Mark is a little bit into Minions, a little bit into dinosaurs, a little bit into stars, a little bit into trucks and trains. But he is into planes a lot. “Is it appropriate to give a three-year-old a planet ticket for Christmas?” I joked one night. “Here is your next backpacking trip, from Santa with love!”
“Un café neg—… preto. Por favor. Gra—… Obrigada!” Okay, it’s very lame and gringo-ish of…
After checking out the Cataratas del Iguazú, we wanted to see the Cataratas do Iguaçu—the…
In the Andes, especially in Bolivia, mate de coca was a great option. It is basically a tea of coca leaves: as the Bolivians say, “la hoja de coca no es droga” (Coke leaf is not a drug). Maybe not a drug, but it is supposed to help with soroche, altitude sickness. I’m a big tea drinker, especially of green tea, and I did like the taste of the beverage.
Latinos apparently have a sweet tooth: there were panaderías (bakery) just about anywhere!
The first Argentinian city we went to was Ushuaia, in Tierra Del Fuego. Because of its geographical location — it is the Southernmost city in the world, stuck at the tip of the Americas, right in front of Antarctica — food was quite expensive. We ended up cooking in hostels a lot throughout all Patagonia for the same reason. But once back to civilization, in Buenos Aires, we truly got to enjoy the gastronomy.
We both loved our trip in Central and South America. And now that we are home again in Canada, we thought about it: what were the best places, the best cities that we saw… and what were the worst experiences?
Hello frozen hell… we are flying back to Canada.
On our second day, we crossed again to Brazil to visit the other side of the waterfalls. While the Argentinian side allows close-up, the Brazilian side is the grand overview — and what a view! The misty atmosphere made great rainbows too.
By the time we got to Rio de Janeiro, we started to look for plane tickets back home. But they were very expensive, so we knew we had to come back to Buenos Aires, in Argentina.
No worries. We bused back, stopping in Florianópolis and in Curitiba, enjoying the beautiful beaches alon
The iconic Sugar Loaf is the best spot in Rio for the thrill of the cable-car ride, for the small hikes on top of the Urca mountain, for the views over Rio and for the sunsets. Lucky us, we got it all!
Rio de Janeiro is most famous for its picture-perfect beaches, mostly Copacabana and Ipanema.
We attended the Parade of the Champions, featuring the best samba schools in Rio, who had the whole night to show off. We took the subway to the stadium, with — it seemed — half of Rio. A lot of performers were already wearing their customs in the subway, and I got a hug from two ¨golden guys¨ who put glitters all over me.
The bus station was okay, but as we took the hostel street, we stepped in the water, knee-deep. We managed to get back to the hostel (barefeet) where we learned Paraty floods quite often.
Now, as I said before, I do not speak Portuguese. Cachoeira sounded like cascada in Spanish, so I was pretty sure we were going to see waterfalls. I didn’t give much thought to the Tobogã part of the story.
We could not resist trying that out (and take pictures!). We basically fell into the sticky gooey mud pit, and covered ourselves with a thick layer. Yes, it does stink a bit but the mud is quite clean.
Every night, the Carnival started around 10:00, to finish around sunrise. Blocos all over the place were leading people in the old town and there were always some drummers getting ready somewhere.
A bloco had gathered on Roberto Silveira, the main avenue. A trio-eléctrico (huge truck with speakers, a sound system and singers on top of it) was blasting cheery brazilian music and the drummers behind were setting up a rope-off area. The truck started moving, the drummers started playing and we all followed in the street of Paraty, dancing all night long to the sound of the samba of the Carnival.
The owner of the internet café was Brazilian. He asked us where we would spend the Carnival, and at the time, we were not sure. He told us to check out Paraty, a small city four hours from Rio de Janeiro. We did not know anything about it. Yet, we went… and we were not disappointed.
In Brazil, my mind is perpetually trying to make sense of of things, using languages that I speak. “Nome” is “name” in English, and of course “nom” in French. “Peixe” equals “pescado”, from the latin “pesci”, also “poisson” in French, and “fish” in English. “Cafe da manhã”… okay, “manhã” looks like “mañana” in Spanish, and “cafe” is obvious. So “morning coffee” is… yep, breakfast. “Hoje” is close to “hoy”, although not the pronunciation — but it still means “today”.
¨Everybody gets off! For the immigration office, walk two blocks that way, turn left, then right, and then you will see another street. Well, it´s not that one, but the next on the right.¨ What the fuck? ¨Oh¨, the driver added, ¨hurry up because you have to take the Porto Alegre bus at 1:00 pm… from the other station¨.