I got up not feeling quite ready yet to leave Brazil, even though we had an easy task ahead. Puerto Iguazú, Argentina was only fifteen kilometres away. We just had to take a taxi to the border, get an exit stamp from Brazil, obrigada, then an entry stamp from Argentina and listos.
Actually, it was too quick, and therein lies the problem. The transition would be brutal without a long bus ride to delete our temporary Brazil files and load the Argentinian data, without a flight to digest a month of “Ordem e Progresso.”
In the previous trips, it was almost a relief to travel from Brazil back to the Latino world. My Spanish is much better than my Portuguese and I can operate more instinctively in Chile, Uruguay, Argentina and most of South and Central America. But this time, we had spent so long in Brazil that it had started to make sense to us.
I had crossed to the other side.
Sure, maybe I was a bit tired of the lack of nightlife—scratch that, the lack of evening life, with businesses invariably closing before I was even considering dinner. Enough of that requeijão cream cheese, I need mozzarella, provolone and Roquefort! I’m also nowhere close to fluency in Portuguese—earlier today, I asked for a “Coca Zero” and the salesperson thought I wanted “pão caseiro,” sweet bread. I’m too subversive for Brazilian culture. I don’t like soap operas, I don’t believe in God and thong underwear is never my first pick.
For all these superficial reasons and many others, I wouldn’t live in Brazil but there’s no denying this is an amazing country with a fascinating culture and I knew I was going to miss it.
It was an uncomfortable feeling. It’s easier to leave during a bad-weather spell (“phew, so tired of this rain!”) or when places get boring, but Foz do Iguaçu was a relaxing, welcoming city, not your usual border town where you’re waiting for the next bus out of there.
Just as well, we could spend another three hours in Brazil. Finally, we had the time to check out the Barragem de Itaipu, a hydroelectric dam on the Paraná River located on the border with Paraguay.
I hate taking tours, but understandably, few countries let foreigners wander around an active power plant and a dam isn’t exactly a great place for a hike, so we signed up for the Visita Panorâmica aboard a double-decker bus.
The Barragem de Itaipu ain’t no beaver dam. The binational undertaking produced the most energy of any in the world as of 2016. Most of the stats are way too technical for me, but standing in front of a 7,235 metre-long and 196 metres-high—that’s a 65-story building—structure is pretty impressive.
Tourist-facing employees wore “maior usina do mundo” (“largest power plant in the world”) t-shirts, which made me fear a “propaganda tour” but it was actually straightforward and informative.
Feng displayed unexpected knowledge about dams—I tend to forget that Canada is a hydro superpower—, Mark enjoyed the windy bus ride and I found the setting unique and quite picturesque.
Our very last stop in Brazil was a good one.
We left on a high note.