Friday, 13 March 2009

Rio De Janeiro and Iguazu Falls

We arrived in Rio on a mission to make the most of our 4 day stay in this massive city. The first day we decided to go up to the statue of Christ on the cog train as it was a lovely clear sky. Annoyingly after an hour and a half wait for the train the clouds had rolled in so by the time we got to the top the view was a little patchy!
It was still amazing though with great views over the city. In the afternoon we hit Ipanema beach which was a hive of volleyball, football, bat and ball related activity, all performed in Speedo's and dental floss bikinis, quite a sight to behold....!On the second day we booked, thanks to Zoe and Angus, a tandem hang glide off
 a mountain called Pedro Bonito with an eventual landing (hopefully!) on Pepino beach. We met our really enthusiastic guide Paulo at the landing site and then drove up to the top of the hill. After a short briefing Jo was the first to brave take off. I shortly followed in a fit of mild terror, however once airborne it was absolutely incredible. We battled to catch thermals however Jo and her guide won hands down (think I've been indulging in a bit too much Brazilian cuisine). 
Most importantly we both made a safe landing, and full of adrenalin headed down to Copacabana beach for a relaxing afternoon to bring us back down to earth (with the aid of one or two caiparhinas).
On the third day we did a walking tour through the largest of Rio's 811 favelas, Rocinha.
 We were picked up by one of the street vans that are all owned by the mafia that run the favela, then transferred to the back of motor bikes to get to the top of the favela. Our guide told us to not be scared of the mafia men sat around with various firearms and grenades. It was a little unnerving at first, the police basically don't enter the favela and the mafia run their own style of law and order, however it was clear that they were not bothered by gringos! We started by climbing onto the roof of someone's house (with their permission!) that has amazing views over Rio, and makes all too obvious the gap between the poverty stricken favela and the adjacent affluent
 neighbourhoods. We then walked down through various alleyways stopping at the most dangerous looking electricity pylon - the favela illegally taps into the city's grid for a free electricity supply!

On the last day we were supposed to go up the Sugar Loaf mountain however another days low cloud put paid to that so instead we chilled out in Copacabana (and bought a world record amount of Havaiana flip-flops!).

A short 26 hour bus ride later found us in the Brazilian city of Foz De Iguazu. We crossed over to the Argentinian side to visit the mighty Iguazu falls. Thanks to John and Joyce we treated ourselves to a boat ride/biggest power shower in the world, and also a jeep tour of the surrounding forest where we finally got to see some toucans!
The falls were absolutely incredible, and a definite highlight to end our trip on. To top it all off we're staying in lovely hostel that has a swimming pool to keep us cool in this 35 degree heat, and again we've met some great people (and have also learned how to make watermelon martinis!).

Today we squeezed in a visit to the Itaipu dam that spans the Pariana river between Paraguay and Brazil. Not the most attractive piece of concrete but quite spectacular as it's two and  half kilometres long!

Now we're waiting for a bus back to Sao Paulo, then a flight back home.

Sad that it's the end of our trip but very excited about seeing you all!

Lots of love,

Jo and Al x x x x


Charmz All Over said...

Welcome Back Home Mr and Mrs Mason!! Your trip looks AMAZING!! Im happy to learn you are now back home, safe and sound! Charmaine - Norma's ex Colleague and Friend

Rogger Mcloud said...

Dude, what a nice trip you have made. I like IguazĂș falls very much. Have you been to Argentina or just to Brazil? I went to Argentina and I rented some buenos aires apartments and it was a very nice experience.