Thursday 22 March 2012

Dam fine

More cute coatis on the way to breakfast this morning. I'm soldiering on through epic jet lag and off-the-scale blood iron thanks to a paleolithic intake of red meat: possibly a connection? Who knows. Anyway, after yesterday's 'Whoa, nature showing off, here' moments with the waterfalls, today was about how man can whip up the odd marvel too, given some time and co-operation. So we were taken to the Itaipu Dam, 65 storeys high, 18km long, 20 turbines using 10 times the volume of the Falls... er, an hour? a day? The statistics became a blur, after a movie, a bus tour, the commentary - what is more impressive, is that it's a bi-national project by Brazil and Paraguay, the river forming their border. The construction, the maintenance, the power, they're all split 50:50 in a shining example of international co-operation.

Then lunchtime brought another revelation: my first churrascaria, a barbecue restaurant where you fill your plate with a selection of fresh salads and vegetables (or chips) and then a succession of waiters arrive at your table with what could be a heart attack on a stick, but is so delicious, who cares? We were offered from long skewers every type of barbecued meat imaginable, and some not (like chicken hearts) - filet mignon, rump steak, pork tenderloin, lamb, plus onions, cheese balls, sausages... all hot and crusty outside and meltingly tender inside. Delicious! And afterwards the completely unnecessary dessert selection recalled the very best in children's parties, with every permutation of sugar and cream possible. And it was only lunchtime!

At the bird park my zip toggle was gently examined by a toucan with his huge orange beak; a rhea came rushing excitably up to the fence and immediately fell asleep leaning against it; blue and yellow macaws swooped low overhead; we were frowned at by a harpy eagle and, happily, ignored by a large hairy tarantula; we went crazy trying to focus on super fast-forward hummingbirds and were draped with an anaconda; and my camera got into a snit and let me down, sniff.

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