Sep 25, 2007

Itaipu Dam

We also had the opportunity to vist Itaipu--the world's largest dam. It's huge! We drove around it, beside the bottom side of it, and on top of's intimidating. Paraguay recieves 95% of all its power from this dam, and Brazil 20%.

Near the end of the weekend we visited a bird park where they have over 800 birds. Things tend to be a lot more hands on here then in the states, so we walked among gigantic birds who were not in cages. There is a Maca (parrot) cage that has approximatley 50 Maca's that you can walk in "at your own risk." Andrew chose not to go in, but filmed the experience for us safely outside of the cage. We girls couldn't resist being so close to the parrots. The Maca's love to dive bomb right over your head while squealing loudly--it's hilarious!!! :) We all held a parrot at the very end of the day. What a treat it was!

This past weekend we traveled to Iguacu Falls. It's the largest waterfall in the world as far as actual width and number of falls go, but second to Victoria Falls in Africa by sheer volume of water. The falls lies between Brazil and Argentina. We traveled through Argentina as it was the shortest route to the falls. We had to cross over on a ferry to reach Argentina. The ferry was a fun adventure for us. Making our way through customs was an adventure in itself as we speak little Portuguese and in Argentina they speak Spanish which is similar, but at the same time, very much its own language. We traveled to the falls with 5 other Americans who were familar with what needed to be done, and they were a huge help.

I'm posting a picture of the girls in front of a banana tree that was by the customs stop in Argentina--there are banana trees everywhere--well fruits of all kinds really. I love the way banana trees look with their big leaves. Below the pic of the girls and the banana tree is a picture of some birds nests that are shaped like long skinny saks. It was fun to watch the birds fly in and out of them as they brought their food into the nest and hunkered down in the bottom and appeared to be eating.

The racoon like animal with the girls (in front of the garbage cans) are Iguacu's "maskot" as they can be found all over the falls and don't have the least bit of timidity. They are professional beggars.

Sep 12, 2007

These are also pictures from the mission. The cactus is growing in what used to be the jesuits quarters.

The palm tree had 6 or more wild parrots living in it. They were very noisy, but ever so shy. I never did get a good picture of them.

Sep 11, 2007

Oi do Brasil! I hope all is well with you! We have been crazy busy, but I wanted to stop and post a few pics before too much more time passes. I really should be studying my Portuguese as I have an assignment due tomorrow, and I just need to study period! :) We are at a point now where we feel comfortable going out to the stores etc, as we can get along okay. My nanny is a whiz at understanding my broken Portuguese and she helps me communicate with others when I don't understand them as she is very familiar with the vocabulary I know and simply rewords things into my vernacular. :) The girls are doing great with their Portuguese. They went to their first birthday party Saturday evening with our little neighbor girl. They play with her on a daily basis. She is one of their best teachers! :)

Last Thursday evening, Grazi (our nanny) and her husband Max, brought us over some sugar cane. Max "peeled" and cut up 4 stalks for us. It was our first experience with it and it was a good one. This Thursday they are going to take us out to the country where they find it growing along the roads, and to a little stand where they sell sugar cane juice.

On Sunday, we went to San Miguel Missoes. It's an old mission from the mid 1700's. The movie The Mission with Jeremy Irons and Robert Deniero was partly based on this place. (Jennifer and Margaret I think I made you watch this film about 10 years ago--as I recall it didn't go over to well!) :) I still love this movie and really enjoyed walking through the ruins and sharing some of the stories with the girls.

The weather has warmed up here, and the girls have been swimming in our pool often. They have turned into little brown choclate beans.