A Travellerspoint blog

Spinning heights of La Paz

Chacaltiya, Bus Strikes, and Spinning

Well on the saturday morning (14th March) we were supposed to climb Chacaltaya, the highest ski Resort in the world. However, Joel and Alexander our friendly travel agents called late on the friday evening to tell us they had to cancel due to another guest becoming ill. This was not too bad a situation as it allowed us to recover from Ram Jams the night before and continue our self guided city tour of La Paz. With the help of the Lonely Planet we visted the many beautiful Plaza´s of Down town La Paz and even got to see a few wedding celebrations and managed to sneak in to one at the Cathedral on Plaza Murillo. I must say they get hitched very young here, the groom looked about 16. This seems the case in alot of latin america.
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After all that walking we were beggining to feel a bit peckish and was hell bent on sampling one of these hole in the wall restaurents that I was reading about. So sampled the set menu at Laza´s. Ordering was a bit awkward as our spanish is non existant as was the waiters english. In the end i just aggreed to every thing the waiter suggested but ensured shetty got no beef. The quality of cusine was average, Shetty´s chicken was a simple boiled chook in broth and mine was a palatable beef with egg and rice. Hey but we could not complain we got a salad,three mains and dessert for under $5 AUD in total.

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I think we will stick to the more reputable restaurents from now. In fact later in that afternoon after sights seeing the main plaza which looked like a scene from mary poppins(tuppence tuppence ) we dined at large family restaurent in the city that served up fantastic desserts and pretty good burgers and mains. Shetty was in her element with all the disney characters around. The kids had to fight her off for a photo.
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We sampled another of La paz´s famous night spots in the late evening called Mongo´s, we had walked passed this joint the night before and it was dead. Not so this night. It was saturday night and the venue filled up quite quickly. We were joint on our table by a Estonion guy who resides in La Paz who to us his profession was selling drugs. I was not sure if he was a pharmacist at first but when he told us to join him at a bar that sells Cocaine from the menu I figured out what he meant. The music was a mix of western and latin. We were keen to hit the floor to emulate the moves of the sexy couple we saw at Ram Jams. However, it was not as easy as it looked. At 3600 meters above sea level we found our silky smooth moves had deserted, my legs were like logs, even the ever rhythmic Shetty was off beat.

CHACALTIYA AND MOON VALLEY

The next morning on the Sunday we set off for Chacaltiya take two. After an early start we drove off into the mountains enroute witnessed some remarkable views of La Paz. Simply Breathtaking, we were literally driving in the amidst the clouds. We were joined by a mix of travellers from Holland, Argentina and Brazil of differing ages. I will not comment more on the scenery I will let you see for yourself in the Pictures.
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When we reached base camp of Chacaltiya which was 5300 meters above Sea Level we began to feel the breathing getting more difficult, to add to that we then climbed a further few hundred meters to reach the summit.
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My recently purchased timberlands were serving me well as we tackled the snow capped rocky terrain. Shetty did well to reach the first pinnacle slowly but surely and watched as I ventured to the second summit at 5421 meters above sea level. Too easy managed to do twenty push ups at the top, with out breaking a sweat.
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Well the funny thing was I only felt the pinch on the decent. My head was cavin in, maybe the push ups were not a good idea.

After a quick Coca tea at he summit we spiralled down back to La Paz city and then Valle De La Luna(moon Valley) situated in a rich resentendial area south of La paz. The place was once a lake many years ago and has eroded into a sandstone glacier that appears like the Moons surface hence the name. It was strange walking around this place that looked more at home on the set of appollo 11 than in the middle of snow capped La Paz.
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Leaving La Paz Dress Rehershal

On The Monday Morning we woke up early for our 7.30am Bus ride to Copacabana, Lake titicaca. After travelling around in the coach for an hour picking all the other tourists the bus headed off north west towards our destination. About a further 40 minutes into our journey, the bus ran into what we thought was routine monday morning traffic jams. The bus was seemingly trying to cross a bridge but had to reverse as there was some bolders barracading the entry. Our bus and all the other cars reveresed and tried to cross this town using other paths but each time we attmepted there was a similar result, Reversing back due to blockage. It turned out the blockage of bolders was not natural, it was the people protesting about rising cost of coach prices and as a result they were not allowing any vehical pass through the town. Our driver attempted many other smaller paths that had no right having a large bus on them but all to no avail.
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Eventually we were informed in Espanol that we had to return back to La Paz and resume the journey the next day. La Paz Manyana thats all we understood.

