Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Adventure Continues - Foz do Iguaçu


We returned home, did our laundry, slept in our own beds, and, in less than 24 hours, were back at the airport to continue our adventure.
As we waited for our flight, Don and Wayne read/slept. Dianne and I crocheted. 😊


The Foz do Iguaçu airport is small - way too small for the amount of visitors this area receives. The hotel was very nice.

 Our hotel was all decked out for Christmas!

We enjoyed a delicious breakfast each morning.



Iguaçu Falls
The name Iquaçu is an indigenous word meaning "big water."
And BIG it is. 
The Iguaçu Falls stretch in width for 2.7 kilometers (or 1.7 miles). Their height varies between 60 meters (200 feet) and 82 meters (or 269 feet). This makes the Iguaçu Falls taller than Niagara Falls and twice as wide.
Brazil and Argentina share this most majestic natural wonder of the world.
The falls really are amazing.

From the Argentinian side, you can literally walk into the heart of the falls at the Devil’s Throat and, if your temple president doesn't forbid it, take a boat ride under the tumbling waters.





Over on the Brazilian side, you can take in better panoramic views of the falls from all directions.

The little critter on the left is a coati. He looks a lot like a rat with a tail to me. There are signs all over the place showing people wounded from scratches and bites from these guys. You are warned not to feed them, but, of course...

Anyway,
You really have to do both sides!


Downstream from the falls is where the Parana and Iguaçu rivers meet, and so do the borders of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. Each country has created a landmark in their national colors on a spot in each of their countries where you can see all three.
It's called - The Triple Frontier.
We enjoyed an evening of Brazilian food and dance (them, not us).A movie was made in 1986 about events that took place in this area in 1750. We actually watched it on Netflix while we were there. The movie is sad. The music is hauntingly beautiful.
The movie's name? The Mission

Speaking of food and dance - one night our temple friends, the Wernecks, took us to the Rafain (known as the greatest show of the Foz land). Here we enjoyed a buffet/churrasco and dances from eight countries in South America.


One day, Brother Werneck took us over to Paraguay. Poor, poor little dirty country. 
It was also raining, but Brother Werneck said that was a good thing - it actually cleaned the place up!😕   Who knew?!


The Itaipu Hydroelectric Power Plant is the second largest in the world in size and first in generation of energy. (China has the largest.) In 1996, it was considered one of the 7 Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. The power generated from this dam is shared between the countries of Brazil and Paraguay.


The Parque das Aves (Bird Park) was another must-do. Known as the largest bird park in Latin America, there are birds from all four corners of Brazil and beyond!



And...as if we hadn't seen enough birds at the bird park, we actually opted for a morning at the city zoo. No elephants, zebras, bears, or giraffes here, however. Just more birds!
We must thank Wayne for this adventure!!

We also enjoyed meeting some of the Werneck's children while in Iguaçu.


With our fun week completed, we returned to the very small and overcrowded airport for our one hour return trip to back home. It was pouring down rain by the time we checked in - hence, all flights were delayed. Actually, the were completely stopped. More people kept coming with no room to sit or stand. Seven hours later, they put us on a plane for São Paulo, which was actually out of our way but at least going east. São Paulo even waited the plane for all of us coming from Iguaçu. It's only an hour flight, but when we got to Curitiba, it was raining so hard they couldn't land, so...they took us back to São Paulo to refuel, get a new crew, and try again. This time around we did make it. However, our luggage didn't. (It wouldn't come until the next afternoon.) Our one hour return trip turned into 12 hours. We plopped our heads down in our own beds, finally, at 3:00 am.
I felt a little bit like the Gilligan's Island three-hour-tour people!

And so I end with the picture we began with - this is how we spent our waiting, waiting, waiting time!!!

BTW
A good time was had by all!





Sunday, December 3, 2017

Manaus

Manaus

Manaus truly sits right in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest. 
If you want to visit, you'll need to go by plane or in a boat.
The city became very rich during the rubber boom at the turn of the 19th/ 20th century. During this time the population also expanded.

