Itaipu Dam & Paraguay
Nov 20, 2009
|Quite a few people haven’t made it up for our breakfast run as planned this morning, and I think some others are maybe wishing they hadn’t since they’re still half drunk from last night. It really was a blast though.
We asked to go back to our breakfast spot from the prior day before heading to the dam, and then headed off to see the Itaipu Dam, which it a cooperation between the governments of Brazil & Paraguay, and it built across the Parana river along the 2 countries’ borders. Of the 20 generators, 10 provide something like 30% of Brazil’s electricity, and the other 10 generators produce 95% of Paraguay’s electricity. Pretty drastic difference. They were quick to explain that this is the dam producing the most output in the world, and that even though Three Gorges in China will have more installed capacity, it will not be producing as much electricity as Itaipu when it goes on line. Dave was in rare form with “dam/damn” jokes throughout the tour, so his wife Elenora and I jumped in to participate with silly ones like “That was a dam good tour!” Yes - we were all a little punchy at that point. We finished up the tour and headed back to drop some people off and pick up others for our shopping adventure to Paraguay.
Classic Wendy not thinking a comment through: I asked Zema if there would be someplace to get my sunglasses fixed in Paraguay, and he told me to just buy new ones. My response: “They’re expensive sunglasses and there’s not a thing wrong with them except that I need a screw.” Zema and bystanders were now falling out laughing. I just turned red and told him to get a grip.
Technically we had already crossed the border when visiting the dam earlier, but this time we were actually going into a town that had malls and shop stalls galore. Since we did have Americans & Brits on the venture we weren’t able to stop and ask for passport stamps, because we’d have needed visas. Sorry about that for the rest of you guys!!
Various reactions when we rolled into town were along the lines of “It’s Bolivia all over again.”; “It’s just like shopping in India.”; “It reminds me of Vietnam.” etc. All were pretty accurate. The place was mayhem. I snapped a few assorted photos to give you an idea.
The system for buying things would have been hilarious if it wasn’t so frustrating. One clerk would write it up, then you had to go to a particular window and pay, then another window to show your receipt and pick up your purchase. Mind you, this wasn’t just for big purchases like electronics, it actually applied to the sunscreen I bought too. Is this really necessary or effective?? When Mathias bought a $23 flash memory stick, he found it on the second floor, had to pay on the ground floor, and then run back upstairs to retrieve the darn thing. Someone please explain this to me!
Day 8-10 Iguassu Falls
After a night of travel, our visit to Brazil begins with the magnificent Foz do Iguaçu, or Iguassu falls, bordering Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. In order to see the falls properly you need to view them from both the Brazilian and the Argentine side. The Brazilian side offers the grand overview, and the Argentine side, a closer look. The best time of the year to see them is from August to November, as from May to July you may not be able to approach the swollen waters on the catwalks. Experience an exhilarating optional boat tour at the falls or simply marvel at nature’s breadth and the roar of the falls.