This was not all that bad as it meant we returned to our comfy hotel Esterelle Adina, Harsh got to do more shopping at the markets and by more winter goodies at dirt cheap prices, We both got to eat at our favourite restaurent in La Paz - Alo Cubana on Calle Sagarnaga and i got to try a spinning Class at High Altitude at the the Strong GYM.

Yes I did say spinning at 3600 meter altitude, it was myself the instructor and another only another two idiots game to try this class. I was F&cked by the 5 minute mark, infact my heart rate monitor read 170 when I rand down the hotel stairs on the way to the gym. So you can imagine the work rate when attempting the class. but eventually I was glad i completed the 60 Minute class that seemed like an eternaty. I eve managed to sneak in a few clean and jerks and T-bar rows whilst being inspired by the posters of Arnie, Coleman and my favourite Mr Shawn Ray.
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Well fingers crossed our bus gets to reach Lake Titicaca tommorrow morning.

Posted by HonestAnth 16:48 Archived in Bolivia Comments (1)

Border crossing bolivia, Santa Cruz and Lapaz

Visa issues but not Shetty this time !!

After the horse riding we all could still feel a bit of an ache in our buttocks, eating piranha fish, and being able to see only footsteps of a either a jaguaarrr or puuuma and oh! I spotted a tucan (I can put my hand up now for being Sarath´s assistant), we made our way from our farm to get into a mini van to make our way to the Bolivian border to catch the death train.

The death train we all were so looking forward to it, all the things we had heard about it, were so anxiuos. But first we had to cross the border and get into Bolivia. On our way our tour leader Rani told us that our train was preponed from departing at 7.30 pm to 4.30pm.We gota bit tense as we were still on our way and it was about 3pm and still not crossed borders. We were a bit anxiuos of how long it would take as Lily and Mark didnt have there visas for entry into Bolivia (our tour leader had said they can sort it out once they got tot the border), and offcourse me with my dramas with me and my passport.

We got to the border at about 3.15pm and Mark and Lily were waiting anxiously to see what happens with the visas. The rest of group is travelling with either British or Aussie passport so they didnt have issues. I have not seen border crossing like this, Paraguai is still the winner. There were two men and a computer next to one them who took the passport details down. He took these details down with the latest technology ie on his note book. Yes he wrote it down in a scrap book, by drawing colums for name , passport no etc with his pen and ruler. We all were so surprised seeing that.

I was just after Anthony in queque he got cleared as usual. And then it was my turn. Offcourse what did you think that I had a visa so I wont have dramas ? nnnnnnnooooooooooooo !! First this guy looks at my passport he sees the cover saying India and his eyebrow raised and he went Indian hhhmmmmm......
Then my passport was circulated between 5 officials who couldnt speak English and I was trying to tell them that I already have a visa for Bolivia. One of them pretended that he understood what I was saying and after I finished talking he goes pay $35 US. Now Anthony was getting a bit impatient and anxious and was giving me instructions to show them the visa. After about 10 minutes of running around after these guys, I bumped into this other man who was sitting in the higher official´s office. HE could speak a bit of english so he translated what i had to say to the others. Then they had another doubt I have an Indian passport and I got my visa from Sydney why? It was funny seeing how this guy was helping me to tell these officials of what was going on. Anyway after 15minutes everything was all good and I was given an entry in to Bolivia.

By now Mark was getting really frustrated that they were no where near getting a visa,it was 4pm by then and our train was at 4.30pm. At about 4.10pm our tour leader told us that Mark and Lily were going to wait atthe border to get the visas. And we made our way to the death train.

