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Published: January 15th 2019
We are up at 5 am this morning to fly 750 miles south-west to Foz do Iguacu on the border between Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. The old man has survived the night without succumbing to dysentery – a fact he puts down to a combination of luck and having killed the germs by drinking caipirinhas.
We have booked and prepaid for our taxi, which sounds like a recipe for disaster. But 15 minutes ahead of schedule and before we’ve even had chance to worry about what to do if it doesn’t arrive, we get a call to say the driver is in reception.
One advantage of being up so early is that we see the sunrise over Rio en route to the airport. It really is something; the city and its monoliths silhouetted by the bright pink sky, with an illuminated Christ the Redeemer looking down on proceedings. With the obvious exception of its sewage arrangements, we have enjoyed our time in Rio.
The flight runs smoothly and we arrive in Foz on time. My favourite thing about the airport is the CCTV footage of the luggage shown on a screen in the baggage hall. And so we
get to watch a rather long film of a collection of men hitting the conveyor belt with a selection of tools in order to try to make it go, whilst our cases sit 2 metres away on the other side of the wall. Eventually defeat is accepted and the baggage is moved to a different belt.
We have booked and paid for our hotel in Foz twice; the first time we used the booking site HotelQuickly which is basically a con. Ironically, on our travels round South America, we have been robbed from someone in China.
It’s not the best hotel; it has a whiff of drain, and swinging a cat definitely isn’t an option. But we’ve stayed in (much) worse.
In the afternoon we visit Itaipu, the world’s second biggest dam. I’m wearing a new T shirt - £1.80 from Primark. I immediately realise why it was so cheap; the material is very thin. Normally this would be an issue, but we’re in Brazil, having your underwear on show is practically obligatory.
We catch the bus to Itaipu and take the panoramic tour which involves a bus ride around the complex, across the top of
the dam, stopping at various points for photo ops, whilst being told lots of facts. For example that the dam holds enough water for everyone on the planet to have 4,000 litres each.
In the evening we go out for dinner. We think the items on the menu are individual portions, so order one each. The old man selects filet mignon and basically gets an entire cow with condiments and I order the chorizo and get a sausage the size of a small country. When we look around, most people have ordered one dish between 2 or even 4. The old man works determinedly through his steak but I am defeated by my sausage and requested a doggy bag.
On our return to the hotel, it starts to rain. A lot. I know we’re in the rainforest so rain should really be expected, but the suddenness and severity of the outbursts takes me by surprise. It certainly doesn’t help my almost-see-through Primark T shirt.
We make it back somewhat drenched. I sort out clothes and luggage etc whilst the old man sinks into a meat coma…
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