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  #151  
Old 6 Dec 2012
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The Adventure Begins... Concepcion... A Port Town Along The River Paraguay


I visited the town of Concepcion that lies along the Paraguay River.

Concepción is a city in northern Paraguay and capital of the Concepción Department. Throughout the town there were examples of colonial style architecture such as this government building.

Founded by a Spanish Governor, named Agustín Fernado de Pinedo, the town prospered in the early years of the 20th century, as a centre for the north of the country, exploiting the new wealth of the Gran Chaco, and a river port. On a number of the street corners there were large houses that at one time were occupied by the wealthy merchant families.

Today, Concepcion is a bustling little town with an active market.

The town was also a centre for the Paraguayan Civil War of 1947. I visited the Museo Municipal (Municipal Museum) which contained items from the Civil War and Chaco War.

There were various maps on display that demonstrated the territory and the changes in the territory before and after the wars.

There were also some artifacts from the indigenous groups that have lived around the area.

Concepcion is located along the Paraguay River. There were barges moving up and down the river carrying all types of goods. I took a walk along the river and saw a barge being unloaded by the dock workers. The workers one by one were carrying large bags of goods on their shoulders from the boat across a plank to a cargo truck on the shore. It was a rudimentary manner of moving the goods, but for me it made a nice visual image.

After walking around the town, I enjoyed a meal of chicken and yuca in a small restaurant. The food was okay, but what I found interesting was that the owner of the restaurant simply parked his motorcycle inside the dining area of the restaurant. Got to love it.

I thought that I would show a little love to my motorcycle. Emi was dirty from riding all the dirt roads in El Chaco, so I decided to have her cleaned up at a local car wash.

It seemed like everyone in Concepcion commuted by motorcycle. The majority of the motorcycles that I saw on the road were small, either 125cc or 250cc, motos made in China. This motorcycle store was receiving and unloading a new shipment of motos.

I saw this new three wheel sport utility moto that I thought was nice.

And the old school version. There were a number of horse drawn wagons in Concepcion used for transporting goods and people.
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  #152  
Old 6 Dec 2012
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The Adventure Begins... La Laguna Blanca... Red Sand to White Sand

While I was in Bolivia I heard from another traveler that there was a nice nature area to visit in Paraguay called La Laguna Blanca. I made a mental note and promised myself that if I was near the area I would try to visit it. While in Concepcion I tried to look for information about La Laguna Blanca. I asked a few locals, but they had not heard of the area. I searched online and found a little information.

The google map was not too helpful. I was in Concepcion (point A) and wanted to go to Laguna Blanca (point B). It indicated that there was no road reaching La Laguna Blanca from highway 3.

I searched around a little bit more online and found these written directions... "From the crossroad at Santa Rosa del Aguaray take a 27 kilometers long pebbled road towards East. In dry weather the trip can be made in car; otherwise it should be made in high-clearance vehicles." Hmmm... I thought that Emi, my motorcycle, could be considered a high-clearance vehicle... she has a suspension with10 inches of clearance.


I also found this map from the Rancho Laguna Blanca website. I was pretty sure that the map was not to scale, but it had some nice landmarks (puentes, agua, porton) for reference.

So with these three pieces of information I would try to triangulate my way to La Laguan Blanca. And, if some of you are wondering, my GPS was useless when I tried to locate La Laguna Blanca.

Just as the google map indicated, there was an asphalt highway from Concepcion to the town of Santa Rosa. I stocked up on some groceries at one of the local stores. I had trouble finding the crossroad that would lead to the pebbled road, so I stopped and asked a couple of people for directions.

When I ask for directions I always like to ask at least two different people... just to confirm. The first person that I asked gave me some hand signals and directions. The second person that I asked was a motorcyclist. He gave me some hand signals and directions and said that he was heading in the same direction. So off we went.

The pebbled road was actually more of a dirt and sand road. The sand was a rich red color...quite stunning next to the green vegetation of the countryside. It had been raining over the past few days, so the road was not in the best of conditions. Most of the puddles were only an inch deep, but some of the puddles were a foot deep. I tried to ride around most of the big puddles. Just as the written directions had indicated... "for high-clearance vehicles".