The train seemed alright. We had comfortable seats. The only 2 things that were not great was very bad food and bumps. We had not eaten for over 14 hours thanks to our tour leader and then the only option we had was beef and the train was ssoooo slllllooooooowwwwww. I still cant figure out how can a train be so bumpy on tracks.

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We got to Santa Cruz at 9ish and made our way to the hotel. The hotel was good. Again good accomodation.
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After resting for a little while we went for a walk and get some lunch . I must say the lunch we had one of the best lunches we have had in S.A. and great value for money.
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As it was our last night with our all of us went together for dinner. Anthony and I shared a barbecued llama. After a great meal and some crazy mojitos and dacquries, everyone wondered where to hit it next.
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We were in bolivia the people from the group were expecting to hear some Bolivian music but instead our tour leader took us an Irish Pub. Disappointed with the choice Anthony, Sarah and myself decided to leave. On our way back had some great ice cream. Chatting till 11pm we called it a night as had to catch a flight to come to Lapaz.
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The next day Anthony before breakfast Anthony did a work out in the gym in the hotel. The gym reminded me of the gym at browns rd but only more equipment.
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At 11am our group came to see us off in the lobby. It was a bit emotional to part from the guys and wish if they had come to the airport and taken the same flight as in the original itinerary but things changed for them and instead of Lapaz they were taking flight to Sucrri.
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The flight to Lapaz was cool. Just like the border clearance another experience at checkin. We were passing the security to board the flight and suddenly Anthony remembered he had a bottle of vodka in his backpack and a small bottle of Casacha. We were anxious as we thought we will have to leave the 3.4 full bottle of vodka but like the Paraguai border passing, Anthony was allowed to board the flight that bottle. No questions asked. yyyyeeeaaahhh !!!
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We had a guy waiting for us at the airport who drove us to our hotel called Rosario. He was nice enough to stop on the highway for us to be able to take a couple of pics of the beautiful ciew of the city.
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Didnt do too much on the day apart from checkin to our nice hotel Rosario as I was feeling sick probably because of the altitude change we were 3600m above the sea level. We didnt panick about my sickness as such as we expected that.
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We had a great lunch at a Thai restaurant which offered Thai, Indian and Japanese food. I got a Indian chicken masala and Anthony got a Thai grilled Trout with Hindi music was playing in the background.Anthony almost danced to the tunes as it was from a Shah Rukh movie.
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I was stuffed in the evening and pretty much slept through the evening. At 10 Anthony went and got a pizza for dinner. Called it a night.

The next day I was feeling a bit better. After a good breakfast we checked out of our hotel and checked into a hostel next door (Esterelle Andina) as the accomodation was half price here with an absolutley amazing view and bright feature walls.
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We ventured around the city and the little streets of Lapaz throughout the whole afternoon and had lunch at this Cuban restaurant.The meal was aaammmaaazzziiiinnggg !
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We walked through the crazy shopping mini alleys around the different plazas. Didnt really buy anything except I got a very flashy pair of yellow sunnies. Couldnt resist them.

Man the city is so beautiful, I am sure the people are very nice too, however the hunkameter has not registered in Lapaz or Bolivia for that matter yet.
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At night we went to this place called ram jam a salsa night club. It was highly recommended so got there all excited. The place was dead. May be because we got there at 10 so shared a decent meal there. At about 11pm it did start to get bit busy and people got on the floor. And then the band started at about 11.45 and the locals tore up the dance floor, especially this latin version of Usher and his seductive partner. We left the place at about 1am and got back the hostel at 1.30.
So far so good .

I am looking forward to stay in Lapaz it looks really nice !!

Posted by Harshu 17:41 Archived in Bolivia Comments (0)

Pantanal

Mosi´s, Caiman,piranha but no Jaguaaarr

After another mediocre breaky in Bonito we headed Further East towards the Pantanal, which was a 4 and a half drive via private coach. This was a much more comfortable coach than our overnight ride we had to Bonito thank god.

