Monday, August 26, 2013

RECAP : Iguassu Falls

This was well worth the visit . We arrived in the early afternoon and made the most of it ... by planning our tours with beer :) Yeah you see that giant beer funnel we are drinking from in the above pic ? we drank like 6 or 7 of those before the sun went down . We also met some German tourists and a couple Brits they all just so happened to be staying at the same hotel as us so we were in constant contact with them ... but the Brits they were really nice . Catherine was travelling around South America for quite some time and Craig was her boyfriend that just came out to meet up with her . Good drinkers . Our first day/night there was fueled by alcohol and pasta as we hit up a really good Italian restaurant with an all you can eat option for pastas , it was totally awesome and very filling . The one strange encounter of this part of the trip were the trannies :) yeah we accidentally asked one directions only to get this manly voice telling us its just down the road ... we walked faster after that hahaha.

Our second day was all about seeing the falls , which were overflowing and had record highs for water levels ... apparently they have not seen these water levels in over 10 years . If you look it up online you will find tons of pics where the falls look like they are running dry . Not for us ! During our drunken first day we booked a helicopter ride to see the falls , that came with a transfer to get us to the park . It wasn't cheap , as i just noticed on my VISA bill :( but it was worth it ...actually would have been better if we weren't all jammed in the middle of the helicopter but we made the most of it regardless as the other group enjoyed prime time views of the falls with their window seats . Oh well you can't win 'em all i guess ... we were actually told we would have our own private helicopter but we had bad timing as the other one went out of service as we were sitting there . Honestly the falls were a magnificent sight from up above and also when up close .
 We actually walked around the park for hours taking pic after pic as the falls seemed to look different around every corner .... remember its not just 1 set of falls it is something like 275 water falls and it is amazing to see them up close and really realize the power of nature . Luckily the Brazilian side was not effected by the surge of water as we saw the Argentine side had walkways totally washed out so there really was nothing to see from that side .... if you didn't know Iguassu is shared by 3 countries ( Brazil,Argentina and Paraguay ) we considered going over to Paraguay but time was not on our side as we only had a couple days there .

Before we went out to South America we researched about getting shots ... i was told and i think so were the others that we would not need them , but for some reason everywhere we turned there were posters warning of Yellow and Dengue Fever from mosquitoes . I was a bit paranoid as our friends from England said they got their shots and there were bugs unlike what the person at the clinic said . apparently its winter down there and there won't be bugs LOL ... idiot ! i got swarmed and honestly i was a bit freaked out as i did get sick while i was there in Iguassu . The night after our big day at the falls i felt sick and bailed on our night of bowling , which left my stay there without a conclusion but i can say i am fine now and the paranoia is gone but next time i would suggest getting the shot just for ease of mind .

So we got drunk , went on helicopter ride , saw the falls but to top it all off ... and this was not planned ... we went to the bird sanctuary across the road from the park , and that was really AMAZING . You actually go into the cages with all these beautiful big birds , its unreal . I am pretty sure we all had an awesome time there and it was the perfect ending to a long day with a lot of walking and sight seeing , we were all laughing our ass' off especially when one of my feathered friends decided to eat the button off my baseball cap :P
I still hope you choked on it LOL !

If you are in Brazil make sure to stop over in Iguassu , just the falls itself was well worth the stop over ... all the other stuff that happened was a plus , yeah even my illness hahaha ! 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

RECAP : Rio de Janeiro part 3

Its been a bit since i have written a blog ... been ridiculously crazy busy working since i returned home from South America . Just starting to save for my next adventure , hopefully some day i find a sponsor to pay for flights but until then i have to fend for myself . The last post i made was about the amazing experience i had at the Confederation Cup Final , hopefully i can cover the rest of my stay in Rio in this 3rd part all about Rio . I have so much stuff to cover .... 

I think it was the day after that we had our first crack at our tour with Indiana Jungle tours , we went to a favela and to the jungle , things really didn't go so well that day . We had some bad luck with the weather and timing of our excursion , but were very lucky to be with such a great tour guide . He realized how bad it was and offered us a freebie in the next few days . Here is a link to their Facebook group ... if you are in Rio look them up you won't be disappointed

Of course
i was not done with my hockey there yet :) we had a skate with some of Ge's buddies and let me tell you i am still amazed as to how those guys can handle that extreme heat while trying to play on ice ! It was unreal i was friggin dying !!! I think i was guzzling a bottle of water every 10 min just to replenish and when i got off the ice i almost passed out , no joke heat stroke was kicking in and i ended up busting my twig . Not a great thing to happen so early in a trip where it is so hard to find anything to do with Ice Hockey . Don't worry about me or my sticks ... obviously i survived :P Good thing i
went shopping before i got on the ice with the guys . Yeah the rink is in a shopping center so i did walk over just for some pictures and a few laughs with the security guard . Those crazy gringos eh LOL !

