A Travellerspoint blog

Itaipu Dam

And other things...

sunny 34 °C
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We had muchas fun looking around the world´s biggest hydro-electro producing dam. We were ready to sign ourselves up for one years hard, unpaid labour after they showed us the (propaganda) film prior to the tour; our services weren´t required though, because the dam was completed in 2006. Lisa had a face on in the beginning because she had noticed some tour groups were being given orange hard hats to wear and she didn´t get one. Tensions eased when she realised that part of the tour included a ride on the special (needs) train, which shows you around the Itaipu zoo park (this houses damaged wildlife from the surrounding area). Andyb got more excited than he does viewing a well erected piece of ducting, when he saw the vastness of the dam, which is 8 kilometers long. An awful lot of concrete (enough to build 210 Maracana stadiums) and steel (enough to make 80 awful towers) has gone into the dam´s production. It supplies Paraguay with virtually all of its electricity, and Brazil with about 25%. Furthermore, the indiginous people are all VERY happy that the dam was built even though it flooded vast areas of land causing millions of them to be relocated (so says Itaipu Dam´s company information film).


We´ve also added some photos of the wildlife that we spotted at the Itaipu Dam and the surrounding area of Iguazu.



This is a very exotic creature, certainly not from these parts! (this photo was taken at 11:00am after the heavens opened)

Posted by bruntonal 10:37 Archived in Brazil Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Big Water!!

semi-overcast 38 °C
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Iguazu River (guazu meaning big in Guarani and I means water - stick with us kids, were a font of knowledge) is home to the most spectacular falls we have ever seen and if we were American we might even be tempted to call them AWESOME. The Brazilian side of the falls gives you a more panoramic view, but you can get much closer (and wetter!) on the Argentinian side. We´ve finally been blessed with some hot weather and when the sun shines on the falls, rainbows and swifts appear, which is very pretty.

We think we are best letting the pictures and videos speak for themselves though; suffice to say that this has been the best few days we have spent away so far. The scenery is breathtaking, as hopefully you will see....









Well, is that enough pictures of waterfalls? Are you still awake? Just wait for the slide show presentations we`re going to host when we get home! We have many more photo`s of the falls to delight you with.


One observation on bus queuing - this does not exist in Brazil or Argentina - The Bruntons have had to tut a few times as we have lost our place in line. It is typical for us to be last to get on the bus even though we were first at the stop.

Posted by bruntonal 09:48 Archived in Brazil Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)


sunny 30 °C
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Well, we had a fine time in the city of Curitiba. It`s a lovely little place; the standard of living is supposed to be much higher here than in other parts of Brazil. We still saw quite a bit of poverty though (lots of kids begging on the streets). Stayed in a 1970`s inspired hotel with tasty breakfasts. The good people of footprints did fail to tell us however that the hotel was situated in the middle of the red light district (there was a number of peep shows and ladyboys hanging around).

Highlights of Curitiba included the Lanchonette that served us cold (670ml) beers for only 2 reals (about 60p) and laid on the Liverpool v Arsenal footie match - Andyb in his element, Lisab tipsy. The Sunday market was also good to see - very busy and we were treated to dancing in the streets (we`ve uploaded a video of it).

What of food? Well, we found the BEST "Super Vegetariano Restaurant" South America has to offer. (It was on Avenue Presidente Faria - no. 121 - big sign, easy to find). It was a lunch time place that was all you could eat for 8 reals (are we starting to sound cheap?!) and the food was lovely - we would particularly recommend the black bean stew with brown rice, though you could help yourself to loads of salad and they had about 5 hot dishes to choose from too. It is only open Monday to Friday - about 12pm till 2pm, so we got to sample it twice - Lisab in her element, Andyb full.

The people, as in the rest of Brazil continued to be very friendly and we loved the relaxed atmosphere. Even the local dogs are friendly in Brazil - Lisa accidently made a fuss of one this day and it followed us around the streets for about 2 hours afterwards. Andyb says she`s not allowed to talk to any more stray animals; he has enough looking after the wife without taking on anymore commitments.