And, just as the graphical map indicated, I would pass over a number of bridges. The bridge in this photo was in relatively good condition compared to some of the other bridges. I rode quickly over the bridges so that I would not fall through the cracks.

I eventually came across a sign and intersection. I actually passed this intersection at first and had to double back after riding a few miles.

I rode down this winding dirt road and would disappear into the forest.

The narrow path that led through the forest was fun. It was muddy and filled with puddles, but Emi seemed to handle it well.

At one point along this path, I came across a gate. See the yellow things along the side of the road.

There were hundreds of yellow butterflies waiting by the gate to welcome me into the park. They fluttered by in salute.

I eventually arrived at La Laguna Blanca. From red sand to white sand.

This beach umbrella and lounge chairs were beckoning me.

I found a place to park my bike, set up camp, ate dinner and watched the sun disappear on the horizon.

The next morning I was greeted by this little guy. He was the pet of the park ranger. After I fed him some of my food he would follow me everywhere.

I met some other travels at the park. They were a friendly group of South Africans. After being in Paraguay for about two weeks, these were the first international travelers that I had met. We went on a few nature hikes and shared a few meals.

Over the next few days I would explore the area around the laguna. It did rain on and off.

The water of the laguna was very clear. It was a bit cold at first, but nice to swim in. I tried my luck at fishing, but was unsuccessful.

The area around the laguna consisted mainly of low lying forests and scrubs. There was not anything in the surroundings that grabbed my attention and that I would call super amazing.

But in the details there was a beauty that I would call graceful.

The texture of the fungus on a tree limb.

The intricate abstract design of a termite mound.

The rustic patterns of tree bark.

The delicate layers of fungus...

Fungus...

And more fungus... among us.

I could look to the sky and see birds soaring above me.

I could look to the ground and find an hormiga (ant) the size of a bottle cap.

There were tracks of animals with hoofs like small deer.

There were markings from animals with claws like raccoons or anteaters.

And there were traces of animals like this... with big paws the size of a fist... perhaps from a puma or jaguar.

In this area, metaphorically there appeared to be many things hidden under layers and layers. I felt as if I was just scratching the surface. I spent three days camping in La Laguna Blanca. It was a solitary place... a peaceful place... a reflective place. However, I needed to move on.

I waited for a moment when the rain would subside, then departed La Laguna Blanca. I left the white sand for the red sand. I would make my way back down the muddy road.

The road was in worse condition that when I had traveled it previously. Progress was slow.

A funny thing happened.

I stopped at this point to take a photo of the muddy road and this particular puddle. To me the puddle appeared to be pretty deep. There was no room on the right nor left side to ride around the obsticle. Just after I took this photo a small truck pulled up behind me. The driver stopped briefly and glanced at me to see why I was waiting by the side of the road. He took a quick look at the puddle and then accelerated. He passed halfway across the puddle, but on the outbound side of the puddle his truck bogged down. The level of the water was probably knee high. He had lost his traction and was spinning his wheels. The truck was only 2 wheel drive and not 4 wheel drive. The water was deeper than the axles of the truck. Water soon started entering the interior of the cabin. He glanced back at me with a puzzled look. He kept his foot on the accelerator, but he kept digging his wheels deeper into the mud. He opened up his window and called out to me. He asked me if I would push him through the puddle. I wanted to help the guy, but I was not looking forward to it.

I knew that it would be a wet and muddy proposition. I was already dirty on the outside of my riding gear from riding through the mud, but I did not want to get my boots, socks and pants completely immersed in the water and mud.

I paused to think for a moment... then acted. I quickly dismounted my motorcycle and stripped off my riding gear... jacket, pants, boots and socks. I rolled up my pants and waded through the water and mud. I started to push the truck while the man accelerated. We were not very successful. After about a minute... his truck stalled. Water had entered either the exhaust or engine. Water had entered the cabin. He was stuck. He climbed out of his truck, waded through the water and settled on the dry ground. We looked at each other for a moment in despair.

