Brasil 2022-23 Diary/Photo Journal

Week of 016 of November 27, 2022 - December 03, 2022

This week was all about one of my favorite places in the world, Foz do Iguau and meeting up with friends.  This was my third time to Foz and it was a fantastic as ever.  We found a nice little hostel/campground for Cindy and tucked her right in amongst the trees.

Cindy liked her spot at Iguassu Eco Hostel    


We went to
Foz do Iguau in 2005 (https://www.solsearch.us/sa-diary-page-25.htm) and again in 2006 (https://www.solsearch.us/saII-diary-page-8.htm) , both times with friends.  In 2005, we were fortunate to have met a terrific young man, Giovanni, who helped with our transportation and tours and we enlisted his services again in 2006.  Since then, we have kept in touch so it was imperative we were able to visit with him while we were in Foz.  Not only did we have a couple of nice visits with Giovanni, we got to meet his lovely wife, Juliana, his adorable daughter (now 7 years old!), Antonella, and have a BBQ and watch the World Cup Brasil game with his sister and her family.

Gerson admiring Giovanni's BBQ
Dinner with Juliana, Giovanni and Antonella
(off having fun in a designated play area).
   


Foz do Igua
u - did I already mention it is one of my favorite places?  What's not to love about sunshine, waterfalls, rainbows, rivers and critters!  We spent a few hours just walking the Brasil trail (as there is an Argentina trail on the other side of the river) and oohing and aahing at the various waterfalls. 

And the picture perfect selfies begin
Spectacular views along the way
View to the Devil's Throat along the
Rio Igua
u

Selfie with a rainbow
Every turn was another photo
opportunity
 


Foz do Igua
u has a beloved story of how it was created and I included that story here:  https://www.solsearch.us/sa-diary-page-25.htm.  No matter what anyone believes about the formation of this landscape, everyone believes in its beauty.


Where's Gerson? 
View to the massive falls
A single photo does not do it justice
Great Dusky Swifts - they nest alongside and
behind the falls and peek out here and there

Difficult to take a bad photo of
the falls and rainbows

Look back along Rio Iguau

Another wonderful part of this 'trail' is you never know what locals you will cross paths with you.  Not only are you watching the falls along the way, but you have to be alert for all the interesting critters.

Just a Coati strolling on the trail
Coati peek-a-boo
The Tropiduridae are a family of iguanid lizards
Diethria Anna butterfly (also Anna's 88 because of the unique markings)


We timed our arrival at the end to coincide with lunch at the very nice buffet restaurant and the showing of the World Cup game.  The end of the Brasil-side trail has an incredible walkway built over the river, in between the terraced falls and there is no way one can stay dry when "walking the plank" over the water.  It is quite the engineering feat as the walkway is subjected to significant force from the water and yet, it stays put. 


The force of the falls always amazes
The Devil's Throat
Remarkable walkway over the falls



Cannot get enough of the magnificence of the falls

Those "mist" plumes are where the water drops and
becomes waterfalls


One of the 'must-do's' was the Macuco boat ride on the Rio Iguau and playing in, under and around various waterfalls.  The boat ride, in and of itself was fun, but the baptism by waterfall was the reason for the ride.  We always look forward to a proper dunking!


We are all smiles at first...
Up close with some stunning falls
So happy to be there
Into the beast

The boat Captain made sure we were
properly introduced to several waterfalls
Those smiles are all joy!
Gerson looks like he was having a religious experience.

Fortunately, it was a hot, dry day and by the time we got on the little tram that takes the tourists to and from the launch ramp, we were relatively dry.  We walked back to our camp and settled in for the evening of jungle sounds.

The next morning, we woke early anticipating a day at the Parque das Aves and a trip to the Itaipu dam.  What we did not anticipate was our camp, specifically the hostel's garbage storage hut, being inundated with several cute trash-bandits.  Apparently, a rather large tribe of Coati's (about 25 or so), swarmed the garbage storage hut and were looking to raid its contents.  We were not fooled by their 'cuteness' as the critters have quite the attitude.  Gerson, my hero, donned his protective shield (camp chair) and his mighty sword (tire pump) and laughingly chased off the little buggars, only to see them attempt to go around him and come back.  A few more laps chasing them off and the Coati's got the hint to disappear into the forest.  Quite the funny way to start the day!
 


Sir Gerson fending off
the adorable, yet pesky
Coatis

But they are cute!

Even when they circle back


Another one of the places I especially enjoy is the Parque das Aves.  The park was located right across the street from our camp so we had an easy walk, listening to the cacophony of bird song.


Parque das Aves
Not only the birds are colorful

Brilliant red Guar


Flamingoes are always cool

Curassows (female and male) - just hanging out


The Parque das Aves is a bird sanctuary for local birds as well as a few 'imports'.  While traveling, we would catch glimpses of some of the birds and it was fun to be able to observe the birds instead of viewing a blur of feathers.