The Pantanal a tropical wetland in Brazil was famous for its wildlife which included Caiman, Capybara and to a lesser extend Jaguaarrrr. It was also known for it´s tenacious Mozi´s. So we lathered on the Bushman´s Deet hoped off the bus for our lunch stop which was 40 minutes away from our farm accomodation. Shetty was not impressed as there was only beef on the menu a trend which continued for the next two days. After Lunch we hopped on a safari truck with out local guide Diago and the rest of the group and headed for the Farm. This was comical as we changed Trucks three times Luggage and all in stiffling humidity before we moved an inch on the road.
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Actually I still to this day don´t no why. I hope this was not a taste of things to come. Thankfully it was not.

The accomodation was basic, infact we shared one giant shed in comfortable hammocks with the rest of the 14 people in our group. Although this does not sound all that flash it was not that bad at all except for the communal bathrooms fitted with insects and Frogs. I did say it was basic.
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The first activity we undertook on the day we reached there was a 1hour walk into the lush wetlands of the pantanal.
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Whilst it was no African safari we did get frightfully close to lots of Caiman a member of the Aligator family. One whould say too close. Suprisingly they were quite passive and did not seem to phased we were invading their personal space.
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Infact the Wasps were more threathening and managed to Ping 4 members of our group in the buttocks, which I think would not have been good for first activity the following day-Horseriding.

The next morning after a suprisingly good rest in the hammocks despite having no fan or AC and after the worst breakfast I have ever had-Dry Bread and dry cake, we set off for a two hour horse ride. I must have got a pregnant donkey as it refused to move and respond to my kicks and was atleast 10meters behind for half the ride.
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Only after Max our other local guide handed me a Whip like branch did it start to catch up to the rest of the trail group.
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Harsh on the other hand was doing exceptionally well with her noble steed, too well infact as her horse Patchy got bitten by another trying to overtake too many times.
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Overall the ride was fun, we saw lots of Capybara and different types of birds [Sarath would have loved it] but no illusive Jaguarrr. My respect goes out to all the jockeys and cowbows as it was tough work when the Horse started to trot let alone gallop. Mind you hanging onto a video camera, still cam and backpack did not help my cause either.

After Lunch and a snooze we set off for what was the most exciting part of the whole trip. Piranha fishing.
Yes I did say Piranha Fishing. Once again we hoped on our safari truck, this time no comedic transfers and travelled for 45 minutes to this remote riverrrr. The climate had changed drastically thanks to a spurt of tropical rain and was pleasantly about 10 degrees cooler than the day before.
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We reluctanly hopped off the truck and ventured through lush green vegetation deep into the Pantanal, on our way we passed a smaller creek which was guarded by Caiman, I was hoping we did not stop there, thank god we did not. Diago and Max had other plans, we penetrated the forest more into a larger lake. However We were wondering where the fishing boat or the pier was, to our dismay Diago Pointed in the direction of river signalling us to submerge ourselves waist deep in the river which was infested with Piranha , Caiman and Many other creatures unbeknown to us. Reluctanlty the group tip toes into the river which was filled with leafy vegetation on its surface and gooey,slushy murcky mud at its base. The Filling on our feet was something I had not felt before. I w were in a beauty salon we would have paid big money for this natural mud solution but as we could not see what was under us we felt quite squirmish.
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After the intial fear of entering the water we were fine although we did stay very close to one and other when we were surrounded by Caiman in front of us and behind us. Diago managed to put our mind at ease explaining that we were too big for them to attack and they did not bother humans unless they threathened a nest or provoked them. All the same it was a bit nervy being with 5 meters of a member of the alligator family in the water and not knowing where they were when they went under water. All ¡n al though we had a fantastic time piranha fishing despite having creepy crawlies surrounding us in the eater, Katrina the norwigien girl was the first one in our group to catch Piranha, she seemed to do it with ease by simply throwing in the bate then yanking the line and up came these ugly looking terrors of the river. Infact she caught about three in quick succession so too did most of the group some even catching about 4 each. It seemed like they were trowing a line into a bucket, even Sarah and Lily who feared getting into the water the most got lucking close to the bank. So your probably wandering how many did De Silva and Shetty manage to snare between them, well not 4, not 5, not 10 i think the corrosponding word in spanish for what we caught was ´Nada´´. That´s right sweet Fu&ck all. The rest of the group caught about 15 piranha and we contributed with nothing just a few unfruitful bites and poses for happy snaps.

