2002 - Brazil
Sunday 28th July
Arrived Rio de Janeiro at 7.30 a.m having flown from Heathrow at 9.45 p.m. Saturday stopping at Sao Paulo. Met at airport by two reps from JLA - one was Etienne our guide. The other, a girl doing psychology at the university as well as being a tour guide, went with us on the minibus to our hotel whilst Etienne waited for the rest of the party who had flown with Iberian Airlines via Madrid.
Our hotel was on the seafront at Copacabana beach. Beautiful beach but weather overcast. Went to bed for a couple of hours before the others arrived and all met up in the reception at 1.30. Did city tour which gave us an overview of both rich and poor areas.
We went up in a cable car to the Sugar Loaf Mountain with views over the city but largely lost in the low cloud.
In the evening we ate in the restaurant next to the hotel with several of the others. OK rather than brilliant.
Monday 29th July
This was a tour to the rock where the statue of Christ is situated. Clear day with beautiful views. Evening meal.
Tuesday 30th July
Flight to Iguasso. Jill had a helicopter ride to see the falls from above. Then on to the colonial style hotel in the national park just by the falls. We sat by the pool and had Orange Pekoe tea and a plate of cakes. Then Adrian went for a walk to view the falls. Long and quite impressive.
After meal we went to a lecture on the flora and fauna. The young girl had an amazing grasp of technical English but the talk was not rivetting. We picked up a fair bit of information however.
Wednesday 31st July
Day trip to Argentinian side of the falls. Over an hour's drive just to get to there and could see our hotel just across the water! The falls and their environs were considerably more impressive than from the Brazillian side Several walks alongside and even over the falls.
Evening meal at the hotel as there is nothing else nearby.
Thursday 1st August
As we did not leave until 11.00 a.m., we we looked at the hotel shops and bought Jill a tee shirt. Also saw some beautiful birds.
This hotel is the one that Tony and Cherie Blair stayed at last August for presidential talks. Our equivalent group were kept waiting for 5 hours before they were allowed into the park. However their ordeal was rewarded when they came across TB still at the hotel and had their photos taken with him by the pool.
We left the park and went to the border town where we queued for a long while to cross into Paraquay. Etienne insisted that the town on the Parquay side was there solely to promote smuggling as there is a limit on the amount that Brazilians can buy on the maximum of one trip a month they are allowed.