Experiences of a Dutchman living in Belo Horizonte, since December 2004, from month to month.
June 2005, part two: Visiting the world famous waterfalls in Brazilian Foz do Iguaçu, and in Argentinean Puerto Iguazu, and visiting the giant hydro-electric power station Itaipu.
>> Part one: Curitiba and Paraguay <<
The next day I walked back to Brazil, crossing the bridge between Ciudad del Este and Foz do Iguaçu. From hectic Paraguay into peaceful Brazil. I took the bus to the center of Foz do Iguaçu, and I rented a room. There was a small travel agency inside the hotel, which was offering trips to Argentina. I immediately made my reservation for the next morning. A little later I took the bus to the park Foz do Iguaçu, and I was allowed to witness one of the greatest natural wonders on earth. The park is world famous for its enormous and numerous waterfalls, exceeding the volume of Niagara Falls. The story goes that Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of the then president Franklin D. Roosevelt, saw the falls, and then exclaimed: “Oh, poor Niagara!“.
Green and water…
I walked quickly past the small, narrow footpaths and took my pictures. It was not easy to shoot well, because I did not manage to obtain good composition of what I observed, because there were so many waterfalls, that could not fit within a simple composition. I experimented to take a subsequent series of pictures. It was not easy to describe the splendid view Near the Devil’s Throat (Garganta do Diabo). The loud roar of rushing river water, where one gets wet from the spray mist. Besides the Garganta were dozens of waterfalls. You saw water and lush green, water and lush green.
Garganta do Diabo as seen from Brazil
The next morning we were picked up by a van. We were driven to the border with Argentina, where our passports were checked. There were no problems. We went to the Argentine section of the park, Puerto Iguazú. This part is much larger and has many more attractions. There are several long walks through the park; one of them runs above the Garganta, so you can admire the huge waterfall from above. The paths were not difficult to walk; sometimes one had to climb quite some distance. I also made the crossing to an island where I walked almost all paths there. That day became a good exercise for my legs, but I felt like a king at the sight of the unique natural beauty.
Garganta do Diabo as seen from Argentina
I spent my final night at Foz do Iguaçu in a restaurant where you could eat limitless amounts of pizza and meat (churrasco) for only eleven reais, almost four euros. A few tables from me was an exuberant group, which in terms of spoken language and overly exuberant and boisterous behavior really drew attention of all guests. The Brazilians in the restaurant seemed embarrassed for this ragtag. Soon I discovered that it was a group of Dutch tourists. I kept myself anonymous because I did not want to be identified with this bunch of idiots. The meat was well seasoned and crispy roasted, I enjoyed the various pizza flavors, and I tasted flavors like chocolate, banana, cinnamon, and strawberry pizza.
The giant hydro-electric power station Itaipu
My final day in Foz do Iguaçu started with a visit to the huge hydro electric power station Itaipu, at the border between Brazil and Paraguay. This plant is good for ninety percent of the Paraguayan and one fourth of the Brazilian energy supply. First we were presented a well-designed video presentation, and then we entered a coach for a bus tour along the power station. The majority opted for the short tour, that bus was crowded. I chose for the more elaborate option, which included a tour along the plant, with a subsequent visit to the local museum. I found myself in a nearly empty bus, only with a nervously clicking Japanese man. The plant was really impressive, huge. For a moment my memories went back to the massive storm surge barrier in the Oosterschelde in The Netherlands, where I also was impressed by the size of it.
Southern Belo Horizonte
At night, I took the bus back to Belo Horizonte, through the hilly landscapes of the states of Paraná, São Paulo and Minas Gerais, a journey of nearly thirty hours. I was fortunate that I had arranged my stay at Jessica’s house, before I my travel. I had met her and her family in January, and a close friendship started. Her father gave me permission to be his guest for a few weeks. I did not have a room there, but my mattress was in the living room. Their house was quite far away from the university, I had take two buses and the bus ride took more than ninety minutes. I spent three wonderful weeks at the home of Jessica and her family. In July I had to find a new place to live, but more on that later.
Travels made in June 2005:
Belo Horizonte – Curitiba – Foz do Iguaçu – Belo Horizonte
By Dr. Adriano Antoine Robbesom
- Brazilian Days (201): July 20 (insiderbrazil.wordpress.com)