Australia and Oceania, South America · 27 Days · 29 Moments · August 2017

Dianne's voyage in Brazil

29 August 2017

That's all folks😢. All over until next time.

27 August 2017

Just the 2 of us now, so we did a day trip to Valparaiso. Fantastic street art and the Portside was very vibrant and noisy. Back at the hotel we showered and had a relaxed dinner before heading to the airport for our 1am flight back home
We decided to walk to the markets in the seedier part of town. Several warnings from locals saw us walking in a tight group with bags held firm. Very colourful but our plan to go even deeper into local culture where we were hoping to shop for lapis lazuli was ditched. Instead we walked the beautiful promenade and had lunch at a french cafe. Lovely. We walked 13.8km that day! Our last night with Joy & Perry😢

26 August 2017

Day 2 we caught the red bus to see the highlights of the city. 3/4 of the way through we got off and walked up the hill overlooking the city. Santiagos version of Corcovado. An old funicular links to a cable car for the full ride. Being a weekend residents were out recreating as most live in apartments. Dinner at a great seafood restaurant that Perry had earmarked.

25 August 2017

We have arrived in Santiago Chile 🇨🇱 We are expecting the weather to be a little cooler which should prepare us for returning to Melbourne. Once checked in to the Hotel Orly, a beautiful old world hotel, we hit the streets. This city could not be more different than Salvador. A modern city with lovely Parisian style streets and parks. It feels very safe. We took a ride up the tallest tower to get a full view of the city. Spectacular despite the thick layer of fog. The magnificent Andes in the background.

23 August 2017

4.50am saw us waiting for our pick up to arrive. Rick our tour guide had the honours. A little late as he tried to negotiate the labyrinth of streets in which our lodgings were located. Finally on the road he was as chatty as the previous day. Pointing out various landmarks as we drove. The new roads and shopping centres as well as the massive favela (now referred to as community so as not to sound so offensive) where the sewerage runs into an open drain before entering the sea untreated. I hope they manage to clean up the city while still preserving its character.
We decided on lunch at one of the local cafes. We spent a leisurely hour or so consuming some new dishes. My stomach was still dodgy so I was not so adventurous. David on the other hand was delivered a huge serve of what looked like cheesy polenta with various dried meats buried beneath. Very tasty! After lunch we explored the local shops for the last time and sat and listened to live music in another bar on the edge of the square. Back to our room to pack before a very early pick up next morning.
We committed to a tour today and our guide met us in the square at 8.30am. Full of interesting information he headed to newer areas of Salvador where we got a much more sanitised view of the city. Nice parks, condominiums everywhere and much wider streets. This is the type of area that the 15-20% non black population resides. The remainder are very poor to extremely poor with no chance of ever working their way out of their situation. We continued on our way to the most ornately decorated church I have seen, despite the plastic chairs. Unfortunately to get there we had to pass through a huge favela revealing to us the utterly desperate conditions in which most of the community live.

21 August 2017

We welcomed the slightly cooler weather as we would be on foot all day. Exploring the city and soaking up the vibe of this very colourful old section. Capoeira performers kept us engaged for some time in one of the squares. They are very athletic and so graceful. Heading to the bay area we caught famous lift down to the waterfront. Fishermen coming and going, processing their catch of the day and local teenagers jumping off anything above water level to show off to the tourists. Knowing what goes into the water they are indeed brave. Joy and myself settled in for a pre lunch drink in a restaurant overlooking the water while Perry went to the barber. David went along as interpreter to make sure nothing was lost in translation when Perry gesticulated a cutting action. They returned with Perry declaring possibly the best shave and haircut he has ever had.

20 August 2017

We squeezed in a couple of cathedrals before our afternoon flight to Salvador. We were staying in the historical section of the city in the old Pousada Colonial. The 370 year old building was originally owned by a doctor. The basement was where his slaves were housed and the whipping pole was underneath the breakfast area. A somewhat uncomfortable notion for a modern day resident. This part of city is in terrible decay but has a vibrancy often found where the residents are extremely poor. Despite this, it is full of colour and happy sounds. This is not even a favela just poor people!