We chatted for a while. He thanked me for trying to help. He called someone on his phone for assistance. He said that they would come by later. I asked him if he would be okay if I continued on my journey. He said that he would be okay.

I did notice that he was packing an automatic pistol, something like a Glock 9. I felt like he would be okay on his own.

To give myself the best chance of riding through the puddle, I first waded through the water to find a high spot. The best route that I could find was still about a foot under water and with loose mud.

I put back on my riding gear, started up my motorcycle and said a little prayer.

I twisted Emi's throttle... she bolted forward... slush... slush... slush... back wheel moving... back wheel spinning... play with the clutch... a little more throttle... slush... slush...slush... keep the front wheel strait... back wheel sliding... play with the clutch... a little more throttle...slush... slush...slush... varooooom! Out of the puddle. And that is why Emi is so amazing.

The adventure begins... when the road ends!

I looked back at the stranded truck driver. He waived at me. I waived back. I rode on.

After an hour or so of some more puddle jumping I made my way back to the asphalt highway. I was glad to see it.


I would travel west on the highway toward the city of Asuncion. Rain clouds were forming on the horizon, so I pulled over to put on my rain gear. As I looked back I saw something coming toward me. I turned and snapped this photo. A horse and wagon on the highway next to my horse and wagon... Emi.
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  #153  
Old 6 Dec 2012
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The Adventure Begins... Asuncion

I traveled to the city of Asuncion.

I took a walk around the town and checked out...

The Street Art of Asuncion.

The Museo de Barro.

A Walk Around the Town.

And picked up some New Tires.

Click on the links for the full story.
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  #154  
Old 6 Dec 2012
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The Adventure Begins... Jesuit Missions of Jesus de Tavarangue and Trinidad

I rode south to the town of Encarnacion.

Just outside of Encarnacion are the ruins of the Jesuit Missions of Jesus de Tavarangue and Trinidad. They were religious missions that were founded by the Jesuit missionaries during the colonization of South America in the 17th century. The missions were created in 1609 and developed for 150 years. Both areas were declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1993. The Jesuit Missions of Paraguay are considered some of the most impressive creations of the religious work of the Jesuits, and are testimony of the historical richness of the country.

First up... Jesus de Tavarangue. The church of Reducción de Jesús (Jesus’ Mission) was in the process of being built when the Jesuits were expelled from the Río de la Plata Province. It would have been one of the biggest churches of that time, with a central structure of 70 by 24 metres (230 by 79 ft). The structure's design was based on the Church of Loyola, in Italy. The three doors of access, located in the front, created impressive entryways. UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 1993. It is considered one of the most important edifications of the 30 Jesuits towns in the region. The stone pulpit, the friezes of angels, the rose shaped carved stone in the lintels in the doors and the bell tower stand out in its architecture. The ruins of these missions show a way of life and education marked by its own and singular style.


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I left the Jesus Mission and headed down the road. Along the way I passed by this cemetary.


I came across this farm and thought the juxtaposition of the farm house, tree and longhorn were perfect. If the longhorn would just look my way...

It would be perfect.

He decided to appease me.

Second up... Trinidad. The Santísima Trinidad del Paraná Mission is considered the biggest of all the missions. Natives came from the missions of San Carlos (now in the territory of Argentina) in 1712. This mission has the biggest temple among all the Jesuit Missions, with an altar carved out of a single piece of stone. Some of the stone carvings within the mission illustrate the persecution of the natives at that time. It has a central square, the town’s place of meeting. Located in the old sacristy, are many sculptures and a scale model of the mission. These ruins are in the process of being restored.

The principle inhabits are now termites.


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source: Wikipedia
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  #155  
Old 6 Dec 2012
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The Adventure Begins... Itaipu Dam

I headed north toward Ciudad del Este and visited the Itaipu Dam.

The Itaipu Dam is a hydroelectric dam on the Paraná River located on the border between Brazil and Paraguay. The name "Itaipu" was taken from an isle that existed near the construction site. In the Guaraní language, Itaipu means "the sounding stone".

