Sad to see the first leg of our tour end

Trip Start Apr 25, 2006
Trip End May 31, 2006

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Saturday, May 13, 2006

We got the the airport in Rio with plenty of time for our flight at 7am only to find out that it was delayed until 8. After waiting in the airport for 5 hours we finally caught our plane at about 9:30. It was the biggest plane that I have ever been in. There was a set of 3 seats then a set of 4, followed by a set of 2 seats. It was funny as soon as our plane stopped at stopover at Sao Paulo, everyone one got out of their seats as quick as possible to get their luggage out of the overhead bins. Andre and I couldnīt help but snicker when they were all still standing for another 15 minutes while the huge plane emptied. That is one thing that is quite different here. I thought that I had a low patience, but everyone is much worse here in South America... you should see how they drive... Dad I will try not to pick up any bad habits like I supposedly did from Calgary ;) Flying over the Andes was unbelievable, I couldnīt wait to land in Lima. We landed and got through immigration, got our bags (still intact) and got some money exchanged. I donīt think that we could land in an airport and not get ripped off by the money exchanges. So we got some money exchanged and got in a cab. Seeing Lima it was quite a shock as compared to Rio. The standard of living has dropped quite a bit from Brazil. The cab driver warned us in Spanish that the neighbourhood that we are staying in is not such a nice area and do not take much money with you when you are walking. He was trying to get us to stay in another area... not sure if this is because he wanted to take us on a longer trip and ask for more money. We get to our hotel and cross a busy street where our hotel opens the locked gates for us to get into. We get into our room and crash since we have only had an hour of sleep the past 30 some hours. We slept a good 15 hours and got up this morning at 8am and had some breakfast. We ventured out on the street and stick out like sore thumbs, both of us extremely white and taller than most people around us. Andre is wearing shorts and this make us stick out even more since the majority of the people are wearing pants (or trousers as our UK friends like to call them, apparently pants are underwear... who would have known) and long sleeves.
I miss the company of the tour, the other new words that we learnt from the couple from Australia is that a sweater is called a jumper, fries are chips and they laughed and me when I called a Coke a ĻpopĻ. We will meet the next tour group tonight at 4:30.

So far on this past tour I have enjoyed the smaller communities the most. I will let you guys know my thoughts about the last few days as Andre has been the main blogger up until now. Sao Paulo was the first place that I was really scared and I had bad feelings in the pit of my stomach about the area that we were in. I did not go out the first night that we were there because I did not have a good feeling of the city. They following day we went on a city tour, with the highlight of the tour being their soccer stadium. They city seemed very dirty and polluted. I know that 19 million people live there but for some reason I expected it to be nicer. Andre and I walked around a bit that night, ate a hot dog from a street vendor. In the hot dog there was mayo, mashed potatoes, corn and it was topped with what looked like hickory sticks. I thought that it was good at the time but I ended up getting sick later that night. The next day I still wasnīt feeling 100% for our trip to Paraty, a small costal pirate town. I really liked the atmosphere here. It was a nice break from Sao Paulo, which I would have to say is my least favourite place on this past tour. We walked around the town on their stone streets that night. The stone roads were very slippery and were hard to walk on but we made it. We walked down to the beach before going to bed at our hotel. Andre and Pete (from Wales) bought a 26 of Cashasa (made from sugar cane and is 46.5% alcohol) on the way home for 15 reals (about 7 US dollars). I had a rest in the hammock while they sat by the pool and drank this stuff. I headed over to see them and they were already pretty hammered and they were only finished a third of the bottle between the two of them!!! They wanted me to try the stuff, but I still wanīt feeling to great from the night before. I had a smell and that was enough to turn me away. The next day we spent the day on a boat travelling around the coast of Paraty. I really enjoyed this despite the rain. I did not end up jumping in the ocean like Andre did, because the ride home would be too cool for me. That night it was Peteīs birthday (from Wales) and Andre and Pete finished off the rest of the bottle of the Cashasa. I tried some tonight and if you hold your breath while you drink the stuff it was not too bad and apparently grape fanta makes it taste even better. That night we had a nice supper for Peteīs birthday at a Thai restaurant. The food was excellent and comparable to the great steaks that we had in Uruguay. We have ate well for cheap the majority of the trip, with a whole meal (12 ounce steak) including a litre of beer for about 8 US dollars.

The next day we headed to Rio, of course it has to be one of the nicest days and we have to spend it in a bus. I had good feelings of Rio as we were driving in. It is a very beautiful city, I would have to say that it is my favorite big city of the whole trip. That night we headed to a soccer match at the biggest stadium in the world (fits 100,000 people). I did not end up bringing my camera because I thought that it wouldnīt be safe, but I wish I would have brought it. The atmosphere was amazing and puts any game that I have ever been to to shame. The stadium was divided evenly in half between the two teams and half of the stadium would be up on their feet and cheering and jumping. I could feel the concrete moving beneath me as they jumped!! We had a whole day city tour the following day (12th of May). It rained off and on the majority of the day but the sight seeing was still great, with amazing views. Overall the highlight of the trip for me would have to be the Igazu Falls or the soccer match. I would go to the falls again if I had the chance. Hope all is fine at home and Andre and I enjoy your emails and comments. Happy Motherīs Day!

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