19 August 2017

7.40am we were picked up from the hotel for a full day tour. Our guide Renier from the previous day was a good salesman. We got in the water with the pink dolphins, Went to an indigenous village, lunch on a floating restaurant, saw a floating village. David and Perry tried their hand at fishing and we saw the meeting of the waters. A full day. We retired to the public square for a pizza dinner and who should we encounter, none other than our French boys from the fazenda😀Fred and Tibot. We had a lovely night.

18 August 2017

Today we took a half day bus tour to get the lay of the land. 36' again so glad not to be walking. We saw several sights . A new bridge which was very modern linked the trendy beachside suburbs to an island which was sparsely populated. Our guide stopped at a roadside fruit market for us to sample some of the more unusual produce. David bought a bag of 'bacuri' similar to loquat. Passed the stadium built for the World Cup and the beach where we bought ice creams. In the afternoon we toured the famous opera house which dominates the city. Very ornate.

17 August 2017

We arrived in Manaus late morning and unable to check in we stored our bags and ventured into the very hot humid streets. A lot more rundown than I expected, almost every building is adorned with graffiti. The footpaths are an OH&S nightmare. 'Gritty' was Perry's description. We spent the afternoon exploring and reacquainting ourselves with overcrowded city living. Once we checked in we discovered we had our very own favela under our window. Quite an education. Our first dinner was at a traditional restaurant specialising in local fare. We had the tabaqui which is a large fish grilled to crispy perfection. Very good. Caipirinhas all round of course.
We had a long drive out from the fazenda. The previous days rain had made the road quite precarious. We did get a new spotto on the way out though. An anteater that came very close to David. We had a 3am flight to Manaus! We took a room at our previous hotel to store bags, have a shower then hit the bar. We got an hours sleep at São Paulo airport between flights and finally arrived 11.30am the next day.
Our final morning on the Pantanal 😢. We took a car ride searching for the elusive jaguar. Fresh tracks were seen but no luck. Joy took her life in her hands to get up close and personal with a caiman before I rang the bell for our last lunch.

16 August 2017

On the lake at 5.30am for canoeing with Claudia. We stopped on the 'beach' for a picnic breakfast. So peaceful this time of day. Lots of birds, caiman and the giant otters were out again. The weather was threatening and the rain forced us to paddle a bit quicker. Ben came out in a rescue boat but we decided to tough it out.

15 August 2017

We had a sleep in this morning. Didn't get up until 6.30am😩 We decided to try our hand at fishing. Armed with a large bag of fresh meat we headed to the river. The vultures and the caimans were interested in the bait but the fish were elusive. We lost a couple of hooks and sinkers but no fish. Another late afternoon drive produced 2 more giant anteaters. Perry got very close so should have some great pics.

14 August 2017

Up bright and early we were on the water by 6.45am. Our new best friend Fernando is so knowledgeable about the birdlife and animals. He spotted and identified many species we would never have seen without him. It was so peaceful. 4 hours later we returned. The highlight this morning was the giant otters playing and feeding in the water. The Amazonian kingfisher entertained us for ages tenderising a small fish.

13 August 2017

Horse riding. Well, haven't done that in a while! We set off with our host Ben before 7am for a leisurely ride on the fazenda. Ten minutes later Perry's steed objected to having him on its' back and threw him straight over the front and he executed a perfect roll to get out of the way. His bike riding experience coming to the fore. No injuries but a nervous host as well as myself and Joy. We rode for 3 1/2 hours and saw wonderful birdlife. After lunch we headed off in the truck for an afternoon of bird and wildlife spotting. The highlight was seeing the giant anteater. We were not disappointed. Drinks watching the sunset capped the day off beautifully.

12 August 2017

7.30am has us at the front of the Indaia hotel waiting for our transport to fazenda Barranco Alto in the Pantanal. Gabriel does not speak English so David continues to improve his Portuguese on the 6 hour journey. After a roadside coffee we continue off the highway onto more country roads. Fairly soon David is opening the first of 53 gates we will have to pass through before our destination. Our driver was very accommodating by stopping for us along the way whenever we spotted something exotic. Armadillo, giant anteater (dead), Caiman, capybara and countless beautiful birds passed the time very easily. We arrived at 1.30 and after lunch we settled in then went on a boat ride on the river/lake with Fernando. A very knowledgeable local guide. The bird nerds were in paradise.