The dam is the largest operating hydroelectric facility in terms of annual energy generation, generating 94.7 TWh in 2008 and 91.6 TWh in 2009, while the annual energy generation of the Three Gorges Dam was 80.8 TWh in 2008 and 79.4 TWh in 2009. Though, the dam's 14,000 MW installed capacity is second to the Three Gorges Dam's 22,500 MW.

It is a binational undertaking run by Brazil and Paraguay at the Paraná River on the border section between the two countries, 15 km (9.3 mi) north of the Friendship Bridge. The project ranges from Foz do Iguaçu, in Brazil, and Ciudad del Este in Paraguay, in the south to Guaíra and Salto del Guairá in the north.

The installed generation capacity of the plant is 14 GW, with 20 generating units providing 700 MW each with a hydraulic design head of 118 m. In 2008 the plant generated a record 94.68 TWh, supplying 90% of the electricity consumed by Paraguay and 19% of that consumed by Brazil.

Of the twenty generator units currently installed, ten generate at 50 Hz for Paraguay and ten generate at 60 Hz for Brazil.

Two 600 kV HVDC lines, each approximately 800 km long, carry both Brazilian and Paraguayan energy to São Paulo where the terminal equipment converts the power to 60 Hz.

In 1994, the American Society of Civil Engineers elected the Itaipu Dam as one of the seven modern Wonders of the World. In 1995, the American magazine Popular Mechanics published the results.

When construction of the dam began, approximately 10,000 families living beside the Paraná River were displaced.

The world's largest waterfall by volume, the Guaíra Falls were drowned by the newly formed Itaipu reservoir. The Brazilian government liquidated the Guaíra Falls National Park, and dynamited the submerged rock face where the falls had been, facilitating safer navigation, but eliminating the possibility of restoring the falls in the future.

A few months before the reservoir was filled, 80 people died when an overcrowded bridge overlooking the falls collapsed, as tourists sought a last glimpse of the falls.

All of that can be summed up by saying... it's a pretty big dam!

source: Wikipedia
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  #156  
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The Adventure Begins...Crossing Three Frontiers..Ciudad del Este..Puerto Iguazu


From Ciudad del Este I planned to visit the famous Iguazu Falls. One can access the falls by Puerto Iguazu in Argentina or Foz de Iguacu in Brazil. I wanted to see the falls from both vantage points, so I planned my route.

There is a bridge called the Friendship Bridge that spans the Rio Parana between Ciudad del Este, Paraguay and Foz de Iguacu, Brazil. It is a highly trafficked bridge and I had heard that it somethings takes hours to cross the border with a vehicle. This proposition did not sound apealing.

A Paraguayan friend of mine had mentioned to me that there was a ferry that crosses the Rio Parana into Puerto Iguazu, Argentina from a small town, just south of Ciudad del Este, called Presidente Franco. Supposedly the route was lightly trafficked. It sounded more like my style.

So I plotted my route to travel south from Ciudad del Este to Presidente Franco. I would take the ferry to Puerto Iguazu, Argentina and see the falls in one day. Then I would travel from Puerto Iguazu, Argentina across a land bridge to Foz de Iguacu, Brazil and see the falls from the second vantage point.

I rode south for about 30 minutes to the town of Presidente Franco and found the ferry. I was the only non-local crossing the border so immigration and customs processing only took about two minutes.

It was a short crossing and only took about 10 minutes. It cost about US$10. To the left was Brazil. To the right was Argentina.

Behind me was Paraguay.

La Triple Frontera... The three frontiers all seen from this one vantage point.

The ferry approached the dock of Puerto Iguazu, Argentina and I rode off. Again, the immigration and customs processing was quick and easy.

It turned out to be nice and relaxing way to cross the frontier.
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  #157  
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The Adventure Begins... What If Money Was No Object?

Ask yourself. What would you do with your life if money was no object?

See the video
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  #158  
Old 10 Dec 2012
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The Adventure Begins... Iguazu Falls, Argentina

From Puerto Iguazu it was a short ride to Iguazu Falls.

