Passing for a Brazilian

Trip Start Apr 14, 2005
Trip End May 26, 2005

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Flag of Brazil  ,
Sunday, April 24, 2005

My theory that I can pass for a native anywhere I travel continues to be correct. Yesterday at Iguacu Falls, I went up to buy a ticket to enter, and the cashier only charged me the rate for citizens of Brazil. Must have been my eloquent mumbling of "uno".

My day in Sao Paulo was excellent. It reminded me alot of nyc-- not necessarily the prettiest city but very lively and lots of energy and the people were very diverse. I noticed on the subway that we could have been almost anywhere in the world because the passengers all looked so different from each other.

Kiko and his sister decided to show me true San Paulo instead of just going to museums or other places that they thought you could find in any big city. So we took the metro down to the center of town and went shopping on 25. The street made Canal Street look peaceful. Just tons and tons of people shopping for cheap stuff. Lots of fun to see it though and definitely not something you would find elsewhere. Afterwards, we met up with some of their friends and went to this big indoor market (kind of reminded me of Redding Terminal Market in Philly) where we had lunch at a famous sandwich place. And that was all we had time for before I had to head off to the bus. Overall though, it was a great experience to see Sao Paulo with locals.

By the time I got to the bus station, the normal bus to Foz had sold out. This gave me an excuse though to ride on the first class sleeper bus which turned out well. There are only 3 seats across and the seats totally recline and they give you pillows and blankets. Although I feared I'd arrive after 15 hours on the bus and feel like I just got off a red-eye, I actually was totally well rested.

If anyone else comes to Foz do Iguacu, you must stay at Pousada de Laura. Laura is the best-- its like having a cute little mom around to watch over you! She is always around making sure that I am ok, making me coffee, giving me advice, and generally just being nice. Since I was so well rested when I arrived, I headed right to see Iguacu Falls (after eating some breakfast with Laura of course). The falls are beautiful-- alot like Niagara Falls. I had a few views from the top, and then took the obligatory boat ride up to the falls where you of course get soaking wet. There were also these crazy racoon like animals all over with long snouts like anteaters. They would jump up on the tables at the food areas and steal your food and they even took an ice cream cone out of some kid's hand. Very bizarre.

There was only one other couple in the guesthouse last night (and they were out) and there was also a TV. So I decided to stay in and cook. I bought some pasta at the grocery store and had a nice night in watching English tv and making dinner. Speaking of domesticity, yesterday was also the most glorious of all days: Laundry Day. (You know its bad when you have clothes in 4 bags: clean, almost clean, mostly dirty but could be worn once more if absolutely necessary, and the pile you are tempted to burn). So so exciting to have clean clothes again!

Today I was supposed to go see the Argentinian side of the falls (Iguacu is also like Niagara, a country on either side) but it was a torrential downpour this morning. So Laura suggested that I spend the morning shopping in Ciadade del Este, the town right across the border in Paraquay. So I took the public bus over the border, walked around a bit and bought a skirt, and then took the bus back. Its a bit like any border town-- lots of shopping and gambling. They bus didn't stop on the way over so they didn't check or stamp our passports. I was a bit nervous on the way back when Brazilian border patrol got on the bus and searched everyone's bags, but I just stayed quiet and hopefully passed again for a Brazilian!

The rest of today has been crazy rain so I stayed in and watched some more tv, read, talked with Laura, and am now spending alot of time at the internet cafe. The rain is the reason this entry is getting ridicuously long! I also uploaded some pictures from the rock climbing trip so check those out if you get a chance.
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