CWB to IGU – Welcome to the Jungle, Baby!

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“Is it gonna be cold?”

“In the plane? You have your jacket.

“Not the plane, the city!”

“No, why would it be cold?”

I explained Mark the concept of Northern and Southern hemisphere but this is irrelevant, we’re flying West, anyway.

I don’t understand why he’s assuming it’s going to be cold.

And apparently, Mark doesn’t understand why I find his question puzzling.

“Well, yeah. Froze. Frozen is cold.”

“Oh, I see! No, it’s ‘Foz,’ not ‘froze.’ It’s the name of the city, short for Foz do Iguaçu.”

Makes sense now. Misunderstanding cleared up.

This is our new route after the change of plans—the first stop is Foz do Iguaçu, at the border of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.

Curitiba Airport is dead quiet. Checking in and getting boarding passes took less than two minutes and there’s no one in the sanitários femininos, which is rare because no matter where I go in the world, I have to wait in line to go pee in public bathrooms. Women have to empty bladders more frequently than men—or so I figured because I’m always looking for a bathroom while Mark and Feng seem to pee twice a day, like an afterthought. The things you notice when you spend 24 hours a day with your loved ones…

Outside the terminal, a handful of passengers “boa viagem” each other and a lone businessman borrows my lighter.

We go through security.

“Do you want a drink, Mark?”

“Where did you get drinks?”

Feng shrugs. “I brought them, there were in Mark’s red bag.”

“You went through security with drinks?”

“You went through security with three lighters!”

I’ve been well trained by fear mongering North American airport security government organizations. By now, I’m completely convinced that the world’s security depends on me chugging any bottle of water I may have before security, just to buy another overpriced bottle of water once at the gate. Damn. I should have remembered that South America is more flexible, TSA rules don’t apply here.

We’re flying Azul again, so I suspect we’ll have snacks for dinner tonight. We fly whatever airline is the cheapest and doesn’t schedule flights in the middle of the night—Lantam to Antofagasta, Air Canada to Buenos Aires (we used Aeroplan points), Azul to Salvador de Bahia, Avianca back to Rio, Gol to Florianópolis … and now we’re back with Azul, so far my favourite. Staff is friendly, we get free drinks and snacks, planes leave and arrive on time. They have good deals too and no, I’m not being paid to promote them.

The entertainment system is basic—“this is NOT a touch screen, Mark!”—and all the channels show movies or series dubbed in Portuguese. I watch Brazilian news for a few minutes and I’m surprised to see that I actually understand pretty much everything. The focus is on the onda de violência in Rio and President Temer’s decision to deploy military to police the city. “This is not going to end well,” I mutter to myself, because as far as I know, guns versus guns never has a happy ending where one camp just go “oh, fuck it, you’re right, let’s just stop that madness!”

I switch to CNN, the only channel in English. I haven’t heard about Trump lately and I didn’t miss it. The latest school shooting in Florida is being discussed, and by “being discussed” I mean that one side wants more guns and the other wants less. Glad to see absolutely nothing changed up North.

I’m sick of gun problem talks, in Brazil or in the US. I close my eyes while Mark is whining because THIS IS NOT A FREAKING TOUCH SCREEN!

When I open them again, we’re flying over the Atlantic rainforest, which is a bit of a shock because just an hour earlier, we were over Curitiba, which is anything but tropical. All I can see is patches of green and red clay.

Looks like the pilot is trying to find a place… ahem, without trees. This is going to be one of these airports where you get off the plane and walk on the tarmac to the terminal, I can feel it.

We’re landing.

Welcome to the jungle, baby!