Iguazu Falls is considered one of the seven wonders of the natural world. So I thought that it was worth a visit.

I rode my moto to the entrance of the Parque Nacional Iguazu. Bought an admission ticket for 130 Pesos and walked in.

The Iguazu Falls are waterfalls of the Iguazu River on the border of Brazilian State Paraná and Argentine Province Misiones. The falls divide the river into the upper and lower Iguazu.

The park is a major tourist destination and had this little train to carry visitors to the upper falls.

The name "Iguazu" comes from the Guarani or Tupi words "y", meaning "water", and "ûasú ", meaning "big". Legend has it that a god planned to marry a beautiful woman named Naipí, who fled with her mortal lover Tarobá in a canoe. In rage, the god sliced the river, creating the waterfalls and condemning the lovers to an eternal fall. The first European to find the falls was the Spanish conquistador Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca in 1541.

After debarking from the train, I walked along an elevated walkway.

Iguazu Falls is located where the Iguazu River tumbles over the edge of the Paraná Plateau, 23 kilometres (14 mi) upriver from the Iguazu's confluence with the Paraná River.

Numerous islands along the 2.7-kilometre-long (1.7 mi) edge divide the falls into numerous separate waterfalls and cataracts, varying between 60 to 82 metres (197 to 269 ft) high.

The number of these smaller waterfalls fluctuates from 150 to 300, depending on the water level.

About half of the river's flow falls into a long and narrow chasm called the Devil's Throat (Garganta del Diablo in Spanish or Garganta do Diabo in Portuguese).

The Devil's Throat is U-shaped, 82 meters high, 150 m wide, and 700 m long (269×490×2,300 ft). Mist rises between 30 and 150 metres (100 and 490 ft) from Iguazu's Devil's Throat.

The Iguazu Falls are arranged in a way that seems like a reverse letter "J".

The border between Brazil and Argentina runs through the Devil's Throat. On the left bank is the Brazilian territory, which has just over 20% of the jumps of these falls, and the right side jumps are Argentines, which make up almost 80% of the falls.

Iguazu is also often compared with Southern Africa's Victoria Falls which separates Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Iguazu is wider because it is split into about 275 discrete falls and large islands.

The only wider falls are extremely large rapid-like falls such as the Boyoma Falls.

Upon seeing Iguazu, the United States' First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt reportedly exclaimed "Poor Niagara!"(which, at 50 m or 165 feet, are a third shorter).

The Devil's Throat in Argentina has water pouring into it from three sides. At one point a person can stand and be surrounded by 260 degrees of waterfalls.
See video
Here's a short 1 minute video of the Devil's Throat.

I was not alone at the falls. Like I said, it is a major tourist attraction and there were some areas that were elbow to elbow in tourists.

I decided that I wanted a little more space, so I walked on.

Along the path I came across some butterflies drinking water puddles.

Place names have been given to many of the other smaller falls, such as San Martin Falls, Bossetti Falls and many others.

Water

Rainbow

Chasm

Flora

Fuana

Twin Sisters

Drinking it up.

Fall

After fall

After fall

This is little animal is a coati. It is a relative of the raccoon. They are a bit of a pest and will steal items of food or clothing if left unattended.

This industrious group of coatis was working together. One coati climbed the tree and shook the palm. The fruit fell down and the others dined.

I spent the entire day walking around the trails of the park.

Iguazu Falls... one of the seven wonders of the natural world.
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  #159  
Old 30 Dec 2012
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The Adventure Begins... Iguazu Falls and Foz do Iguacu, Brazil

From Puerto Iguazu, Argentina I traveled a short distance to Foz do Iguacu, Brazil.

There was an immigration and customs checkpoint that I passed through with no problems. I dropped my things off at a hostel and rode to the park on the Brazilian side.

I signed up for a tour of the park which included a ride in a tram and boat.

The guide took our group through a number of trails and pointed out unique characteristics of the flora and fauna.

But the real adventure began once we put on these life preservers.

