Thursday, December 13, 2007
The Iguaçu National Park Bus
PLATFORM ONE / SIDE TWO
Park's Entrance Complex
You will get off here > Iguacu National Park's Visitor's Center
The Iguaçu International Park Bus
The first stop on Side Two of Plataform One is possibly Brazil’s best internationally known local bus service and even though there is no statistic about it, it is curious to think that people from most of the world’s countries have used this simple, common, important service. It is one of the few lines in Brazil where you can board and pay in US dollars, Brazilian Reais (plural of Real (R$), Argentine Pesos (AP$)or Paraguayan Guaranies (G$), though it is possibly illegal. It is the bus that connects the TTU to the Iguassu National Park’s Visitor’s Center via the Foz do Iguaçu-Cataratas International Airport (I have a story about this Aiport's name). The line departs the TTU, travels along the Avenida JK, into Avenida Jorge Schimmelpfeng and past the intersection of Avenida Jorge Schimmelpfeng and Avenida Paraná. From this point onward the Avenida Jorde Schimmelpfeng will be called Avenida das Cataratas (Cataratas or Falls’ Avenue).
Before entering the tourist area proper, the Avenida das Cataratas that start right past the Mufatto Boici Super Market (Buoyseeh in the Brazilian Portuguese transliteration and Mboicy in the original Guarani) in the area known as Boici / Mboicy, and crosses the neighborhood of Vila Iolanda or Yolanda – close to what can be called “traditional” in 89-year-old Foz do Iguaçu. Streets are shaded by older trees, houses are mostly one storeyed, there is still an ambiance of peace, though three-storey, four-storey buildings are creeping in and mushrooming around. I wrote once a nice poem to|Vila Iolanda – I lost it, may have burnt it. When you see the Restaurante China (oldest Chinese foodplace in town since the days of Mao Tse Tung), you are leaving the Vila Yolanda Area and entering the touristic area. Signs that you are in the “Tourism Corridor” are more restaurants, the traditional Churrascaria Rafain (and showplace) and hotels. The first to be seen is a budget hotel called Monalisa on the right side of the road. On the left you will see the Bourbon Hotel Tower and Convention Center – Hotel Bourbon, for short, in the five-star range; then there is the Dom Pedro I – ranking lower in the starred universe, again followed by the Mabu Hotel and Resort etc offering five-star accomodation plus a thermal pool and spa, green vistas and so on. Across from the Hotel Bourbon there is the GranVía – a budget hotel that was able to somehow settle in the big guys’ nesting area.
Between the Bourbon and Mabu travelers will find the Danceteria Crystal and Show Place. It is an interesting place because it ranges from a “Boîte”, Discotheque and Show House with girls that can be available and for that some people prefer to add “whorehouse” to the list of specifities. The place is expensive and as far as Latins are concerned this is a place for men. That is made pretty clear when you learn that the entrance fee to the shows is R$ 33.00 for men and R$ 66 for women. But I have heard anyway of European groups made up of couples who have gone there to see how things works. Even though I said that some peole add whorehouse to the list of nouns related to the house, there are no rooms to rent. The city is well served as far as “Motels” are concerned. Motels rent room by the hour for those who may end up with a Cristal Beauty for the night. Pleasen don’t anyone tell me that I am selling sexual tourism. I am just telling you what is available. (I wrote a few words about motels here)
I would like to protest here for the recent introduction of condominiums or gated communities in the Avenida das Cataratas. Landowners have seen the possibility of selling land for gated communities thanks to the increase of urban violence. They are taking advantage of two things. First, gated communities are exploding worldwide mainly in India, Russia, Florida (that is close to the United States) and so on. Second, the problem of Brazilian failing or hard-to-find security policies. You will see two of these developments (rich ghettos) on the right side of Avenida das Cataratas. I don’t like them but if you want to check their sites here are the links for Rich Ghetto One and Rich Ghetto Two.