11 August 2017

Today we have to leave the beautiful Belmond. It's a travel day and we are heading to Campo Grande for the night. Iguassu to Campo Grande via São Paulo. Uneventful you would think? Except when a passenger right in front of you vomits before we even take off. It takes more than an hour to assess the patient, clean the area, remove the offending passenger and traveling partner, locate and remove their bags, reassign Perry and Joy to new seats due to vomit encroachment and replace seat cushions.Aaaaaggghh😩 Joy said it was karma because they pushed in front of the queue to board. A speedy check in has us with caipirinhas in hand by the bar in no time at all. All is forgiven.

9 August 2017

Our last day in Iguassu we decided to go for a walk along one of the tracks. After our regulation sumptuous breakfast we headed off down the road. A guide was compulsory so Erna-Carolina accompanied us along the track. A gentle walk ended at a kiosk where hot chocolate , coffee and fruit awaited us. Boarding the flat bottomed boat we headed off to explore the flat section of the huge Iguassu river. Ten minutes into the journey we were transferred into another boat? Engine problems, best not to know these things😩

8 August 2017

Off to Argentina today to view the falls from the other side. Our driver Nadai was delightful and dealt with all the paperwork etc so we just sat back and relaxed. We didn't think the falls could get any better but we were wrong. Spectacular. A lot more populated on this side, peak season must be a disaster.

7 August 2017

No better way to start the day than with a Belmond buffet brekky. Fully sated we set off for a walk and encountered masses of butterflies. We had never seen so many different species in one place. Bush bashing (a David shortcut) found us down by the river. Unfortunately we came to a dead end and had to retreat. Hauling ourselves back up courtesy of the well placed rope😩 We continued on to take the boat ride under the falls. Fantastic and a lot of fun. After our very steamy walk/climb being drenched wasn't so bad.

6 August 2017

Up early to travel to Iguassu. An uneventful flight then transfer to the magnificent Belmond Hotel Das Cataratas A beautiful olde world building with impeccable service. Fabios everywhere to pamper us. Our first sight of the famous falls did not disappoint. Majestic, magnificent and immense. A must see for everyone.

5 August 2017

Last day in Rio😢 We took a leisurely walk along Ipanema. Such a beautiful beach. Our main focus was the Sunday market and it did not disappoint. Fantastic crafts and local food. We had the acaraje served by the famous Bahia women. On the way back we stopped at a shop to buy tshirts and havianas. One of the original forts was calling us for a drink. After exploring the historical aspect we settled at a table overlooking Copacabana. A very good seafood platter at a local restaurant was fitting for our final night.
Today is all about the views. We took a tour and had a full day of being tourists. The 7.30am pickup took us straight to the Sugarloaf. Not one but 2 cable cars to contend with. The view from the top was magnificent. Copacabana, the bay and the favelas all in sight. After lunch it was Christ the redeemer. A massive statue overlooking the whole of Rio. A marvel of engineering. Past the favelas and on to the metropolitan cathedral. Fairly unattractive on the outside and most unusual construction for a cathedral. Once you enter it's a totally different experience. Wonderful stained glass lights up the interior. Finally the Selaron steps. A mosaic stairway constructed with tiles from all over the world. Very bohemian and popular with the ubiquitous posing females. After all that we needed some serious carbs to fortify us. Two massive pizzas were delivered to our table. We did our best!

3 August 2017

Our trip finally begins! We walked the full length of Copacabana beach and back through some of the shops. My Fitbit calculated 13.8km. Not bad for getting the blood moving after the long flight. We deserved the couple of caipirinhas we had on the beach. Unfortunately that came with its drawbacks in the form of a tattoo😱I have to get better at saying no! We went to a nice steak restaurant for dinner.

3 August 2017

Off to a good start. No fog in Melbourne so first leg should be on time😀