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Luckily later that night the group was unselfish and let us eat three fish between us despite not cathing anything. Boy it taste good, Harsh was finally able to eat something else in the pantanal other than beans and rice.
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We left the Pantanal the following morning after a 2 hour walk, all in all it was a good destination. The highlight being the Piranha fishing and the close proximity to the Caiman and the horse riding. Unfortunately no Jaguuaaarrr!!!

Posted by HonestAnth 17:53 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Bonito

I cant swim but I can snorkell

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After the Qwoaaaooossshhhhhh!!!!!! sound still humming in our ears we were looking forward
to get to Bonito.

The activity for the next day was to go shopping in Paraguai, yes Paraguai. I didnt have a visa to go there so offcourseI couldnt go. And so I was looking for other things to do. But in the morning our guide Antonio the same guide from the Falls told us not to worry. He said I could still go as it wasnt as strict for people to get in and out. I wasnt sure if I wanted to take a risk and get in trouble as I have had enough drama with my visas. But there were some other people in the group travelling with a Chinese passport Mark and Lily ie; said that they will join me too. I was a bit anxious we checked out of our hotel and got in this mini van to go shopping.

I have never seen border crossing like Paraguai. No passport checked, no id,nothing we didnt even stop.Our tour guide just told us `` Okay this river is the border and you are in Paraguai now.`` All of us were pretty amazed at this border crossing. We got even more excited about the shopping.

The shopping experience wasnt great. There was a small shopping centre with electronic shops spread all around 3 floors of the centre. on the streets there were people selling socks, handbags, electric shavers etc. Surprisingly they sold a lot of warm stuff like jackets, blankets, blankets and blankets. There was a stall selling blankets after every 2-3 stalls. There was one thing for sure you could bargain all you want.Anthony ended up buying a 32GB memory stick as that was the only thing we really needed. He was very proud of himself that he got a good bargain. He was offered the memory stick at 80 Real and he paid 55 Reals. And
he was suggessting other people from the group to go and buy it from the same place as he got it for so cheap. Mark and Lily our Chinese friends from the group and got the same memory stick for 45 Reals from the same face. Mark came out and told Anthony how much he paid for the same thing.I didnt have a camera in my hand to get Anthony?s reaction in pic.
But I am sure everyone who really knows him can figure that.

Honestly apart from that, I was bored and couldnt wait to get back to the hotel and start my journey to get to Bonito.

We left Paraguai at about 1pm. Our tour leader informed us that we will be leaving for Bonito at 10pm instead of 7pm.We werent happy about that as they wouldnt put us in our rooms till that time . So were prettymuch stuck in the hotel Lobby for 8 hours. And then got in this shitty mini van for a 12 hour bus ride. Anthony and I were pretty pissed with the whole thing. There will be a very strong feedback about this to our tour company GAP who had
sent us an email requesting a feedback for the trip.

Anyway so we finally left at 9pm and got to Bonito at 7am yesterday morning. We couldnt check into our rooms till 9.30 am.People were so tired and buggered that some of them slept on the floor in the lobby.
Didnt do anything other than sleeping and lying in the hammock the whole day. We had an amazing dinner at this place, cant remember the name now, but will update it later. The food was pretty amazing. We had 5 different types of fish and fried cayman, Yes Cayman. We had Cayman.OMG I didnt want to Anthony made me try it and I ended up liking it. It was the buffet system of all you can eat, like in the restrauant Copacabana on Chapel like people kept on bringing the different food till you say thats enough. We were stuffed after that meal. Had a couple of drinks with the group later in Taboa bar(popular among tourists) and
made our way back to the hostel.

