On Tuesday we went to Brazil. It takes about five hours to get there
from Asuncion. We got up at 4:30 am to be on the road by 5:00 am.
We wanted to be to the border before 10:00 am because we wanted to
tour the dam, which closes at 10:00 am for siesta. We had no problem
getting on the road early.
The countryside between Asuncion and Ciudad del Este looks a lot like
California, especially the part along Highway 101 near San Luis Obispo.
It's green fields with rolling hills.
At the border, we had to cross from Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, into
Foz, Brazil. Just before the border you can tour the dam, and we just
barely caught the last bus through. This was the largest dam in the
world until the new one was built in China. It serves 25% of the power
needs of Brazil (which is the most populous country in South America)
and 75% of the power needs of Paraguay.
At the border we had to cross over a bridge. Traffic moves very slowly
because several streets converge, and immigration can handle only a
few cars at a time. We waited in line for 1-1/2 hours. Meanwhile,
vendors walked the streets trying to catch our attention to sell us
something, anything. We did buy some Pringles chips, and it was fun
watching Brenda barter for them. But it's a little unnerving to sit
in stopped traffic for so long surrounded by such shady characters.
We got over the bridge in time for lunch and a stop down the street
at a bargain shoe store. Mary bought a pair of shoes and I bought
two pairs of nice comfortable dress shoes. They were not inexpensive,
but they seem to be very fine quality, made in Brazil.
Then Robert and Brenda took us to the waterfalls and let us off while
they went to do other things. They have been to the waterfalls many
times before. We found a friendly guide who spoke English and he
helped us figure out what to do. There is a drought this year and the
water is very low. Ordinarily we would be able to ride a boat out to
the falls, but right now the water is so low the boat cannot get in
that close. So we just walked along the edge instead. At one point
you can walk out along a boardwalk into the center of the falls and
we did get a little mist on us even thought the water volume is
lower than usual. The falls were impressive but we can imagine what
they are like in another year or at another time of year. We did see
lots of pictures and some video; Mary bought a few post cards.
On Monday evening, we went to a nice restaurant that has a dinner show.
The show consists of native dancing from almost all the countries of
South America and Mexico. It included everything from a Mexican kind
of Polka to the Argentine Tango. The native costumes were wonderful.