Love the product placement on the coconut

Very colorful parakeets
Harpy Eagle was intimidating
Golden Parakeet has Brasil's colors


Who's watching who
A perfect flower
Having fun feeding some parrots
Quite friendly


At Parque das Aves, there are always some other animals of interest.  Lizards, butterflies, caymans, stick insects - keeps you looking in corners, around plants, under benches as you never know what you may find.


Just a turtle hitching a ride on a
Cayman, nothing to see here

Large lizard

Butterfly enjoying pineapple lunch


Butterfly blends right in
Newly hatched butterfly

Stick insects are cool

Not sure what kind of bird that was


What I enjoy about Parque das Aves is that you have to walk around and through the park and although there are many 'contained' birds to view, the park is open to the wild birds that come and visit.  They are a bit more difficult to see; however, you hear them nonetheless.


Quite the nosey parrot
Gerson soaking up the local color
One of my favorite birds:
Blue Hyacinth Macaw

Have no idea what bird has its wings folded back,
but I loved the photo
"Whatcha lookin at?"
Owls are always fascinating


We tend to spend the most time with the Owls and the Toucans as they seem to provide a bit of comedy.  Between the nasty Owl looks and the comical Toucan poses, we have a hard time not laughing.


Burrowing Owl not happy with my taking its photo

Quite the stern look

Cassowary - from northeast Australia


Toco Toucan (Common Toucan or Giant Toucan)
look at the blue eyes

Red-breasted Toucan

 

We probably enjoyed Parque das Aves a bit too much as we ran tight on time to make it to Itaipu dam and back to Foz do Iguau in time to watch the World Cup game.  As we had to hire a ride to get out to the dam (which has some exceptional technology), and hire a ride back, we decided to forgo that part of our plans.  Gerson and I had a bit of a disagreement of what to do so he ventured into the city to watch a World Cup game and Cindy and I enjoyed a bit of respite (and several hours of organizing 100's of photos!). 

We met up with Giovanni, his wife Juliana, and his daughter, Antonella for a fun dinner in town and just talked and laughed the night away.  We were leaving relatively early the next day so we made an early night of it and headed north toward a little town near Londrina the next morning.

Unfortunately, we had to drive on the roads that I call "potholes surrounded by asphalt" and we had the dreaded 'blow out' of a tire, which had us fixing the tire on a busy road with a rather skimpy shoulder.  Dealing with the massive trucks and their air-wakes while jacking up Cindy was quite the lesson in maintaining one's sanity.  That, and just as we got the spare tire off and had Cindy raised a bit, the rain gawds decided to have fun with us and we were hit with a deluge similar to what we experienced on the Macuco boat ride under the waterfalls. 

Due to being on a sloped shoulder, we realized we needed a higher profile jack in order to get Cindy up high enough to remove/replace the tire.  Gerson asked a man driving toward a small town a few kilometers up the road if he could tell the local Borracharia there was someone in need of assistance back on the highway.  In about 15 minutes, two men showed up and with a quick trip back to their shop, the 'owner' came back with the right jack.  In no time, the bad tire was exchanged for the good and we were on our way.  Sadly, Cindy lost one of her rims as it appeared the wheel failed at multiple points on the rim and it was actually cracked in several areas.  


Got Soy?

Beautiful Flamboyant tree


Cindy was sad
Yep, we lost that tire
Our helpers
Cracked wheel rim


We made it to our next 'camp' (overnight at a 'truck stop') and it was all about getting a hot shower and ending the rough day early.

We made it to Primeiro de Maio where we were going to stay with Cassio and his family in their 'lake' home located on the Rio Tibagi, nearby their family business, Moinho Globo (mill/produces various flour products under the Venturelli name).  We settled Cindy into the large parking area and we took advantage of one of the en-suite bedrooms.

Moinho Globo was having their company holiday BBQ so we enjoyed being part of the celebration.  Quite the gathering and as Moinho Globo has a high employee retention rate, there were lots of happy people.  And what a BBQ!

If the BBQ was not enough, it finished in time for us to get back to the 'lakehouse' and jump in one boat to head out on the Rio Tibagi to pick up another, much larger boat. 


Gerson in a happy place

Quite the feast


Enjoying the river

Diego (Cassio's brother-in-law) bringing the 'boat'
Cassio and his sister, Paloma, moving the smaller boat

Contentment looks good on Gerson

Rio Tibagi is a large river that is starting to get noticed as a tourist destination.  It has been discovered by the travel industry and a Hard Rock Hotel is being built on the Ilha do Sol, a small island in the middle of the river.  It won't be long before the area is is surrounded by homes.



A family friend, Paloma (Cassio's sister), her
daughter Giovana and Cassio

View around the river and Hard Rock Hotel on the hill
Cassio's property to the right of the white pier


Gerson showing some diving skills

We spent the rest of the afternoon swimming in the refreshing water and enjoying the end of the day.

 

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