Aeroporto Internacional Afonso Pena, Curitiba

Aeroporto Internacional Afonso Pena, Curitiba

Aeroporto Internacional Afonso Pena, Curitiba, empty bathrooms

Aeroporto Internacional Afonso Pena, Curitiba, empty parking lot

Approaching Foz do Iguaçu

Approaching Foz do Iguaçu

Approaching Foz do Iguaçu

Foz do Iguaçu

Landing in Foz do Iguaçu

Landing in Foz do Iguaçu

Landing in Foz do Iguaçu

Landing in Foz do Iguaçu

Landing in Foz do Iguaçu

Landing in Foz do Iguaçu

Aeroporto Internacional Foz do Iguaçu

Aeroporto Internacional Foz do Iguaçu


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. your holiday will come to the end ? I thought I’ll still read your South American stories (and photos) until Spring!
    I just realized my country is wayyyyyyy behind those countries in term of infrastructure! even the capital city :-/

      • for instance :
        I saw you commuting by train, within the city…I assume public transportation is convenient enough (probably not like the one in KL or Singapore, but I think you can tolerate)
        in which, if i’m not mistaken, only 2 cities including Jakarta has commuter train and I barely see a foreigner visitor took such a train (expat who lives in Jakarta barely take public transportation).
        Foreigners prefer taxi (it’s not that expensive tho – not for a western standard)
        Local either rent a- 2W-vehicle for commuting which you can order by online or owning a motor cycle.

        I saw your bus terminal(s) at those cities, though its packed, still look convenient.
        it’s completly chaos in where I come from, the food seller, the scamers, the pick pocket!
        and those tall buildings along the sea shore…beautiful beach is not “free” here… a chain hotel must buy the land in front of it…and list goes on!
        but yeah, there are a lot of mega shopping malls here like the one in Singapore! dragging people in big cities to consumerism.Forget parks for people gathering like Singapore Botanical Garden? Na’a!

        but still…it’s a beautiful country with a lot of good food and nice people! ahahhaha
        I hope you’ll have a chance to see Indonesia. Please bring Prince Mark too! I love his cheeks! 🙂

        • Thank you for your explanation and your insights! I’m kind of able to picture it based on my experience in Malaysia, Singapore and China. Brazil does have an efficient intercity bus network. Within cities, it really depends. For instance, in Foz, buses are packed and not exactly fast or efficient. In Floripa, everybody drives around the island and roads are jammed. And it most cities, it gets chaotic as well!

          That said, except for Mexico, in all Latino countries I know, the beach is free and everyone can enjoy it. I HATE private hotel-owned beaches :-/

    • The waterfalls are super famous in South America but not so much in Europe.

      Mark is being is usual self. He LOVES stuff, than HATES them for the weirdest reasons, than LOVES them again 😆

  2. Martin Penwald on

    Aaaah, ok, it is really at the junction of Brasil, Paraguay and Argentina. How regularly do you need to be in person in Ottawa? Thankfully not too often. I decided a few years back than I wouldn’t settle somewhere before I’ll retire, and so far, so good. It avoids doing anoying choices.

    • I can work remotely for a while, probably not months in a row, though because I constantly have to network to get new contracts. And the thing is… I’m not alone. Alone, I’d probably have a life more similar to yours (minus the driving skills).

      • Martin Penwald on

        Speaking of driving. Do you know that you could drive this thing with your car driving licence :
        I choose this one because it is the same truck I have, except one axle in the back has been removed. Here, it is used as an RV hauler, it is not a commercial véhicule, so, because of that and the fact the tractor has only 2 axles, you don’t need a special licence. In some juridictions, you’ll have to get an Air Brake Endorsement, but my understanding is that it is only a theoric test you take at the DMV, nothing to do to prove you can handle it in traffic.

        • WHAT? That’s crazy! How did you find out? Gosh, I hope regular drivers don’t know that… there are enough shitty car drivers on the road…

          • Martin Penwald on

            In the book from the SAAQ when I arrived here, i noticed the picture of a relatively big camping-car among the vehicules listed as drivable with a standard car licence.
            And I’ve seen discussions on the subject when looking for aftermarket sleeper manufacturers.

          • On a different note, we just went through the Andes yesterday and I think you would have liked the driving challenge 🙂

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