Brazil page 3

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Unfortunately I didn't see any toucans during my time in the park... maybe these lizards were birdwatching too... both of them? yes, both of them... if one can't spot a toucan, perhaps two can...

"mummy, where do butterflies come from?" "Well, it all starts with a furry little caterpillar... " "ewww... I didn't want the birds and the bees talk!"

A guide explains to us the history of the park. Interestingly, all the forest is relatively new. In the 20s and 30s, most of it was cut down for grazing land and sold to big business in the big cities. Then the national park came along, acquired all the land and replanted all the trees. As a result, there aren't many very tall trees and there are an unusually high number of introduced species of tree which aren't native to the area (like bamboo).

Well... we've seen the falls from the Brazillian side and the Argentinian side... I wonder what the view is like from in between the two?

Wow... we're getting pretty close (and pretty wet)

Ok... that's very close (we're almost soaked by the way). At this point, the driver told us to put all our cameras in these specially provided waterproof bags... ok. Then we proceeded to drive to within a few metres of the falls themselves. Oh yeah! We got thoroughly soaking wet... (Nick, my passport got a little wet, despite being inside my water-resistant money belt). Oh, it made me feel so alive...

These particular falls are called "Dos Hermanas" - the two sisters. I wonder if they're twins? I think they'd look a bit better if they were touching each other... just a little bit...

Sao Paulo (6/5/07 - 9/5/07)

Next stop: Sao Paulo, one of the world's largest cities. Depending on one's definition of the boundaries of the metropolitan area, it has between 20 million and 29 million people living in it. From the air, it is vast. Even vaster than Mexico City... as it covers a greater area. The competition at the top of the list of the world's most populous cities is tight (although Tokyo blows everyone away with over 30 million people). Mexico City, Seoul, New York and Sao Paulo all sit on roughly 20 million and the exact ranking depends largely on where you define the boundary of the city.

People in Sao Paulo seemed pretty friendly...

Sao Paulo is a big (very big) modern city... with a big, modern art gallery. Which, like many art galleries, is closed on Monday!!!!! (when am I going to learn!?)

Rio de Janiero (9/5/07 - 13/5/07)

Rio de Janiero means "River of January". Which is strange because it isn't actually located on a river. I arrived in the evening and took the guidebook-recommended taxi to my accommodation on Copacabana beach which is meant to be a pretty nice place (anyone heard of it?). The Ave Atlantica runs along the shoreline and, by night, a small market selling trinkets opens up on the median strip.

The next day I slept in and walked along the shoreline after a hearty buffet breakfast. Hmm... what is this? The entrance to some quirky beach-front hotel perhaps?

No, its a sand castle... well... a sand mansion. There are a number of these on the beach and they are mighty mighty impressive. I should get the guy who made this to design my next house in Melbourne.

All along the beach, there were constant reminders of just how touristy the area really is...

There is a local saying that goes something like "God created the universe in six days, the seventh he devoted to Rio". It is easy to see why...

As with any modern, touristy beach, there are lifeguard posts along it. These guys look way snazzier than their counterparts in LA.

Apparently there are only 65 days to go unti the Pan-American games. It is unfortunate that Australia isn't in on this gig, as I think Inline Speedskating makes an appearence... or at least, did at some point.

There are beach volleyball and soccer nets set up all along the beach. During my morning stroll though, there was only one game in progress... but the standard seemed pretty high.

The area around Copacabana beach is one of the most densely populated in the world. Accommodation is sandwiched between the beach and the mountain, which is not more than a five minute walk from the beach. A tunnel connects this area with the main city of Rio (pronounced "hee-oh" by the locals).

This one's for Nick... for all I know, this guy probably had as much a clue about surfing as I do... click the photo!


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