Nov 19:  Iguassu Falls, overnight bus to Paraty

Lance and John reportedly went to bed at 8:20 this morning, after knocking on doors again and Lance losing his shoes again (which he found).

I discovered a small hole in my blue Eddie Bauer/Ocean Pacific retro shirt.  Drat.

Eduardo took four of us in the van across the Friendship Bridge into Ciudad del Este, Paraguay (country #33).  Normally they don't check passports if you're coming in for a shopping trip and/or as part of a tour group.  I had a visa just in case.  And it came in handy because Eli was insistent on getting a Paraguay stamp in her passport and I vowed to get it with her.  We went to the immigration desk and tried to get the stamps, but they said no because we didn't have Brazil exit stamps.  So here's how we spent the next hour and a half:

  1. Walked back over the bridge in the pouring rain to the Brazil side.  Eli used her rudimentary Portuguese to find the correct desk for getting our Brazil exit stamps.
  2. Walked back over again to the Paraguay side and got our entry stamps.
  3. Went to the mall where we were supposed to meet Eduardo and the other two.  Eli bought shoes.  Explained to Eduardo what we'd done and that we needed to go through immigration again to legally get back into Brazil and get new entry cards.  Agreed that Eduardo should drive across the bridge and wait for us on the Brazil side a little bit down the road.
  4. Went back to the same desk on the Paraguay side to get exit stamps.  It was the same guys we'd gone through a few minutes before to get into the country.  One guy was hesitant to let me out because I had a 1-entry visa (Eli didn't need a visa) and made sure I knew that if I left after such a brief visit I wouldn't be allowed back in.  That was the whole point of paying $45 for a visa--so I could use it for a 20-minute visit to Paraguay.  The guy noted from our passports that I'm a lot older than Eli and gave her a thumbs-up.  Hey!  I should be getting the thumbs-up.
  5. Walked across the bridge a third time (still raining), got Brazil entry stamps and new entry cards, got into the waiting van and returned to the hotel.

Brazil-Paraguay border.  This was on our second foot crossing.  Because of the rain, this was the only photo I took during the international adventure.

Before the Paraguay thing I had limited time in the morning and had to choose between shaving and showering.  I chose shaving, which paid off because I got soaked crossing the bridge anyway.  I also chose shaving two days ago.  Just following the old maxim:  It is better to look good than to feel good.

From the hotel most of us went out to the Bird Park.  This would thus be my third consecutive weekend seeing flamingos.

Macaws at the park entrance.

Oh baby.  These birds were going at it quite vigorously.  Click on the photo for a short video of this hot bird-on-bird action.

Bird.  (This could be the most pointless photo in the travelogue.)

This ranks up there as well.

Two turkey-like birds.  I did enjoy the attention-seeking birds who stood on railings and whatnot.

I don't believe this counts as hot bird-on-bird action.  It's just one bird sitting on another.  I do that sometimes.

Another poser.

Some of the birds were in cages here, while some were in larger aviaries.  This is the rainforest aviary.  While we were here, it started to rain for real.  That was cool.

This toucan was sitting on the railing waiting for people to come by.  Easily my favorite bird in the whole park.

Fish, turtles and lizards.  This is like a big melting pot of species.  Except none of the animals actually melted.

After the birds and a visit to the gift shop (Eli's yellow Brazil top was my choice, thank you) we went to lunch somewhere near the hotel.  Since we had another overnight bus ride coming up, I made sure to get the garlic beef.  You know, in case one or more vampires attacked the bus.  That's something that can really ruin a trip.

We caught the overnight bus at 6pm.  Dinner wasn't served on the bus, but instead we stopped at a rest stop at 9:40pm to eat.  The place had a decent buffet with tasty meatballs.  I had a glass of red wine that was terrible, but I got it all down.  I still had two beers in my bag (left over from the pool the other night, and I'd been carrying them around all day) but I didn't want to drink them and then have to pee on the bus, so I had the wine.  And then I took a Unisom anyway, and fell asleep rather quickly.