Got up today at about 8.30 and after a shit breakfast waited for our guide to take us to Bonito.Our guide Nao (now), was really good. I think one of the better guides we have had. Was very informative and made sure we understood what was going to happen.

Oh I didnt tell anything about the place we were in. Bonito(the place we are at) means beautiful. Bonito is situated in Mato Grosso do Sul state, close to Pantanal- our next stop. It is one of the major attractions of this state. Lots of activities for such a small town. We could choose from visiting flooded and dry caves, waterfalls, lakes and rivers with lots of species of fish and other animals. But the best way to of experiencing the real beauty of Bonito was to go on an adventure tour. There are four rivers to the south of Bonito, each with there own different activites. The tour that we selected was called Rio da Prata where we could
snorkel in a protected area. This tour included our transportation, our gear, and a buffet lunch.

Being fitted for wet suit and snorkel mask we went on a 40 minutes flat hike and got to the first pond.
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The water was so clear. The pond had a stony sandy bottom. Now it had hit me that I have to get in the water and float. In this first river we werent b allowed to touch our foot down in the river bed as it would have disturbed the some natural eco-system balance. We were specifically warned not even to kick our feet to swim. only gentle movements with our hands were permitted for adjusting our course and speed through the river. The Brazilian government has protected the snorkelling section of the river and only allows 150 people per day down the river for snorkelling in groups of about 9 people with a guide and under strict instructions. The wetsuits provided sufficient bouyancy for snorkelling down the river with minimal effort. Even then, I was very very very scared, firstly of drowning and then kicking in the shallow bottom.We enjoyed observing this marine eco-system and the gentle ride the river provided and several fast current during the course. The river ranged in depth from several feet to 5 meters, and had several natural springs along the river bed which looked like boiling water under the river bed.I had not heard the names of these brazialin fishes before but many resembled catfish and
trout.

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We arrived at the second stop where the water current had got a bit quicker and the current was pushing us to a side, we navigated past
boulders and fallen trees . Soon it became quite exciting as our speed increased. We soon merged with the main branch of the river which is much wider and deeper and much scarier forme. Here scuba diving is possible when the water is clearer. The variety of the fish wassame but still very exciting.After swimming for about 10-15minutes the amount of fish started to reduce. So our guide started tapping the water in order to attract fishes´attention and suddenly he stopped. We wondered why did he stop as we could not see any fish. I looked at him and he was pointing to look on our right. And there it was a Cayman.
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OH MY GOD ! Everyone else seemed pretty cool and excited. I was shitting myself (my fear of crocs kicked in and I started panicking) and then got yelled to be quite which didnt help. You cant really recognise it as it was sitting in between the broken branches and looked like a branch.It was an experience. We stayed at the point for about 10 minutes and continued. After that every branch on the side looked like a cayman and was shitting myself. At one point the current so fast for me that I was getting pushed to the side of the river and was getting scared that either will end up in the broken branches on the bank of the river and a cayman waiting for me or get panicky and drown in the 10 meter deep water.I was so scared that I clinged on this branch, like a monkey scared of falling in the water. Everyone else were gone except for Mark who was trying to pull me back in the water telling me its ok and he will swim with me. And there was Anthony trying to take footage. We got a piont where the water current has got just too fast. Here we had to get out of water a walk for about 10 minutes and then get a to a point where we could get back in the water.
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This time the tour guide pulled me just next to Lily (the other girl who couldnt swim) and we snorkelled around him. The water by now had got colder and deeper. The variety of the fish didnt change much other than a couple, mainly we saw this big golden fish, and a couple of other big fishes. Surprisngly it wasnt as clear as the other rivers. We got a point where we saw the biggest water spring under water. The water wasnt too bad here just very deep.Everyone was very excited. Lily and I floated at the top while the other tried to dive closer to this huge water sring.Anthony was trying to take pictures of this spring. People gave up as the water was too deep and the wet suits were making it difficult for them to dive, we decided just to float and rest up a bit. Everyone was in a cluster as usual Anthony was trying to be away and trying to take shots from a distance. I had a eye on him but he was a bit far from me. And the rest of the group and I were just joking around and chatting. And I dont know why I just turned to look for Anthony and I could see him struggling for air. Apparently water went in his mouth piece and he sturggled to spit it out. I dont remember feeling this helpless or scared, I started screaming for help for him. It took a second for the others to realise it. But I must say our tour guide, Mark and Sarah went to help right away. It was all over and ok in a couple of seconds but felt like eternity. I thought at that moment, The first thing I am doing when I go back to Melbourne is take swimming lessons.