Posted by bruntonal 09:55 Archived in Brazil Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

The story of the cheese pasty...

(...not a sketch from "Dumb and Dumber")

overcast 28 °C
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Wanting a little snack whilst waiting for the bus to Sao Paulo, Lisa spied the local lachonette across the road. Our mouths watering at the prospect of a tasty cheese pasty, we toddled over to the fast food outlet. In our best portuguese, we requested "Duas pastel queijo, por favor". The chinese gentleman behind the counter gave us a blank stare. "Duas pastel queijo, por favour" (2nd attempt). Chinese man screwed up his face and looked slightly bemused but still gave no reply. Attempting to alter our pronounciation, we (for the third time) asked "duas pastel queijo, por favor". The chinese man this time was very confused, and was now looking around for assistance, to which there were no helpers. The forth attempt: "Duas pastel kweso, por favor" - Chinese man with same screwed up expression, and now getting (ever so) slightly aggitated stated "ah, you mean CHEESE????" to which we shamefully replied "yes please".

Posted by bruntonal 15:14 Archived in Brazil Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Puppet show in Paraty

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rain 20 °C
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We were advised by the good people of the "South American Footprints Guide" not to miss the puppet show in Paraty. Even after being robbed by Dick (the taxi man) and getting soaked to the skin trying to find the theatre - they were right. The puppet show has been going since 1971 (good year) and it started in New York before settling in the early 80´s in Paraty. The current show started in 1996 and celebrates (what the company considers) the finest sketches from the previous shows it has performed over the years.

The show (which is for 14 year olds and over) deals with such thought provoking subjects as suicide and has received acclaim from no other than Stephen of the "New York Times" who stated that "at the end of the performance one is left with a sense that the puppets are more human than humans" or some such...We think secretly that Stephen may have enjoyed a whiskey or two before the show.

However, the Bruntons were also equally enamoured by the show. Unfortunately (being Northern Oiks who lack the ability to interpret high brow culture) it was for a very different reason. Early on, before the show had begun, Lisab started to get that giggling feeling - and warned Andyb that the show may provoke tears. This was not helped by Andyb shouting "I´m blind" (much louder than he should have) as the theatre dimmed it´s lights to leave us in complete darkness in anticipation of the first sketch.

The other reason for the Brunton´s tittering was that unlike previous puppet shows encountered (lets face it - not many) whereby the puppets are manipulated by strings - these puppets are hand manipulated. So, despite the company´s best efforts to disguise the pupeteers (by dressing them top to toe in black) they are still very visible. In the first sketch, which consists of an old man playing his violin, the women pupeteers were very noticable. However, in other sketches, they were less so. In the beginning however, this had Lisab guffawing, having to stiffle her laughter by stuffing half a pashmina into her gob and pegging her nose. Attempts at covering it over with coughing worked quite well.

The raison détre of the show culminated in the final sketch. This portrayed a masturbating (no kidding) female puppet. Unlike the other sketches that were in silence (except for the background music) this was accompanied by adult noises made by the female pupeteers (a la "When Harry met Sally"). The female puppet´s belly then began to swell (to signify pregancy) and as the pupeteer removed her gloves to take on a midwifery role - out popped (your thinking baby, so were we - we´d be wrong) a chiffon scarf. We felt that this would have left the 14 year old catholic girls in the audience very confused - it definitely had us scratching our heads! This caused more hilarity from audience members (and this time not just from the Brunton clan).

Fun was had by all. You had to be there really - and if your thinking of going to Paraty - take Footprints´advice and don´t miss it. There was certainly lots of giggling reliving moments as we walked home (couldn´t afford another taxi ride) and the rain mattered less because of it.

We don´t wish to extract the son of Joe Jackson out of the puppet show - instead we think that it can be enjoyed on many levels - that of Stephen from the New York Times or on an ignorant Brunton level. Also, the puppets and stage scenery are very well crafted and interesting in themselves - the best one hour we spent in Paraty!

These are some piccies of rain soaked Paraty



Posted by bruntonal 13:42 Archived in Brazil Tagged events Comments (0)

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