I got up early this morning to go with Jeeves to the "Tres Frontera", an area in Puerto Iguazu where you could see all 3 countries of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. We did the 30 minute walk across town in the rain (again more rain). Luckily I had my umbrella and the poncho from the previous day. Still, by the time we got back to the hostel, my shoes and pants were soaked. Jeeves left on a shuttle to the airport to head to Rio, while I grabbed breakfast and my bags to go to the bus terminal. There I got on a bus to Foz do Iguacu, the Brazilian equivalent of Puerto Iguazu.
It was quite the journey to get to the Foz do Iguacu bus station for my bus to Rio de Janeiro. First I got on the bus in Puerto Iguazu, where my Natural bag holding my goodies broke because it was wet from the rain and spilled everything all over the bus floor. A kind lady named Lucy sitting next to me chatted with me the ride there. She was a traveling nurse originally from Bolivia but had spent a number of years in California nursing.
Lucy had recently moved to Puerto Iguazu to help her daughter set up a bed and breakfast to support their family. She said it was difficult managing that from California, but she was looking forward to going to San Diego soon to visit friends. She gave me her e-mail address (email@example.com) in case I knew people looking for lodging in Puerto Iguazu. She was very friendly and spoke great English, so she helped prepare me for what I had to do to get to the bus station.
Our bus stopped off at a building where everyone got off to go through Argentinian customs, then got right back on. Then it made a second stop where only those of us not from Latin America got off to go through Brazilian customs. I had to wait for a new bus to come my way to drive me into the city. I hopped onto the first bus and let the driver know I needed to get to the buses. He had me sit near him up front so he could point it out. He attempted to talk with me but since I knew no Portuguese it was a bit of a challenge.
He eventually got across that I could trade my pesos with him for Reals. I was happy to do so! Finally we made it to the bus station where I got out and he waved me across the street. Unfortunately, when I got there I was a bit confused, nothing looked like where I needed to be to get to Rio. I stopped in the Tourist Information desk where there was a man who spoke English and told me I needed to take one of the local buses to the International Bus station. Since it was 11am by this time and my bus left in an hour, he pointed me around the corner to a taxi instead. The taxi driver sped me over to the terminal, where I could luckily pay him in the Reals I got from the bus driver. Once there I stopped at an ATM for cash and purchased some snacks at the store. I went to the tourist information desk to make sure the form I received in Buenos Aires was good to get me on the bus. Good thing I stopped, because it was actually a voucher that I needed to turn in to the
Pluma counter for an actual ticket. I got my ticket and headed outside because my bus had arrived. They threw my bag under the bus and on I went.
This bus was not near as nice as the last one - it still had reclining seats and foot rests but no blankets, pillows, or food. It was also only a single layer so no big front windows to see out of. It didn't get very full, we maybe picked up about 20 people through the first couple stops on the trip. I sat up front to prevent motion sickness and helped keep me aware of what was going on with the bus. We stopped every 4 hours for bathroom, food, and gas but sometimes it was only a bus stop to drop people off or pick more up. One time we stopped for a bathroom, and the lady's room light didn't work. As I waited in line for the stall more women joined us, but because I couldn't understand them I didn't try stopping them as they tried to walk in on the one stall where the previous woman had left it open to let some of the light in. Oops! It was a cold night on the bus, which ended up making me sick because my socks were still wet and I only had my coat to keep me warm.
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