Feliz Ano Novo (as they tried to teach us to say in Rio de Janeiro on New Year's day)! Our four days in Rio were fun, as we spent time exploring the huge city's neighborhoods and seemingly endless viewpoints. Unfortunately, the weather was not as cooperative as we had hoped - we had only one day of partly sunny weather, and three days of on and off rain. But as luck would have it, the one sunny day was our trip to the top if Corvocado mountain and the Cristo Rendentor statue.
We almost had a second trip to the pharmacia, this time for Todd, as his ankle was painful and he had trouble walking...luckily it lasted only a day, just like Juli's illness the last day in Floripa...so if you're not feeling well, come to Brazil and it seems like you will be cured in 24 hours.
On New Year's Eve it was also raining off and on, but that did not stop about two million people (including us) from heading down to Ipanema and Copacabana beaches to ring in the New Year (and Todd's 30th birthday, of course), most of them (including us) dressed in all white. The food and drinks were had all night long, as walking vendors cruised the beach offering up beers, mixed drinks, hot dogs, sticks of steak (Todd's favorite), and other treats. The free enteraintment was also great - a concert including the Black Eyed Peas, and a huge fireworks show (we counted four barges in the water) over Copacabana.
Yesterday we flew to Foz de Iguacu and went straight from the airport, packs and all, to the Brazilian side of Iguacu Falls (google it now and take a look, it's incredible) - an amazing sight to see and a great day to see it - and see it we did from both up top (2km walkway along a cliff with panoramic views) and down low (inflatable boat ride right up and nearly into to a few falls and back down the massive rapids - we were totally soaked).
Last night we crossed the border into Argentina, and today we saw the falls from the Argentine side, where they have contructed platforms right to the precipice of the falls to allow you an 'over the edge' view (and where you end up soaked from the spray coming up from the bottom). And although we both really like the town of Puerto Iguazu for its character, tranquility, and cheap eats, we're done with this place and ready to roll on, so we moved up our flight and tomorow we'll get a few hours in Buenos Aires for a bike tour before we board an overnight bus to Argentinean wine country and the city of Mendoza.