and olives, another town for lunch and stayed waterfront in our out of season 2 bedroomed, two stories, three bathroom apartment overlooking a bay and islands, $US 10.00.

1/6/02 The days are shortening, with just 11 hours of daylight, riding time. A morning thunderstorm moved across our bay and headed into the mountains also delayed our departure. We followed the coast again, not as beautiful and with more traffic coming from Sao Paulo for the weekend. Past the industrial town of Santos and onto Peruibe for the night. The coastal strip now totally built up, destroying as elsewhere what people originally came here for. They aren't making anymore coastline and the increasing population is spoiling what we have.

2/6/02 Goodbye to the coast. Again great riding roads and weather, particularly the new dual highway to Curitiba winding through mountains. Dotting the roadsides all over Brazil are the "road walkers" or swagmen as Australians would call them. With hair and beard unkempt, old and dirty looking clothes and a bag of their entire belongings, they walk the highways. We have seen some collecting roadside empty drink cans but presume most live off the land, beg or do a few odd jobs for food. Our perfect day had a hiccup when after carrying a spare clutch cable for 6 years we finally needed it. The original broke at the lever and took us 90 minutes to replace, quite involved on a H-D. 600 km today and just 400 km short of Iguasu Falls.

3/6/02 An uneventful ride through green rolling hills. Another "Rodizio" lunch, a Brazilian highlight. A buffet where different cuts of meat are charcoal flame rotisseried, brought to your table and portions hot cut directly onto your plate. Eat as much as you can. Iguasu Falls is suffering severely from the devaluation of the Argentinean currency as tourists are no longer coming to the Brazilian side of the falls. Tourist touts took us to a half usual priced hotel, and as often is the case, cheaper than the hostel or pousadas.

4/6/02 Australians, Canadians and New Zealanders need visas for Paraguay. Despite it now being considered a democracy, away from the dictator years that ended in 1989 we still had unusual requirements to obtain a visa. On the form were the need for eye colour, height and a thumb print. The cold but reasonably efficient consulate had us our visas the same day at $US 45.00 each.The Argentinian side of the Iguasu Falls

5/6/02 At the embassy yesterday we had met a few travellers from a Dragoman overland truck. They invited us to join them for a day trip to the Argentinean side of the falls. Other than taking our passports there are no cross border formalities for day visits. Having not been to the bottom of either Victoria or Niagara Falls we took the speed boat ride into the foaming waters right at the base of the main falls. These powerful boats duck the bow under the waterfall ensuring everyone on board gets wet. The falls themselves also the most impressive of the "big three" we have visited. Now in full water they extend almost endlessly along the escarpment giving amazingly beautiful views from any of the many viewpoints along the catwalks.

6/6/02 It's winter and everyone around us has colds. We also have colds, so it is a rest day.

7/6/02 The Brazilian side of the falls today. Whether it was the people we were with, the sunny weather or the first impressions I don't know but we found the Argentinean side more picturesque. Seeing Iguasu Falls form anywhere though is impressive and with drizzling rain the atlantic forests with its toucans and coati's it was a pleasant day.

8/6/02 It's a sad goodbye to Brazil. A top country, friendly people, plenty to see and do and at the moment economical. We joined the Saturday morning rush across the border. Brazilians buying cheaper Paraguayan goods and petrol. Paperwork done in 10 minutes and we were out of Brazil.
 

Move with us to Paraguay
 

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