Random Travel Thoughts
May 28, 2005
Interesting stats about Brazil that we've heard while we are down here (not sure how true they are)
1% of the population owns 43% of the land
3% of the population accounts for 97% of national spending
70% of the population has a mobile phone
There isn't really any middle ground here, people are either crazy rich, or dirt poor. Only 5-10% of the population is considered middle class. The homeless here are super friendly, and amazingly happy. It's quite neat to see.
Brazil was the first Country in the world to put in place Alternate Fuels for cars in the 80's. Their new cars use a technology called Flex Fuel, and can run on both Sugar Cane alcohol, and Gasoline (or any combination of the two). They've had this fully renewable fuel for over 25 years, and are now working on a Soy based Diesel for larger trucks. Sugar Cane Alcohol is about 1/2 the price of Gasoline, burns 1000x cleaner, and apparently the cars have quite a bit more power when they are running on Alcohol.
So far our impressions of the South East coast are very good. The food is simply amazing. They have something called Rodicio (pronounced ho-jeez-you) which is basically a buffet but way better. We had a pizza one where they brought 47 different kinds of pizza around and hand out slices, and then afterwards there are 20 different dessert pizzas. We also had one with japanese (California rolls here have mango instead of avacado), and one with meat and a full salad bar (the average price is about $10 cdn). The meat down here is simply stunning, all bbq meat has never been frozen and it melts in your mouth.
The average man will eat 1 kilo of meat at a bbq, and a woman will eat 0.5 kilos.
Another plus about Brazil is that they donate all the unused food to the homeless so you don't feel guilty not finishing your meal.
1 litre of beer about the same price as a can of pop. You can also get beer with your combo at McDonalds and other fast food restaurants. As a result I've drank a lot more beer than I had expected :)
Speaking of McDonalds, we highly recommend visiting them on a daily basis, especially in the smaller towns. Not a lot of the bathrooms in South America (minus Brazil) are stocked with toilet paper, or toilet seats. McDonalds has both, and their bathrooms are usually clean.
That is about all I can think of off the top of my head.. we have over 3 gigs of pictures to sort through when we get home.. stay tuned!
p.s we will be having a Caipirinha party when we get home. They are very strong, but really good. Similar to a Pisco Sour (Chile) or a Margarita. When it says 2 ounces, its more like 4.
Back in the sun, Rio!
May 27, 2005
Foz do Iguaçu
We are on the last leg of our trip, we are at the Mellow Yellow on Copacabana. So far Brazil is completely amazing. We have had a patch of bad weather, but we are back in the sun. We just arrived in Rio, and are very excited to see the sites. Rio is very dangerous, we have run into a number of people that have been mugged. We are leaving everything at home, and only taking my camera out on the streets. It has been really nice to be away from the internet for a little bit, we were on Ihla Grande and it was much too expensive. Before that we were in Sao Paulo which is the third largest city in the world. 19 Million people. We stayed at Dayna's friends house that she met off Orkut, that was kind of neat. We also went out for a day with her friend Chrissy's friend who lives down here. We had to cut both stays short, because we are lacking on time. Next trip will have to be longer :) Have to be quick, but we are alive, things are going great, and we are somewhat excited to come home.
May 18, 2005
We are staying at the Falls on the Brazil side. In the last two days we have gone to both the Argentina side and the Brazil side. Tomorrow we are going to Paraguay, and then on Friday we go to Sao Paulo. I have uploaded a bunch of pictures, but am limited to a small number because we only have 30 minutes of internet per day, it is quite nice!
May 14, 2005
We have arrived in sunny sunny Brazil. I can not write much because Dayna hogged all the minutes, but I will try anyways. The sun is shining and it is about 25 degrees even at 10pm here.. so nice. We went to the beach today, and on the way met 2 Canadians who said we are the first Canadians they have met in their 10 month Rotary exchange in Brazil. We hungout with them and their friend Joleen from NY all day and are going out tonight with them. Paul is from Cortez Island and Erin is from Nova Scotia. The beaches here are amazing, this island has 47 (I think) different beaches and they are all drastically different. Different sand, different views, etc. Pretty crazy for an island that is only 50 kms long. I shaved today, Dayna said I was starting to creep her out.. Anyways, hope all is well back home. We are loving it in Brazil, Portugees is impossible to understand so we are back to square one.. but its fun :) Checkout Daynas Page for more!
