Curitiba - big trip - diary - brasil - december 2002


Road was a bit rough... the waterfalls...

...but these guys are 'helping'

Thursday 5 - Monday 9 December

After the landy factory visit we headed downhill to the coast then got lost around Santos in a strange arrangement of dual carriageways and confusing signs. We made it out after a bite to eat to restore brain functioning and drove along the coastal road for about 80kms looking for somewhere to camp. It was solid hotels and apartment blocks all the way until Peruibe where we found a campsite at the end of the beach.

In the morning we were recommended to take a quick drive to the waterfalls in the small national park nearby. Almost there we met three guys who were 'repairing' the potholed dirt track and asking for tips. They placed a dug up fern in the way in a vain attempt to discourage landy drivers from just driving through at top speed. Their daftness earned them a couple of coins and a place on the web anyway.

Curitiba, remembered for its...

...mad bus stops

Recycling, Brasil style

The rest of the day we spent driving uphill to Curitiba through beautiful scenery on an oddly disconcerting motorway which had three lanes on one side of the valley and the other three on the other side.

We arrived in Curitiba and it immediately gave us a European feeling, nearly everybody is white and the place is very clean. Not really a tourist place - still, we found an internet cafe and updated the web site, ate some still cheap and good food and wondered at the strange bus stops they are putting up here, a successful effort by the mayor to reduce traffic congestion. Friday night out was predictably unexciting so we left the next morning for Vila Velha, a national park with supposedly wicked rock formations and on the road to Iguazu anyway.

One of many tolls on the long way to Iguazu

View of Vila Velha when its shut

Its very green 'round 'ere

Long train spotted...

...and caught

Excellent Brasilian traffic lights

Vilha Vela was closed for the rest of December - it didn't look too wicked anyway. We drove back a couple of kms to sleep in a petrol station full of mad beetles which land upside down and wiggle about until they die.

Continuing on through the many toll sections and English style rolling green countryside we made it to Foz do Iguassu, a surprisingly large and pleasant town on the borders of Paraguay and Argentina.

Here they have the excellent grand prix style traffic lights which have two banks (red and green) of six lights, two of which are lit. The top light then moves down in 5 stages over time, when it gets to the bottom two green lights are lit on the right hand side and the top one then starts to descend too. This way you have an idea when the light is going to change colour, a cool idea. We also saw in the north of the country green lights which have a timer showing the seconds until they change red, for pedestrian crossings too. Makes for high speed junction running!

Camp for the night was a an overgrown jungle site beside the entrance to the falls area which we negotiated for half price as we were the only human inhabitants. Our first day at Iguaçu was spent sleeping, sorting out washing at the laundrette and catching up on emails, the falls will still be there tomorrow!

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