El fin del viaje maravilloso

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Posted by admin | Posted in Language, South America, Spanish, Travel | Posted on 13-03-2007

So, I’m back home now but I’ll throw in one more travel entry as I don’t expect life’s going to be quite so interesting for a while now…

I went on a great 6 day trek up Roraima, a large table-top mountain renowned for its many endemic plants – including loads of carnivorous plants – and animals such as a hummingbird and frog.

Here are the clouds rolling over the edge from up top:


The 2 days we spent on top were fantastic, getting to know the unusual landscape, the quartz crystal ‘rivers’, freezing cold but stunning natural pools, the little animals including a scorpion and a rare big oilbird, almost blind, that relies on echo-location like a bat and lives in Venezuelan caves.

This is the group I was with and Roraima is the mountain on the right dominating the horizon.

Next up was Rio de Janeiro after a 3 flights in 1 job from near the Venezuelan border, across the amazon jungle, change in Sao Paulo and we’re there. Two manic weeks that flew by during the carnival: masses in the streets, beer everywhere, samba drums, plenty of energy and a great atmosphere.

Clare’s polishing off tangy home-made caipirinha in the flat before heading out…

Twas cool to have one place to stay put for 2 weeks. The flat was in a proper residencial block where the locals chuck rubbish bags out of the window into a mass rubbish bin courtyard below…nice. By normal terms it was a scummy kind of place, well more the block than the flat itself, but it was really quality compared to the standards of the majority of people that I’d been seeing since leaving Argentina and heading through Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela.

So, along with a nocturnal lifestyle that had gone from:

Roraima Trek
WAKE UP: SUNRISE
BED: WITHIN AN HOUR OF SUNSET

to:

Rio
WAKE UP: 1PM – 4PM
BED: 4AM – 8AM

we also managed to check out some of the absolutely shockingly well preserved national parks right in or around the city. In them we even saw monkeys, hummingbirds, loads of butterflies, iguanas, a squirrel and other lizards. Really surprised me being on the edge of such a city.

I also had to swallow my pride on the last night. Clare and I had spyed a cool looking little seafood restaurant and planned to pop in to celebrate 7 whole years together; however, that day Clare found out this little restaurant appeared in the ‘ever so Lonely Planet’ which quoted it as being “the best seafood restaurant in Rio de Janeiro”. My pride was swallowed along with a couple of cans of beer and we still went there and, I hate to say it, but the book may have been right. It was at least the best meal out we had had in the past year.

So, lots of indulgence in Rio meant lots of cash spent which, in turn, meant the question “Can we still afford to do our final little excursion and ride 23 hours across Brazil (and another 23 hours back) to Iguazu Falls???”. The true answer is really “no, we can’t afford it” but we went anyway…

…and it was worth the effort.

There’s the beauty of the sets of falls; the amazing force of them; lush forest around and even treats of seeing some cool animals I hadn’t expected to see such as more monkeys, coatis, agoutis, toucans, (wild) guinea pigs, a river turtle and even a caiman (see left below)!

As for Brazil, I only spent a short time in 3 of its many many corners (Pantanal, Iguazu and Boa Vista up near Venezuela) plus enough time in Rio. There’s obviously loads to see in South America’s biggest country (and the 5th biggest in the world) – its own trip perhaps?

“Vamos a ver.”

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