The last few weeks have seen us do a bit of a whistle-stop tour of Brazil, so here's a quick re-cap:
First stop was Florianopolis, which is a very hard word to say after several caipirinhas. Thankfully the locals call it Floripa, which is much easier and makes us sound like we know what we're talking about. The language thing has been a bit frustrating. Just as I get the hang of Spanish, we arrive in Brazil and we're back to pointing, gesturing and generally looking a bit thick. I know it's sometimes considered rude, but as a last resort, saying the word you want in Spanish with a slightly nasal accent tends to work most of the time.
We stayed in Floripa for a few nights. We camped, we ate the best seafood we've had in South America, we went to the beach and we caught up with friends we met in Bolivia.
But there was one, rather large, very necessary diversion hanging over our shoulders. The Iguacu Falls are something that we had highlighted as a 'must do' months before we left. They are a pain to get to, nestling in the rain forest in a humid corner of Argentina and Brazil. Like so many other natural wonders in Argentina, the falls were something you would never grow tired of staring at. We spent three days staring at them, in fact.
Then we stayed in Paraty, a stunning little colourful port with cobbled streets which flood when the tide comes in. They were designed with an inverse camber so the tide takes all of the rubbish in the street with it when it goes out.
From Paraty we went to Ihla Grande – a car-free island where you basically go to sunbathe on one of dozens of picture-postcard beaches. Unfortunately the weather wasn't great here, so we spent one day doing a hike through the jungle to the beach and another day doing two scuba dives. One was to the wreck of the Pinguino, which sank in 1967. It was fun, though a little dark and daunting at times.
As this is my last blog from South America, perhaps I should think up some snappy little concluding paragraph, but I won't. I could do a little poem about our stay:
South America we'll miss you,
We've loved the things we've seen,
You have the ability to drop our jaws,
But wreak havoc on the intestine.
People have asked us how we feel about coming home and we have mixed feelings. We are getting sick of wearing the same, faded, worn out clothes. I want my own kitchen and sofa back. We are tired of responding to traveller questions: “Where have you been?”, “How long have you been travelling for?” I sometimes think it would be easier to create a little fact sheet to hand out to people when we meet them (“Read this first, while I go and make a cuppa”).
We also have LOTS to celebrate in the months after we get back. By my count we have two engagements, one new job (hopefully three once we dust off our CVs), one belated Christmas, three weddings, one birth, one pregnancy, one stag do, one hen do and a whole load of 30th birthdays.
That said, we will no doubt return and within a couple of weeks look back with doughy eyes at that time we were on a bus for 27 hours.
We'll put some pictures up of Uruguay and Brazil soon. We'll also probably put some of Italy online too – our horse will be dead then and we thoroughly intend to flog it.