February 02, 2004

Florianópolis, Brasil

After Tierra del Fuego, I came back for another killer week in Buenos Aires, then went up Iguazu falls. Smack in the middle of the jungle on the border of Argentina and Brazil, Iguazu is taller than Niagara and twice as wide. You can't help but be awed by the power flowing over the falls - or at how people have harnessed it. 45 minutes to the east on the Paraná river which separates Brazil and Paraguay, the two countries have built the world's largest hydroelectric dam: Itaipu. This thing breaks records all over the place. Words fail. Take a look at the site (English and Spanish versions available) or here.

I crossed into Brazil at the falls and after hanging around the small towns on either side of the border for a few scorching days (42 degrees average), I've made my way to Florianópolis on the coast where the ocean cools things down into to the high-thirties. Florinopolis has gorgeous beaches, but not a whole lot else going on. I'll spent about four days here in all, then up the coast to São Paulo and Rio.

About Carnaval: I had originally planned on spending it in Rio - the first place that came to mind when I thought of Carnaval - but after talking to a number of travelers and many Brazilians, I've changed my mind. It seems Rio's Carnaval is an spectator-only event, over-marketed globally to those who simply want to come, watch, and leave. The more authentic Mardi Gras are to be found in smaller towns and cities all over the country. I will be spending mine in Salvador, the heart of Brazil's African roots on the northeast coast of the country.

Posted by dhuska at February 2, 2004 12:36 PM