Well we´ve been on our Southern Cross tour for just over a week now, we´re in a group of 14 with our guide Paula (who´s a funny tiny Peruivan lady who loves everything jungle, samba and eco; who talks to birds alot and can´t handle her alcohol as we found out the other night! like everything in small packages shes a little loco.)
We´ve done a couple of overnight buses so far so some days we´ve been trying to stretch our backs out and catch some zzz´s where ever we can and other days we´ve woken up in idealic surrounding with more cake for breakfast than you can shake a stick at - they have a very sweet tooth over here; even their main cocktail Carpariniahs have about 2 tablespoons of sugar in per glass!
We headed out of Rio down the coast to Brazils third largest Island Ilha Grande, it has only a small town, no real roads and no cars, so was very peaceful and a world away from Buenos Aires and Rio. We stayed in a crazy little dollshouse type place with knomes and allsorts in the garden and many shades of paint.
We got a boat round the island a bit further to then hike across it to an uninhabited beach called Lopez Mendez which is 4.5k of golden sand but the clouds had followed us from Rio so while it was still hot it looked a bit darker than on the postcards. There was one guy renting out some old surfboards so Chris had a go, managed to catch a few waves before nearly loosing his nipples from the old wax!
We then headed back to the mainland and further down the Costa Verde, to a place called Paraty, where the rain also followed us so instead of heading to the beach we found a bar, a TV for Chris to watch Chelsea and some very cold beers and settled in for the afternoon. Later we went to see a Caporia show and enjoyed more Carpriniahs, while muscle bound bodes half danced/fought with each other, it was great to see something so different and to enjoy some music other than Tango. Later on the locals where up and dancing and our guide Paula was being whisked round the floor - its quite strange seeing teenagers and people our age all dancing so formally to salsa and samba type stuff but also great fun.
The sun came out for us on our final coastal day so we got a bus down to Trinidade, took a while longer due to another bus flying past us and ripping our wingmirrow clean off so we had to wait for another bus to replace it! it was worth it though golden sands, hardly any people and water even I could get in.
We very quickly saw Sao Paulo on our way to Iguazu - just to change buses - but my goodness that place is huge and so full of traffic we didn´t think we´d get out of there! It was another 14 hours before we got to our destination but to a plush hotel with a pool so all good. The rest of our group went on a quick shopping trip to Paraguay but we decided to chill out; they were able to just go over the border and back with out any imigration!
Our first attempt to go to Iguazu falls was stopped but oh what a surprise another Argentinian strike this time rather than due to farmers it was in protest over public schooling so we went to the Brazilian side instead to try again the next day. The falls are spectatcular we have never seen anything on this scale before and set in such a massive nature park too. We also got caught in some of the heaviest rain yet and so striped down to our swim wear and waterproof jackets to preserve our clothing for later!
We did make it to the Argentinian side the next day and thank goodness they´d finished protesting as we thought the Brazilian side was amazing but this was even crazier, you could get right up in to the devils throat as they call it and also walk through different paths that brought you out at loads of different views of it all. You got soaked by the spray but still wanted to keep staring at it all. we also got to see more wildlife than we have yet, loads of colourful birds and butterflys but of course the best bit were the monkeys! who we sat and watched for about 20 minutes as the whole group of them just passed us by overhead - very difficult to photo though as they don´t stay still for long! and I´m not quite David Attenbourgh yet!!!
Unfortunately I haven´t been able to upload the photos on here but I have been able to put them on my facebook page if you have access to that and I´ll try and put them on here soon.
Hope everyone is good and we miss you all, proper tea and Toots. xxx