We boarded a zodiac boat and headed down the Parana River.

It started out as a pretty calm ride down the river.

But we also passed through some rapids.

We were able to pass nearby the falls on the Argentinian side.

And passed by this complete rainbow.

And then we approached the falls up close and personal on the Brazilian side.
See Video
Here is a short 1 minute video about riding the zodiac boat through Iguazu Falls. We actually passed under the falls 3 or 4 times.

After the tour I hopped on a bus to visit another part of the falls.

I got off the bus and started walking along a trail.

I could see the falls in the distance.

As I got closer I caught a better view.

And then from this vantage point I could see almost the entirety of the falls on the Argentinian side.

I walked some more and caught glimpses of various falls on the Brazilian side.

I liked this image with the mist rising off the falls.

A different vantage point allowed me to look down the river.

At this location I was practically standing on top of the falls.

Another day... another sunset... over Iguazu Falls.

Iguazu Falls... one of the seven wonders of the natural world.

For the complete story visit www.TheAdventureBegins.tv
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  #160  
Old 30 Dec 2012
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The Adventure Begins... Motorcycle Maintenance on the Go

I left Foz do Iguacu and headed east.

Along the way I stopped at a gas station to fill up with gas and rest. I could tell that a few other motorcyclists had stopped at this station due to the large number of motorcyclists stickers on the window. It's a common thing in Brazil at certain resting points for motorcyclists to leave a sticker of their club, journey or sponsor.

Realizing that the gas station was probably friendly to motorcyclists I decided to ask them if I could change my oil in their maintenance garage. The said that it would be okay and even offered me a drip pan made out of an old plastic container. I did a quick change of the oil... then back onto the road... east.

For more visit www.TheAdventureBegins.tv
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  #161  
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The Adventure Begins... Curitiba, Brazil... A Tour of the City

After a very long day of riding... probably 10 hours... I arrived into the town of Curitiba, Brazil.

While in Foz do Iguacu I met a fellow motorcyclist named Rodolfo. Rodolfo was in the process of starting a business and hostel for motorcyclists in Foz do Iguacu. His business is called The Biker's Help Desk. Stop by if you are in the neighborhood. Well, Rodolfo introduced me to his brother Roberto and they offered to let me stay at his brother's apartment in Curitiba. This is Roberto and his roommate Gaspar.

I took a tour of Curitiba. The city is a very modern and clean city. It looks as if it may have been master planned. The city has a nice system of mass transit, parks and commercial areas.

This is the botanical gardens.

The city center and cathedral.

I came across this production being filmed on a Red camera.

The city center historical district.

Church

Water fountain and sculpture

Blooming tree in the city center

Paiol Theatre

Parana Pine Tree

Arab memorial and museum

The Mercado Municipal was perhaps the best market that I visited in all my travels.

They had all sorts of goods.

Fresh fruits and vegetables.

Sauces

Dried goods

Seafood

Wine

They even had an organic section with fresh produce

And a very nice food court within the market.

I just stayed for a short time in Curitiba, because I was anxious to visit the Brazilian coast.

For the complete story with photos visit Curitiba
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  #162  
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The Adventure Begins... The Novo Museu or Oscar Niemeyer Museum and Street Art


While in Curitiba, I visited the Oscar Niemeyer Museum. The museum focuses on the visual arts, architecture and design. It is also known as Museu do Olho or Museum of the Eye, due to the design of the building.

Oscar Niemeyer was a Brazilian architect who is considered to be one of the key figures in the development of modern architecture. Niemeyer was best known for his design of civic buildings for Brasília, a planned city which became Brazil's capital in 1960, as well as his collaboration with other architects on the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. His exploration of the aesthetic possibilities of reinforced concrete was highly influential on the architecture of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.







After visiting the museum I must say that I was more impressed with the design of the exterior building that the collection of art.

I also took a walk around Curitiba and saw some pretty interesting street art.

For the full story with photos visit The Novo Museu
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  #163  
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The Adventure Begins... Ilha do Mel (Island of Honey)...beaches...beaches...

