A little about Brazil–by Cathy Ison

P1000169Recentemente tive o prazer de conhecer um simpático casal de australianos que vieram conhecer uma pouco mais do Brasil. O professor Ray Ison veio participar de um encontro para discussão de temáticas sistêmicas em Praia Grande, e enquanto isso, sua esposa Cathy Ison aproveitou para conhecer Foz do Iguaçu e Florianópolis, antes de embarcar com ele para Bonito e o Pantanal.

Eu os ajudei na elaboração do roteiro, na escolha dos hotéis e algumas sugestões de passeios. Após este breve relato da Cathy vou elencar alguns dos meios de hospedagens utilizado pelo casal nesta passagem pelo Brasil.

20th May, 2011
Dear All
I just disturbed a tiny humming bird dipping into a flower as I wandered off to get a cup of coffee - the former symbolizes the delights of being on holiday in Brasil, while the latter is not necessarily to be recommended. How can a country renowned for its coffee be so inattentive to the local offering??!! Hard to believe that I left Australia two weeks ago for this sojourn in Brasil. I do feel as
though I have been away for longer.

sandro e ray
Photo 1: Sandro Schlindwein and Richard Bawden with some of the canyons of the National Park in background.

The first week Ray was at a systems symposium in a national park south of Florianopolis - probably one of the most stimulating and enjoyable weeks he has spent as an academic – colleagues engaged with systems' ideas, a beautiful setting in a national park, wonderful food and Brasilian academics who were also musicians-it doesn't come much better than that.
Meantime I found my way around selected parts of Brasil. Quite a new experience for me to be travelling without attending a conference or seeing work friends and colleagues along the way. However part of post breast cancer 'treatment' is to take a few more
holidays. I can hear some of you saying 'and a good thing too!' I have to say that Iguaçu Falls did provide an amazing, not to be forgotten experience as a wonderful first day in Brasil. I wish it hadn't involved
about 35 hours of travel to get there (transit at Sydney, Auckland, Santiago and finishing with a 4 hour wait at Sao Paulo before catching the flight to Iguaçu to arrive there at 2am local time). However once arrived it was out to the Falls the next day with a very pleasant English couple who were also staying at the B&B. These are definitely the most spectacular falls in the world and shouldn't be missed.

cachoeira mato grosso sul
Photo 2: The highest falls in Matto Grosso do Sul state – beautiful but dwarfed by Iguaçu.

A few days were then spent exploring the island of Florianopolis - hiking, reading novels, (examining an interesting PhD -just slipped that in), bird watching and exploring the southern part of the island before meeting up with Ray, and friends Richard Bawden and Sandro Schlindwein. After a gorgeous day with Sandro, Ray and I then headed to Bonito and the Pantanal in South Central Brasil.
I have to say that this is a tonic for both of us. Ray is about to go off to the UK for at least a month, so having a little 'quality time' together seems like a good thing! We are mixing 'downtime' lazing about in this very pleasant pousada (I'm writing this in a shaded pagoda complete with hammocks looking out to swimming pool and palm trees on a beautiful sunny day with a balmy breeze keeping the air cool) with some extraordinary day trips. I am in bird watcher 's heaven and thankful I gave Ray a good pair of binoculars for his last birthday. We have seen an amazing array of birds from the tiniest humming birds to yesterday’s trip to the Pantanal where we sighted at least 10 different forms of raptor, plus toucans, kingfishers and jabiru plus many more.

cachoeira mato grosso sul 1
Photo 3. One of the 11 cascades at Boca de Onca, north of Bonito

We have been on a hike in waterfall/cascade country – the daring amongst us (moi) braving the crystal clear but icy waters for a waterfall pool dip and then facing the 800 stair climb out of the valley. Ray and I managed the climb in reasonable form (with hindsight!) and without heart attack. We have also had the amazing experience of snorkeling down the pristine waters of the Silver River seeing an endless array of fish and loving the experience of just floating for hours with the current - it was an excursion Ross had a decade or so ago, so I also enjoyed knowing that he was equally enthused and delighted by the experience.

Photo 4. Hooded Black Parakeets in the Pantanal.

So we have a few more days to go before we head for England and Australia respectively. Nicky is in transit to England as I write. She has been funded to attend a summer school in Newcastle, England (not Australia) and is then taking an extra week holiday. She had a supervisor of her extended final year essay at Lancaster who is supportive of her work!
Apologies for such a long letter (too lazy to write a short, succinct and entertaining summary!). All best wishes from both of us from Matto Grosso do Sul Brasil

Photo 5: One of the many capybaras we saw in the Pantanal

With edits and photos from Ray

Meios de hospedagens sugeridos nestas viagens

1) Praia Grande

Cabanas Magia das Águas - http://www.magiadasaguas.com.br

2) Foz do Iguaçu

Maricá Bed & Breakfast – http://maricabedbreakfast.com

3) Florianópolis

Pousada Colinas da Lagoa - http://www.pousadacolinasdalagoa.com.br

4) Bonito

Hotel Pousada Águas de Bonito - http://www.aguasdebonito.com.br

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