Lago Itaipu

Trip Start May 01, 2010
Trip End Oct 15, 2010

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Where I stayed
Katharina House

Flag of Brazil  , State of Parana,
Tuesday, May 25, 2010

We had such a nice time in Florianopolis, it was a fantasic hostel and the people were amazing also. But, we had to make a move at some point, so we all left yesterday- everyone going in different directions. We are sadly leaving the coast now for the significant future- time to do some mountains!

After checking out of our hostel at 3pm, we waited for the downpour to pass, donned our backpacks and started to head for the bus station which is a fifteen minute walk or so. Five minutes in, we heard a horn honking and it was the guy from our hostel in his very old school VW Beatle- yes- it was over fifty years old! I keep seeing them and wishing I a) had one or b) at least got a ride in one. So when he offered us a lift we were like- hell yeah! So in we piled with bags and all, Jamie in the front as always. Only this time, the car really was so small that the poor guy had to make some serious contact with Jamie's leg whilst attempting to change the gears, we resorted to crawling along in 1st and 2nd gear in the end!!!

When we did eventually arrive and fall out of the teeny car, we grabbed the first local bus into the city. We had done this journey in the dark last week so this time we saw how scary it really was- being thrown around hairpin bends up the steep mountain so fast we were on two wheels!
Half an hour later, we paid for our reserved ticket to Foz de Iguazu and boarded our "14" hour night bus which turned into something more like 16 hours. We were at the back of the bus which we have now decided never to do again as both of us were beginning to heave slightly- might be the fault of the DS game we were trying to destroy each other at!

Arriving in Foz at 9am gave us all day to get ourselves sorted. Originally we were going to go and visit the spectacular waterfalls today which are shared with Argentina, but on discovering that it is their equivalent of a Bank Holiday weekend, with 10,000 people in the national park, we opted for the lesser know but just as impressive Itaipu Dam.

The dam is shared with Paraguay, it is the second largest dam in the world and so we are told- the most efficient. Shared equally with its' neighbour, the power supplies 97% of Paraguays electrical demand and 20% of the whole of Brazil- which is huge. To get the same quantity of energy from petrol, one must burn 556,000 barrels per day!
It's very impressive. The dam flooded the river creating a lake behind it that is more than 100 meters deep and over 110 miles long. It destroyed thousands of hectares of prime Atlantic forest, indigenous villages and ancient ruins. But the company has made exceptional efforts to support the community surrounding it and maintains eight biological reserves within the area to protect the wildlife that was rescued from the flood including the infamous jaguar.

The only way to see it is through a tour which cost around 8 and gives a good overview of the whole dam. We got some excellent pictures and thanks to the plentiful rain we have had over the last few days- we got to see the overflow gates open with masses of water spraying into the air!

All in all, a pleasant afternoon and the weather held out for us. We treated ourselves to an all you can eat buffet for lunch which was fantastic- 3 courses and drinks for 3.50 each. However, we have managed no more than a cup of soup for our dinner due to me attempting to pace Jamie at eating resulting in very fat food baby and tummy cramps!

Anyway, we will be here for a few days to see the waterfalls from both the Brazilian side and the Argentinian side. After that, we are putting together a plan for Paraguay.
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