After staying for a little longer and making sure that Anthony was ok and handing the camera to Mark, we started on our way to the last point. After about 10 minutes of swimming Lily and I got in the help boat to make it to the final stop which was another 10 minute swim. But we had had enough.
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Anthony and the other guys got to the last stop not long after and we made our way back to the hotel where a nice Mato Grosso style buffet lunch was ready. After a great lunch we finished half a basket of oranges amongst 4 people which we still are talking and laughing about, while Anthony was resting on a hammock under a big tree. We just made our way back to the hostel in Bonito at 6pm.
All in all we had a great day and an amazing experience of snorkelling in Rio da Prata.
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I better get going as have to get ready for dinner.Anthony would have been
back from the gym. Yes he found a gym even in Bonito. We are leaving for Pantnal tommorrow. My gosh not looking forward to the mozzies.

Posted by Harshu 17:52 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Iguazu Falls

Amafuckinzing-Qwoaaaooossshhhhhh!!!!!!

The subheading probably gives away our opion of these falls, it was truly amazing. I am excited just typing about our experience on the brazillian side and argentinian side of Iguazu Falls .

After a tough but comfortable 24hour trip from Paraty to San paulo then to Foz de Iguzzu we arrived at our hotel(Hotel Del Rey)at about 9am on the 3rd of March. Thank god the hotel had airconditioning unlike the one in paraty. The initial plan was to visit the Brazillian side of the falls as we checked in but a few of our group members did not have their visa´s so we were delayed till 1.30pm. Antonio our local guide drove us to the Brazillian Side of the falls which were supposed to contain less of the geographic area of the falls than argentina´s side but it did provide the better overall panaramic view.

After being driven about 8k´s into the national park we began our descent into the path to gain a good vantage point of the falls. 275 falls to be exact spanning 2,7 ks long on the Iguazu river which seperates Argentina,Brazil and paraguai. The biggest individual fall, the Devil´s Throat is 82 meters in Height and we hoped to see it in all it´s splender this afternoon.

The afternoon sun was unrelenting, we were beginning to feel the effect of the doxycilin. The mozi´s were also present, yet none of this seemed to matter when we laid eyes on the first falls. There was a fight for the camera´s, each step we took gave us an even better view point. Just when we thought we took the perfect pic, there was even another better pick around the corner. I have truly never laid eyes on something so naturally spectacular in my life. The walk towards the Devils Throat was quite easily paced and not difficult and provided a great overview of the falls from a distance. Two thirds of the falls lay in Argentina, which was what we were observing from Brazil.
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After many happy snaps we reached the Epicenter of the falls, The Devils Throat. The Vantage point was extremely close. There was a walk way that took us across and over the river which made you feel suspended right front and centre of the falls. The sound of the water gushing through was majestic. We Could Have sat there all day. If only there was not so many tourist and photographers. We managed to get some great shots and got drenched as well. Harsh played model for a day as a few random photographers seemed eager to take her bikini clad torso amidst the falling water-Haha she will kill me for writing that.
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Like Chrsit the Redeemer the access points around the falls were equipped with Lifts and escalaters which gave everyone easy accessabilty to view the beauty of this true natural wonder.