The stunning Opera House (Teatro Amazonas) was built towards the end of this wild-rubber 'boom', in 1896, out of the finest material from Europe, and was once visited by all the most famous opera divas and maestros. 

This jewel of a building is the top attraction in Manaus.
                                       ↓Legos

We had planned on going to a performance one night but found that everyone else in town had that on their agendas as well. So...we settled on dinner at a cute sidewalk cafe across the street. Dianne and I had açai and Don and Wayne ate a sandwich with bananas as one of the ingredients.

Manaus is also known as "Paris of the Jungle".


Our Amazon Tour
You can't go to Manaus without having an Amazon experience. 
While waiting for the boat, Don found some pure guarana juice. It tastes a lot different than the soda. 
The Amazon Jungle takes up a large chunk of South America.
A not-to-be-missed wonder is the Meeting of the Waters. Here, the dark waters of the Rio Negro encounter the sandy upper Amazon, known as the Rio Solimões. Although the rivers converge, they do not mix. Instead, they travel alongside each other in their journey for nearly four miles. The phenomenon happens due to differences in temperature, density and speed of the waters of each river. (This can actually be seen from space.) It looks a little bit like an oil slick, but it's not harmful to the environment.
Thus begins the longest and greatest river in the world!

The Amazon Rainforest is home to over 2,000 species of animals. We met four of them - the anaconda, pink river dolphin, sloth, and some kind of alligator thing.      
No jaguars or poison dart frogs were seen. Whew!
  

Lunch on a floating restaurant. Lots of fish and fresh fruits.


Ya gotta love those indigenous people. 




And, finally, and most importantly...the Manaus Temple.
It's practically a twin to our temple. This is the sixth temple in Brazil, the first in the north region of the country. Before it was built, Latter-day Saints from Manaus, a city isolated by major rivers and rain forests, had to travel by caravan to attend the temple in Sao Paulo, Brazil — a 15-day round trip journey by boat and bus — and then Caracas, Venezuela — an eight-day journey by bus. 



This temple is unique in that it is port-accessible from a landing on the Negro River for temple attendees arriving by boat.


One more last thing
There is also a bridge across the Rio Negro river that was finished in 2012. We were told that the bridge cost over a billion dollars. There are only three small cities across the river so basically the bridge doesn't go anywhere important.  
The "Bridge to Nowhere" is really impressive and big!


Bet you can't wait to see were we went next!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Recife

Next, it was on to Recife - Brazil's fourth largest city.
Recife's nickname is "Venice of Brazil" because of its many bridges and waterways.
A major port on the Atlantic Ocean, its name is derived from the coral reefs that are dotted along the shores.
 It just so happens that our Temple Recorder/Bishop is from Recife, so we were fortunate to have our own personal guide! Cleto and Ana Marcia Oliveira were great! 



We spent our first day at the beach.
 Porto de Galinhas is one of the most famous beaches in Brazil. It means "Port of Chickens" in Portuguese. In the late 19th century, "black ships" transported slaves from Africa to Brazil to work in the sugarcane farms around Recife. This, of course, was prohibited, so in order to get around that, when a ship arrived in town, the word spread as "there are new chickens in the port", hence, the place gained its name Porto de Galinhas. 


 There are a lot of vendors on the beach!

 Fish and shrimp for us!


But BEWARE! Recife is known as having one of the top 10 shark infested beaches in the world (according to the Discovery Channel). You'll find many signs along the water's edge warning about the dangers of swimming. 
This kind of keeps the surfers away, as well!





Kids playing on Boa Viagem Beach

The Recife Brazil Temple was the second temple built in Brazil
Before the Recife Brazil Temple was constructed, the closest temple for members in Recife was the São Paulo Temple which was a fifty-hour drive away. The temple was dedicated December 15, 2000 by Gordon B. Hinckley. I think they said that it was a mango farm originally and many of those trees remain today. There are also towering royal palms at the formal entrance to the temple and, of course, beautiful gardens of flowers everywhere.





Recife has some great places to eat. The Oliveiras took us to one specializing in food of the northeast. 



There was so much to take in. And we couldn't have asked for better tour guides!


Moving right along...
Next...
Manaus.