Over my last few days in Rio i did a lot of amazing things that had drinking involved ! No doubt those gin and tonics at Copacabana did me in ... and i can't forget the Bathida de Coco's at Bar Oswaldo is owned by a former Jiu Jitsu champion which i should add i had the opportunity of going to watch a bunch of fighters train or in fighting terms i got to watch them roll ! And yeah it was pretty cool ... i was offered the chance to train with beginners but unfortunately it was after i had left so i couldn't do it but there is a standing offer to go next time so i hope that i can ... it would be an honour to train Jiu Jitsu with a former world champion !

I can't stop talking about how amazing Rio is/was and i can't wait to go back . The repeat of my Indiana Jungle adventure was totally different from the first try , it was a beautiful morning and we went to the Botanical Gardens which at first thought would be boring but instead we spend a few hours chasing monkeys around looking at cool plants and overall i was very happy with our guide Andre' who was very enthusiastic about his job . At the end of our tour we were taken to the Sugarloaf which is where James Bonds Moonraker was filmed . We (myself & Timo ) were both excited to go see this as we both enjoy Bond flicks ... well maybe Timo enjoys them more but i still liked it , the view was fabulous .

I can't end my blogs about Rio without thanking Ge' Cardoso for being such an excellent world class host !!! Ge' if it weren't for you we wouldn't have had such a great time buddy , your family are very amazing for letting you come show these strangers around for a week . Ge' basically helped me book our hotel ... check out Hotel Entremares in  Barra if you are there and want to experience staying with the locals instead of being with tourists then check out their website , also without Ge' we wouldn't have been so lucky as to have played so much hockey with his Mad Parrots and teaching the future hockey players of Brazil :) You did so much for us buddy , including showing us good bars and restaurants and introducing us to Indiana Jungle Tours and i could just keep going on . you were amazing to us and for that i owe you a good time when you come here in January ! Just make sure you bring a jacket buddy it is much colder here then on any cold day at the rink there in Barra :P

If you ever thought about visiting Rio i would suggest to DO IT !!! i can't wait to go back ... hopefully for the World Cup next year ... fingers are crossed that some day i get a sponsor ?..

Saturday, August 10, 2013

RECAP : Rio De Janeiro part 2

Oh Rio how i miss you ... been really busy as of late working like a dog to save up for my next adventure :) I want to keep doing a recap of my trip with less words and more pics ... if you can't tell by the pic above i have become an official Brazilian and that all occurred thanks to the man the trophy for the big hockey tournament in Rio is named after . If you read the first recap there was a pic of my great friend Ge' and the Steiger Cup . The Steiger Cup is named after Maurice Steiger ! He had an extra ticket to go to see the Confederation Cup Final ... it is the warm up tournament for football/soccer's World Cup . The final was between Brazil and Spain which you would think would be an impossible ticket to get ? Maurice came through BIG TIME ! Maurice is in a wheel chair due to an accident he suffered while skiing in Switzerland , that doesn't slow this guy down at all LOL ! I had to mention that just to add that we had some really awesome seats with nobody in front of us we had the clearest view of the pitch :) Also we had a really cool time with all his friends drinking Prosecco ( or something like it ) in the parking lot before the game .... yes i got my face painted to become officially Brazilian . It was truly one of the greatest days of my trip , actually probably in my life as i am a huge fan of the sport . 

We drank a bunch of beer and swigged whiskey in the stands as we watched the visiting Spaniards get their ass' handed to them in a 3-0 win for Brazil . I have to admit that was probably the best display of team play that i have ever seen with big saves , great defensive play and amazing goals ... it was truly an amazing display for the sport . Yes i did get pretty drunk and so did most of the 73,000 other fans :) 

This event was just so huge i figured it should get a recap on its own . Have to give a shout out to Marcelo Santos as the extra ticket was his ... he is friends with Maurice . All of you guys/gals are awesome ! Hope to go watch a World Cup game with you all next year again ... BRASIL !!!! 

Before i forget ... i also have to thank my friend Timo for paying for this ticket for me as a gift for organizing our trip for us ! Thanks buddy ... and to add to it i had to wear the Bayern Munich jersey so the guys could feel like they were there , if not for their request i would have worn my Aston Villa jersey . If you all didn't know i am a huge Aston Villa supporter and love the sport of football ... just not as much as i love Ice Hockey :)