The next morning after a good night sleep caused by 4 free caphinara´s we ventured to the Argentine side of the falls. Apparently there was more intimate viewing of the falls from this end.
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The border crossing was much smoother than Chile to Argentina, it only took about 15minutes and they did not even check faces to passports. This day the plan was to be at the falls all day. We arrived a little after 9am and ventured through a 600meter trail to a mini railway line which took us up to the argentine side of the devils throat. The walk from the train stop was about 1km. It Crossed the Iguazu River and many smaller streams. It was hard to imagine that there was going to be a gushing, powerfulful waterfall at the end of the walk. Yesterday we had seen the falls from front and centre, today we would see it from the top end looking down at the free flowing descending water. As we got closer and closer to the vantage point, the noise got louder and and louder, Qwoaaaooossshhhhhh!!!!!! Thats our best attempt how to verbalise the sound. When you see the video you will understand.
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The spray was even more than the Brazillian side and the brute force of the water was even more apparent from this vantage point. Words will not explain how powerful the flow was, I recommend coming here to view this natural wonder with your own eyes. Even though the platform was secure you felt a scense of fear as you could really imagine being swept way into the depths of this 82 meter drop. It was amazing to think that it generated so much force as the lead up trail displayed a calm river.
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After the initial trail to the Devils throat we completed a few other trails that gave you views of many other smaller yet powerful waterfalls from a upper and lower vantage point. Harsh even managed to get a pic with some butterflies.The real excitement however was yet to come as we had a boat ride in the river to come in the afternoon.
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The access point to the boat was reached by a open air safari truck, along with a zany Argentinian guide who spoke with the most thickest twanged accentand loved to over annuniciate words like Rivvvvvveeeerrrrr!!!! and Jaguaaaaarrrrr!!

We arrived at the boatramp not knowing what to expect, we had heard the boat gets pretty upclose and personal and judging by the people hopping off the boat that account was right as they seemed pretty wet.The operators provided us with waterproof backs for our camera´s and belongings. Harsh and my self quickly grabbed front row seats, which was now becoming a habbit on this trip. The lead up ride to the falls was calm, I was beggining to wonder why we needed the waterproof bags as it was pretty tame. The boat stopped about 75meters away from the falls and allowed us to take pictures, whilst we were close still no affect of spray. I was beggining to think this was a rip off for 60$AUD.
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However, Just like the favela trip the best was yet to come. The Driver was just teasing us, The guide announced in spanish what I think was " put you camera´s away " he then put on his waterproof pants and top. Within a few seconds the boat made its way right under a smaller waterfall, this was extremely refreshing we got a great account of the power of one of the minor falls, we certainlay needed the waterproof bags. Wow we thought that was great. Thinking that was it we were just about to take the camera´s out for our return back, when the boat made it´s way back to the bigger waterfall, not the Devil´s throat but a fall about 65meters high with equally velocity of gushing water. The Driver gave us no time to think and went head first into the mouth of the fall. The Rappids before it made the boat bunny hop a bit and we had the best seat in the house being in the front. The feeling was amafuckinsing, We had both never felt anything like it as the boat went airborn into the crashing water. Lucky I had sunglasses on or else my Eyes would have been F%cked. Harsh unfortunately did not have her sunnys on and felt the wrath of the gushing Iguazzu river at full throtal in her face. This was a feeling that Everyone should experience atleast once their lives. As Bruce Macca´s would "how good was that!!!" it was Special. Not one part of our clothing was dry, we were drenched from head to toe and loved every minute of it.Whoooooooooooo! Loved loved it loved it loved it loved it loved it.
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The rest of the afternoon myself and harsh got lost from the group as we were ambling along taking photo´s whilst the others were on their way back to the starting point. However, Lucio the other tour leader was also lagging back and we luckily met up with him and enjoyed the lower circuit of the falls together and we were literally the last people out of the falls at 6.40 pm. A fact that did not please Antonio and the rest of the group who had arrived an hour and 15 minute before us. But hey we were here only once and made the most of it.
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In the evening both myself and harsh could not stop talking about this magnificant place and found are selves simultaneously mouthing the sounds of the water whilst trying to sleep. Quoaassshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! hey it was funny you had to be there.

Posted by HonestAnth 21:26 Archived in Brazil Comments (1)

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