The whole scene was just manic. There were cars, lorries, buses, motorbikes everywhere, Add to it bicycles and handcarts, market stalls, fruit sellers, garlic sellers (yes for some unknown reason the bridge between Paraguay and Brasil was full of people selling garlic) and the scene was just chaos. This has to be one of the busiest border crossings we have ever seen – more so than any of the ones in and out of Thailand or India & Nepal and that’s saying something!
The border crossing with immigration on both sides was easy enough, the only fly in the ointment for us was that they only gave us a 90 day visa to enter Brasil. Before we had left England our research told us there was absolutely no time limit on our stay in Brasil so it came as a bit of a surprise. When we queried it they told us it had changed and we would have to extend our visa at a Federal Police station. Buggers!
It won’t be an issue they told us – it’s just the hassle of having to find it and go through their procedures which can be a bind. But never mind- if that’s the way it is – that’s what we will have to do.
Anyway, we found a friendly taxi driver on the other side of immigration who agreed to take us into the centre of the of town of Foz de Iguazu (this is the correct spelling by the way not as the map shows it) in exchange for Guarani – the Paraguay currency as we hadn’t had chance to get any Real yet.
The town of Foz De Iguazu doesn’t really have much going for it – it is it’s specific location in relation to a natural wonder that draws people here.
You have probably already guessed what that wonder is as the name gives it away. You can read about our visits there separately.
Our first few days here the weather wasn’t all that sunny and Jody really wanted a sunny day for the photographs. So we killed a few days getting ourselves sorted out – finding plug adaptors, getting used to the currency, doing laundry etc.
Foz De Iguazu also lies at the point where 3 countries meet. Paraguay, Argentina and of course Brasil. One day we caught a local bus which took us all the way there.
We were able to look across the point where 2 rivers meet; the Iguazu River & the Paraná River. To be honest, there really wasn’t much else there – it was case of “oh look – there’s Argentina” and “Oh look – there’s Paraguay”. But they had a cafe and we grabbed a cup of tea. How very British!
The area we were staying in wasn’t really a tourist area so finding food in the evenings wasn’t particularly easy – especially for Jody. However days time wasn’t so bad and every day we made sure we filled up at breakfast and took a late lunch. The big supermarket we shopped at also had a restaurant inside it which although cheaper than a restaurant, wasn’t particularly cheap.
It was a pay by kilo restaurant. Similar concept as Eat all you can restaurants in England in terms of all the different foods laid out for you to chose what you want and serve yourself, but then they weigh your plate at the till and they give you a sticker on a slip. You don’t pay there and then as you can go up as many times as you want but each time you get another sticker. You take your slip to the till at the end and you pay for what you took.
A good concept really which means you are careful about what you take and don’t waste anything – not like our eat all you can places where you see people load their plates and leave half of it. (except the Toby Carvery – we’ve never seen anyone leave any food there!) Ummm we are missing the Toby Carvery for sure. And Wetherspoons breakfast oh don’t get us started!
One thing we didn’t pick up on when we were there, was that the city of Ciudad del Este is one of the top places in the world to buy electronic goods. Apparently the Americans fly in to buy cheap goods here as it’s a Duty Free Zone and a lot of the goods come here from America. Well that explains why the border was so crazy as well – 100s of Brasilians crossing to buy cheap goods too.
With this shopping haven just a short taxi ride away, the temptation was just too much for Bryan and he was off!
As we have said before, we were finding it incredibly difficult to charge anything and it seems as if Bryan’s lap-top charger had blown too. The price at an Apple store in Rio was going to be about £80 so it was worth going to see if he could get one cheaper.
And Bingo – yes they did and £30 saved straight away – and a happy bunny to boot!
When it was time to leave we did consider the options; buses to Rio stopping at interesting places on the way, or a short flight straight there.
We discounted the buses as a) we couldn’t find any interesting places to get off at b) bus travel in Brasil is very expensive in comparison to other south American countries and would in the end cost us more than a flight.
So the flights won out. This is now the 3rd time we have done this on this trip and we also put it down to being a bit travel weary. Rio is our final destination in preparation for the Olympics. No more destinations after this so it also seems quite sad to be going there.