When I think of Brazil, I think of miles and miles of coast and beautiful beaches. I was ready for a little sun and fun. So, from Curitiba I headed due east to the coast. My destination was the Ilha do Mel (Island of Honey).

I rode about 120km to a small town on the coast called Ponta do Sul. In Ponta do Sul I found a pay-by-the-day garage and parked my moto. I think that it cost me about 15 Brazilian Reales. Then I walked down the street and caught a ferry. On Ilha do Mel... no vehicles are allowed.

The ferry ride was a short ride across a bay that lasted about 30 minutes.

There were basically three small towns on Ilha do Mel... Fortaleza, Brasilia and Encantadas. I landed in Encantadas.

When the road ended, the adventure began on foot.

No worries... all the roads on the island were actually sand trails.

Encantadas seemed to consist of a scattering of houses, a few small hotels and a few restaurants all interlinked by the sand trails.

A typical colorful house.

A typical restaurant.

A nice little hotel.

It was the middle of the week and there were not many tourists on the island. I think that I spotted maybe six. On my first day on Ilha do Mel I decided to take a walk to the other side of the island... I followed this sand trail.

It opened up to the ocean.

I walked a little further along some marsh and sand dunes.

I found a trail that passed over a hill and by a rock outcropping.

The trail led to a secluded beach.

On the far side of the secluded beach I found La Gruta das Encantadas (Cavern of Enchantment).

I walked on and found this picturesque cove.

The sun started to set in the west.

I headed back to town by a pathway through some grasslands.

Back in Encantadas, I enjoyed a dinner of shrimp, fries, carrots, beats, tomatoes, rice and feijao (beans).

The next day I decided to explore a little more of the island.

I headed down a different trail.

Crossed a few beaches and hills... came across this cross.

Passed by this shrine by the sea.

Sea urchins in a tide pool.

Mollusks clinging to the rocks.

Lichen on the rocks.

A mollusk shell in the tide.

A sand dollar in the tide.

A crab in the tide.

A sand sculpture of sorts.

Actually I came across this group of people combing the beach. I stopped and talked with them for a while. The man held a long tube with a suction pump. He would walk along the beach, then poke the tube into the sand and pull the suction pump. He would then release the pump and the contents would be released. Turns out they were combing the beach for some shell fish.

They were collecting these little camerao (shrimp).

In the middle of the island at one outcropping there was the Farol das Conchas (lighthouse)

I hiked up the hill to get a closer look.

The lighthouse was constructed in 1870.

From the lighthouse, I could look to the left and see the west side of the island.

I could look to the right and see the east side of the island.

I continued with my walk along the beach.

I came across a little village and this wooden fishing boat.

Sea gulls fishing in the marsh.

A young boy, his brother and a bicycle on the beach.

At the far north end of the island is a fort.

The Fortaleza Nossa Senhora dos Prazeres.

The fort was constructed in 1769

It contained a courtyard surrounded by thick walls.

The walls had cobblestone walkways

There were a number of antique canons positioned to protect the fort

The fort was surrounded by the tropical jungle.

There was even a jail within the fort.

And the front entrance to the fort had a pretty scenic view of the ocean.

Around the back of the fort there was another trail.

The trail led to a battery with more modern artillery weapons.

There were some stone trenches dug into the mountainside.

I walked within the labyrinth of trenches.

A pathway of a different kind.

From the battery, I could look down upon the fort.

As the day drew long, I headed back to Encantadas.

The next day I hung out in the town and watched some fishing vessels return to the port.

Soon enough, it was time for me to catch the ferry back to the mainland and leave Ilha do Mel.

Taking only pictures and leaving only footprints.

For the full story with photos visit Ilha do Mel
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The Adventure Begins... Sand Dollars... Wealth


I am going to start counting sand dollars as part of my wealth... making me a very wealthy man to date.
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The Adventure Begins... 2013 Dakar Rally

If anyone is interested I'm posting daily the video highlights of the 2013 Dakar Rally on my website... www.TheAdventureBegins.tv
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