We decided to fly to Brazil for the kids two-week winter break. We scored a decently cheap flight and it’s a country we skirted on the way down.
We’ve seen a jumble of jungles on this trip. Lots in Mexico. Most of Central America. And some in South America. Plus, Andrea and I took a vacation to the Amazon eight or so years ago. Hence, we skipped the Brazilian jungle on our way down (that, and, at the time, a Brazilian visa was problematic to procure; that’s since changed and is now issued upon arrival).
Within minutes of landing outside of Iguazu Falls—one of the seven wonder of the natural world—we began second-guessing that decision. The jungle surrounding the Falls appeared different. Fascinating. Mystical. We’d originally thought about visiting Iguaza and The Pantanal; instead, we chose Iguazu and Buenos Aires. Sitting here, writing this post in a high-rise overlooking Buenos Aires kinda has me regretting that decision (though Buenos Aires is quite cool)….
Nevertheless, the Falls, which flow from the Iguazu River on the border of Argentina and Brazil, were awesome. The largest waterfall system in the world. And it certainly appeared like that. Water. Fell. Everywhere. Despite being low season for the water—it was high season for the crowds, however, as most of Argentina is on holiday. At various points, while wandering the various paths that bisect the falls on both the Brazilian and Argentina sides, it felt like another planet. Somewhere in a galaxy only Star Wars could imagine.
We lucked out and got a good deal at a fancy-ish hotel on the Brazil side. It included an amazing breakfast buffet. And an all-inclusive Kids Club. Andrea and I weren’t sure—aren’t sure, really—what that meant, what that covered. Yet we dropped off our snot-nosed monsters with little hesitation and without speaking any Portuguese nonetheless. Then we proceeded to check on them every hour on the hour, until, finally, we discovered that wasn’t necessary. The Kids Club included activities and activity coordinators for every waking hour. It was incredible. Andrea and I just lounged around. We weren’t sure what to do. There’s hardly been an hour in the last two years we haven’t been around our kids….
Approximate data from our trip:
Land miles: 25,000 and counting
Nautical miles: 8,000
Liters of Lingle Urine Sprinkled Roadside or Outside: 500
Hitchhikers Picked Up: 20
Times Murdered by Hitchhikers: 0
Accidents: 1 (in Mexico; hit a semi-truck)
Cases of Montezuma’s Revenge: 4 (one for each of us)
Parrots Seen/Heard: a few shy of a zillion
Penguins Seen: 12
Days Camped on a Beach: 313
Days Camped in the Mountains: 233
Days Camped at a Gas Station: 10
Days Stayed in AirBnBs or Hotels: not enough
Days Stayed/Camped Elsewhere: cos (A+B) = cosA cosB – sinA sin B
Borders Crossed: 23 (mainly because of Chile and Argentina)
Sloths Seen: 4
Whales Seen: 33
Quetzals Seen: 9
Waterfalls Visited: 13
Cheap Beers Consumed: yikes
Times Surfed: 3 (just the kids)
Times Paraglided: 1
Cloud Forests Visited: 4
Monkeys Seen: a hundred barrels
Highest Elevation: 14,000 ft. (El Cajas National Park, Ecuador)
Lowest Elevation: -279 ft. (Badwater Basin, Death Valley)
Times Grifted: 1 (gas station dude swapped bills on me…)
Attempted Robberies Thwarted: 2 (once in Mexico and once in Peru)
Major/Impressive Deserts Visited: 4
Vicunas and Guanacos Seen: plenty
Times we Dumped the Porta-Potty: more than I’d like to admit
Andean Cock-of-the-Rocks Seen: 8
Seasons of The Office Streamed: 4.5
Gas Consumed by Our Gas-guzzler: enough to raise the global temp a few degrees
Friends Everett Claims to Have Made: more than 50 (actual number is likely less)
Times Paheli Painted Her Nails Without Permission: 3
Memories Made: mucho
I plan to post the Best Ofs our trip here in the next week or so, with a few travel recommendations (since some of you have asked).