Friday, October 31, 2008


Ilha Grande. (Eel-ya Grahnj). It was some stroke of luck that I ended up here. Of course, living in Antarctica, and hearing about a tropical jungle island off the coast of Brazil, with over 100 beaches, no cars and $2 caipirinhas, sounded much too good to be true. But it is in fact, even just a bit better than that. This island is friendly to tourists (most of them seem to be Brazilian), easy to get around, boats and bikes are the only real modes of transportation, and there is a ton of stuff to do. The entire island is a protected area, with most of the land included in Ilha Grande State Park, and the rest subject to stringent development restrictions. Small-scale ecotourism is encouraged, and the island, which is roadless and off-limits to cars, has over 150 km of hiking trails connecting the handful of coastal villages, beaches, mountain peaks, waterfalls, and wild jungles.

After the hustle and flow of Rio de Jenairo, it is good to rest and play among nature. I have taken some time here to sew buttons on my pockets, rent a kayak, lounge in a hammock and generally enjoy a life of idle days in the sun. With all the complexities of life this last year, nothing has felt so rewarding to me as this week on the beach.

Angra dos Reis, the Brazilian port town I used to access Ilha Grande

Jungle path

Monday, October 27, 2008

On the MOVE in Brasil

The last week has been a week on the move. From Iguazu Falls to Sao Paulo to Cambára to Rio de Janeiro. And now, I am moments away from catching a bus to Ilha Grande where I hope to spend the next two or three weeks, enjoying an island that doesn´t have cars, but is abundant with beaches and jungle walks. Here are a few photos of my time in Sao Paulo, with my dear Brazilian sister, Andrea.
Carla, Andrea and I eating dessert after churrascaria

Andrea and I

After Sao Paulo we hit the road to Cambára, in the Brazilian state Paraná. Cambára is a lovely little town, decorated by sugar cane fields and quaint shops. More importantly it is the home of the Hondas. The family of my Andrea and my gracious hosts this past week. They took me in, fed me, clothed me and filled my head with compliments and beer. It was great to get to know the country side, off the beaten path. And best of all, it was great to get to know Andrea´s family.

A street in Canbára

Stores in Canbára
Now I am in Rio de Janeiro, having just said goodbye to Andrea who spent the weekend here with her boyfriend Jean. A mad city tour brought us around to the main sights and sounds of Rio. But the last two days have been idle on the beach. Copacabana, Ipanima. The beaches here are like nothing I have ever seen. Flooded with thousands and thousands of people. Vendors selling caiprinhas and sarongs. Massages and fried pineapple.

Me in front of Christo Redentor

Jean and Carla at the beach

Ipanema on Tuesday afternoon

Copacabana in the evening

Jean and I after battling the waves

Everyone is at the beach

View from Sugarloaf

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Off to Brazil

I can't say I was excited to leave my Buenos Aires life. My lovely balcony, favorite market and all the local sights and sounds I have come to know so well during this last month. But alas, I am on the road and enjoying it immensely. Last week I hopped an overnight bus to Iquazu Falls at the junction of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. The seats/beds weren't quite as nice as my first trip, but they served us wine and champagne and the ride was smooth and scenic.

Saying goodbye to Buenos Aires from my balcony.

The bustling bus station of Buenos Aires.

I took an embarassing number of photos at Iguazu Falls, as it is one of the mose stunning sights I have ever seen. The falls can be reached from the two main towns on either side of the falls: Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil and Puerto Iguazú in Argentina. Though time was tight, I was able to see the falls from both. The waterfall system consists of 275 falls along 1.67 miles of the Iguazu River.

On the Brazilian side there is a long walkway along the canyon with an extension to the lower base of the “Garganta del Diablo”.

A rainbow decorates the base of one of the falls.

The rainforest of Iguazu is teeming with wildlife. Between Carla and I, we were able to capture a few shots of some of the more interesting characthers.

If you look closely, there are monkeys in the trees.

After 3 days in the jungle, I set off to Sao Paolo, Brazil to meet with Andrea, my Brazilian sister. I am here now, belly full of churrascaria, and gearing up to visit Andrea's parents in the province, Paraná.

The view of Sao Paulo from Andrea's 14th floor apartment.