Saturday, March 30, 2013

Travels to Two Wonders of the World - Part 1

Casal Davis
September 25, 2012 upon our arrival, we were the third set of couple missionaries in the Curitiba Mission - addition to President Cordon and his wife. Casal Biehn, Mary-Jane and Carl, went home in November. The second couple, Casal Davis, will depart April 17th. These two couples took a trip to see the waterfalls in Iguaçu just prior to the planned departure for Casal Biehn. Sister Biehn broke her foot during their trip which was then cut short.  Elder and Sister Davis wanted to finish their visit and we became the lucky couple to return with them.

Our walking tour generated many photos. I love the palms.
We boarded Princesa dos Campos at our local rodoviaria at 9:30 a.m. on March 19th 2013, stopping in Guarapuava an hour later where Casal Davis joined us. The driver stopped for a half hour lunch & bathroom break at 11:30 at a lanchonete. [The bus line must have some kind of arrangement with a chain of these stores. On our mission conference or temple trips to Curitiba, no matter which route is taken, the bus seems to stop at one that looks identical to the others. Now travelling a totally different direction we have stopped at another carbon copy. They have clean restrooms, serve meals, have treats, souvenirs, etc. He did not stop again later even though our journey was much longer afterward.] Elder Davis is a collector of multi-language films and regularly purchases DVDs at these stores. There are many Disney movies offered. Many people board the bus with pillows and blankets for these long bus rides and sleep most of the way. With our ipads we can choose to study scripture or read from ibooks. I have lesson manuals as well as a Gospel library downloaded to read from on our journeys. It is really a miracle to have so much knowledge in so small a space. Elder uses his as a camera.

We traveled through rolling hills covered with trees and crops. The farmland rolls on forever. The soy crop is easily recognizable. The corn season seems to be over, as many of the stocks still standing are yellowed or brown. (Sounds like Kansas does it not? – but it isn’t flat or dry!) We have been wondering if trees are deciduous in this land where it is never supposed to freeze.  So far, we have seen trees whose leaves begin to brown and fall off – none of the spectacular colors of cold regions. However, we have noticed that the agropecuárias, agricultural stores, have begun to sell cool weather crops. It takes a minute to realize that here we are going into fall and winter while in North America the spring and summer are coming. There has never been a time since we arrived that they haven’t offered some type of seedling for planting. 

Busing and trucking are noticeable on the road and probably good business ventures. This is our first trip to the West of Guarapuava. The palm trees are mixed in with the evergreens, araucaria, and deciduous trees. They and the ferns are favorites of mine. The blossoms seem to change colors over the seaons and yellow is prominent now. So far the land we have encountered is made of the red clay that they use to make bricks, tiles, etc. Everything here is constructed from these materials – from small homes to multi-story buildings. 

Towels - Day 1
Towels - Day 3
Towels - Day 2
We arrived at Foz do Iguaçu – the city- in the late afternoon. Our 7 hour bus ride took a bit longer than advertised. Our stay at the local Best Western, called the Hotel Tarobá was very comfortable. The bell boy recommended dinner at a local churrascaria (steak house) and we there enjoyed a rodizio style  meal (meaning lots of different meats served on skewers served at our table). However the next day we found on a lot closer to our hotel, with a broader selection of food at the buffet – including the veggies that I like so much – and about ¼ the price. We can only assume that the bell boy got a kickback for sending us farther down the street.

Bus ride to the falls.
On their previous trip Elder & Sister Davis had used an English speaking guide to take them to the Argentine side of the falls and were planning to repeat the process on the 20th
Start of our walk along the cataractas.
However, upon arriving at the tourism table, a very kind taxi driver informed us about the new law that requires Americans to pay a $165 Visa fee to the government upon entering Argentina; that is in addition to the fee to the park and the transportation fee.  It was excessively expensive so we were adventurous and hopped on the local bus and arrived on the Brazilian side of the falls/ Cataratas do Iguaçu in about ½ hour (15 Km) at a minimal cost without a guide and had a long wonderful day walking the trails in the park. We could see that the Argentine side had superior walkways out into the water but…. I was thoroughly soaked in front of Devil’s Throat at the end of our ¾ mile walk up and down stairs and along trails. 
The walkway went right out into the water.

This last position offered a view both ways!

Some people wore raincoats - others went in shorts
and planned to dry by sun light.

Argentine side of the falls

Macuco Safari into the falls
After a quick sandwich at Igassu National Park (there were a variety of spelling between the Spanish, Portugues, and English translations) we took advantage of Macuco Safari. An electric cart took us through the Atlantic Forest area with guides explaining flora and fauna of the park and then letting us walk along the trail to Salto Macuco waterfall.  Then we boarded an inflatable boat, donned life jackets, stored our belongings in lockers and rode up the canyon facing the rapids and enjoying the view. We had a “waterfall bath” into The Three Musketeers all the while we were being filmed and photographed – I am sure this is how they make a great deal of their money. The captain brought the boat into the falls three different times and yes, we were totally soaked. However, I felt pretty good about be able to enter the Argentine side of the river free of the Visa charge.

That is Elder McKinney's foot that ROUS is walking by.

These rodents of unusual size would come right
up to tourists looking for food.

No comments:

Post a Comment