South America is as South America can be. Hot, humid and a little rough around the edges. Anja and myself stepped off at Guarulhos International Airport late on Thursday afternoon after two connecting flights from Cape Town. We made our way to our hotel for the night which looked like a paradise on the inside - see image attached. It had an awesome street view with a little park and Shell garage close by which I utilized for a middle-of-the-night coffee. Rowdy teenagers were also out and about; getting legal beers and cigarettes from their local grocer. I finished my coffee and made my way back to the hotel.
Our breakfast buffet was out of this world and we were psyched to catch our flight out to Foz that next morning.
Foz do Iguaçu
Foz reminded me of Ubud. It had open green areas, was less developed than the busy streets and societies of São Paulo and had a relaxing holiday feel to it. We grabbed an Uber and headed over to Parque das Aves - a center for bird conservation and recovery. It was beautiful to see the bold vivid colours of the birds and parrots against the tropical green landscapes these parts provided for me. We spotted a toucan and some pink flamingos and were ready to head on over to the Iguazu Falls round about 4pm. After waiting inline like you just discovered the Monkey Falls at Ratanga, a buss picks you up and takes you to different drop-off zones. We picked the one with a 1,4km hike - highly recommended especially for photographers. (Oooh and I also made friends with an anteater). The Falls were captivating. I can still remember the roars of the water and feeling so powerful and connected to it. There are about 280 waterfalls in Foz and the Iguazu Falls is so magnificent it bridges 3 countries - Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina.
I did a little mantra here in my head. My old faithful - The Gāyatrī Mantra
Rio De Janeiro
Rio seemed like home. We arrived early the afternoon and got ready to hit the streets for some photographs and exploring. The city had a wide range of culture, personality and diversity to it. Something new in every street, like little gems in an urban jungle maze. The name means “River of January” in Portuguese because the bay was mistaken for a river back in the day. The country exported most of it’s resources to Portugal in the early 1800s and received it’s name based on the red-barked Paubrasilia tree.
Our hotel had a view over two favelas on some beautiful mountain shapes with Copocabana beach just a 5-minute walk away. It was perfect! We did a small tour up to Christ the Redeemer one misty morning and took the cable car up the breathtaking Sugarloaf Mountain for some landscape views over Rio. The currency they use in Brazil is called Real and it trades at about 4 ZAR per 1 R$. With petrol prices at 2.55 R$ per liter it’s easy to see why Uber is so much more affordable than in South Africa and living costs/food transportation costs are at a minimum. The street art scene is insane and extremely vivid and detailed; especially around the Escadaria Selarón parts.
There’s jack fruit in most trees - although the locals mock their smell and barely eat them; and coconuts hang around every corner. This is a real tropical paradise and I couldn’t help myself but long home thinking my raspberry plant would really love it here! I struggled to find avocado and canned jack fruit but managed to discover Guaraná Antarctica - almost like a cherry Fanta flavoured soft drink, originating in the country and so deliciously addictive. Brazil, if you are reading this send me Guaranás com açucar por favor. Obrigada! I traveled light and as per personal tradition bought back some local incense, Brazillian-brew coffee and a lifetime of memories and LIFE XP ++