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Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Brazil & Paraguay, Day 6, Monday 3rd April 2017

Up really early, before sunrise early, for the flight to Foz do Iguacu. Stunning views across open countryside on the flight, frequently with no roads or houses visible as the green of rain forest trees stretches the visible horizon.

Arriving at Iguazu
Beautiful blue skies on arrival in Foz do Iguacu airport, a concrete strip and small building sited outside of town, no fences, just running into farmland and open countryside.

The airport was clearly designed in a time when the landing strip was servicing smaller planes, I am picturing the odd Cessna or private jet not something used for international routes as demonstrated by the need to drop the plane out of the sky the instant it was over the tarmac to maximise use of the available length for stopping.

Iguazu Airport
Picked up by the hotel bus and checked in successfully with time for a wander around town which meant a decision had to be made. So we found ourselves awaiting the bus into Paraguay to visit the town of Ciudad del Este. The bus duly arrived and took off at warp speed, slowing only to navigate customs on the border with no need to show passports and ending at a bus station out of town as Estadio 3 de Febrero, way beyond our intended destination.
welcome to Paraguay
Now we have been warned that Paraguay is dirty and dangerous and we are not where we are supposed to be.

Indeed Paraguay is dirty but only in a way that a lot of less well off countries are, there is rubbish all over the ground, often right next to bins and I have to conclude that the difference to what we consider normal is that we have been indoctrinated at school, with adverts on television and by families and peer pressure to throw rubbish in bins and there are places that have not reached that stage yet.

Luckily for us, lost in Paraguay is a small story because we have our language expert, Ale, with us to get us going in the right direction, passing on the way the biggest, newest supermarket we have seen or will see in South America (or anywhere else I can think of for that matter). That did give us the opportunity to purchase cold drinks (including Aloe vera, strange but refreshing) although we had no clue how the currency related, we tried to figure out something but actually credit cards still work regardless of language.
Motorbike taxis line up ready
Finding the bus stop back a conversation ensues because none of the locals can agree the best way back to town but we settle for a 5 minute walk. A 5 minute going on 20 minute walk in 33c was a reasonable challenge but finally made it back to a bus stop and a more leisurely ride back into Brazil and inspite of what the Brazilians told us, completely unmolested.

I suspect that is one of Alex's first foreign "adventures" where it really doesn't matter that we didn't know where we were and we were always within walking distance of where we started and never in any danger more than we would be in most cities beyond the fact that we notably stand out from the local population which unlike Brazilians appears to have retained a lot more of the indigenous South America look.

The stresses of the day meant an easy option for dinner was really required and one thing we had promised ourselves was to visit a Brazilian BBQ and luckily for us the nearest was literally around the corner from our hotel, Churrascaria do Gaucho (Steakhouse of the Gaucho in Google's half translated efforts). This is a place were a wide variety of meat and cuts of meat are brought to your plate to complement an eat as much as you like buffet and Alex was there trying pretty much everything, this boy is not destined to suffer from vegetarianism any time soon but space was saved for repeated trips to the desert section.