Highs and Lows...
May 10, 2005
Yesterday was one of the best and worst days of our trip so far, we rented a Moto and cruised around Colonia del Sacramento. The city is on the coast of Uraguay, with cobble stone streets, old buildings and lots of museums. It must have been over 30 degrees, and there were only small picturesque clouds in the sky. Our hostel room was $6 per person for a room with a private bathroom, which turned out to be a very very good thing. Dayna must have come down with food poisoning, she was violently ill for most of the night. She seems to be much better this morning, and other than being dehydrated she has fully recovered. We have moved on to Montevideo.
Uraguay by Boat
May 8, 2005
We are up early this morning so that we can catch a boat to Uraguay. Our time in Argentina has been great, and we are sad to leave, but very excited for Uraguay. We have read amazing things about it, apparently it is the Switzerland of South America. Very cheap, very clean, and very friendly people. The ballet (which turned out to be Sleeping Beauty) was very well done. The amount of tallent that teh dancers have is amazing, they spend almost three hours dancing around on just their toes. It was a bit long, but other than that it was well worth it. The theatre itself is worth the price of admission, it was beatiful. Friday we went out for a traditional Argentinian dinner. Dinner was a steak, kidneys, ribs, blood sausages (black pudding), sausages (chorizo) and a salad. It was all good, our least favorites were the blood sausages, their texture was very strange, and the kidneys kind of tasted like liver. I can not say it often enough, their steak is amazing. We have not called home in a while, and hope to do so today for Mothers Day. We actually were denied Internet access by a Cafe yesterday because we were going to use SkyPE. He wanted us to pay for long distance instead. Stupid.
Happy Mothers Day, love you Mom!
May 5, 2005
The flight to Buenos Aires was very uneventful. Dayna tried to sneak 3 knives onto the plane in her carry on, but her plans were foiled by the airport security. The weather is very muggy here, we are used to warm days followed by cool nights, but last night we were boiling. We spent the afternoon touring around the town, and then went to a Salsa show at Cafe Tortoni where we met a nice couple from Texas. So far all the people we have met have been 50+ I think it is partly because we are in our own room at the hostel, instead of being in the dorm rooms. Mendoza was very nice, but there was a huge earthquake in 1841 that leveled it, so there was not a lot of old buildings. Buenos Aires is full of amazing architecture, and has a long and very interesting history. We walked through the Cemetary of the Recoleta, it was really neat, all old Mausoleums with the city founders burried there. Tonight we are going to La Bella Durmiente del Bosque at the Teatro Colon. Windows 98 computer, so I cant upload any pictures.. another time.
Buenos Aires here we come!
May 3, 2005
We spent the majority of yesterday on a wine tour. Mendoza produces 70% of the wine in Argentina and there are over 800 wineries. It was pretty neat, one of the wineries stores their wine in huge (40,000 litre) casks. We bought a couple bottles of wine, and a whack of good cheese and had a little wine and cheese in our room after dinner, it was quite nice. This morning we decided that we did not want to take a 15+ hour bus ride from Mendoza to B.A tomorrow, so we went to a local travel agent and bought tickets to fly! It is only 300 pesos ($125) and will shave 13.5 hours off our travel time. I got a haircut this morning it was $5 pesos ($2.25). Haven't shaved in just over a week and a half, starting to look really scruffy, it's great. Before we left we bought SkypeOut minutes and they have been a savior. We've been able to call home for 2 cents a minute. If you don't have Skype get it, it's awesome. Our login name is "daynam"
May 1, 2005
We have just arrived in Argentina after spending two days on the coast of Chile in Valparaiso, Viña del Mar, and Reñaca. Being on the coast was nice, but its nice to be out of Chile. The air is much cleaner once you cross the Andes, and things are a lot cheaper here. In Chile we could find cheap meals if we really looked, but most of the prices were pretty high. The trip across the Andes was really neat, we basically went straight up the mountains, using switchbacks all the way. Last night we went for a steak dinner and weren't disapointed. The food was amazing, Argentina is famous for their steaks. We spent today exploring Mendoza, and went through the zoo. Two monkeys had escaped from their cages, and one of them jumped on my back and sat there for about 5 minutes, it was really neat! The big cats were all in little tiny cages, it was very disgusting. Going to upload some pictures now! Check the gallery
link fixed, thanks erik