Sam is Bill’s friend. And ours. Here are his last to emails about his adventures.
Subject: Farewell Argentina…
Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2007 13:53:53 -0300
From: Sam Schaefer-Joel
Today I bid farewell to Argentina and head to Brazil, it´s just across the river from where I am staying now, in Puerto Igazú. I am so excited to get to know Brazilian culture, learn some Portuguese, spend some time volunteering and meditating…
The journey across the Andes back to Argentina from Chile was eventful, we had the season´s first snowfall on the pass and there was a rockslide that closed the road for the night. All the hotels were booked but we ate dinner ate one of them and prepared to spend the night in the van.
Just before they closed up the restaraunt portion of the hotel, we found a misterious spiral staircase on the way to the bathrooms that led up to a storage room full of blankets and mattresses…..hmmmmmm, should we sleep sitting up in an idling 15 passenger van or nested down in a pile of bedding……we had a comfy warm night hidden upstairs but when we came down to get back on the bus at 6 AM we discovered we were locked in the hotel! Luckily a window was open in the women´s bathroom and we climbed out just as they were preparing to depart.
Mendoza was wonderful, very california climate, think Santa Rosa in the fall, warm days and cool nights, grape harvest, and juggling in the park. We rented bicycles and cruised around to several vinyards tasting wine, wheee!
It was in Mendoza that I made the decision to seperate from my dear friends and juggling companions and head to Brazil as they make their way to Bolivia and Peru. We plan to meet up again in Peru or Venezuela in a couple months. I´ll be heading first to Rio de Janeiro to volunteer at a meditation center for a couple weeks, not sure what I´ll be doing other than meditating three times a day and learning to speak Portuguese…
From Menoza I took a couple overnight buses on to Carlos Pelligrini and La Reserva de Iberá. Wow! So nice to camp out in the midst of nowhere, stars bright bright bright, everyone super chilled out on country living. I lived the tourist life for a couple days, took a boat ride out to the floating islands and saw all kinds of crazy wildlife, lots of caimans, capybara all over the campsite, more birds than I´ve seen in any one place. The third day I went for a walk in the jungle and came upon a family of monkeys, I sat and watched from 15 feet below while they played and ate in the trees while mosquitos played and ate on me. Yeah, bugs, lots of bugs. Hot. Cool at night. Friendly canadians at the campsite. Beer.
Now I am in Puerto Igazú. The waterfalls here are absolutely amazing. I am filled with awe. Oh my goodness…..photos will be posted at some point. Increadible….so much water crashing down….mist thrown up into the air with increadible force….rainbows forming in the sun amid glistening droplets, standing on a walkway over a HUGE wide river that suddenly drops away into a foaming pit known as La Garganta del Diablo!!! The throat of the Devil!!! It is hot and humid here, very tropical, mangos and bananas growing everywhere, avacados are literally falling from the trees.
I stayed last night at this fancy hostel, 9 dollars a night! That’s just about the most expensive lodging of the trip. Lots of international travelers here, english spoken all around. Free internet, breakfast, pool tables, pingpong, swimming pool, hot showers, it’s a sweet place to hang out, though honestly I’d rather be camping with a bunch of south american jugglers and artesanos…still it’s nice to live in luxury every once in a while.
Con mucho amor,
Subject: Alto Paraiso
Date: Mon, 4 Jun 2007 20:31:23 -0300
From: Sam Schaefer-Joe
Alto Paraiso really is a high paradise. High plateau of Brazil, tons of beautiful waterfalls, amazing hiking, crystals along the side of the road, cool nights and hot days…It´s a town full of yoga and meditation studios, lots of spiritual people, hippies, and musicians.
I went on an amazing hike to a waterfall up outside of town, the plant life is stunningly beautiful and diverse. Flowers of every color and shape filling vast meadows dotted with dwarf palms and mimosas, borderd by green jungle along river banks and rocky ridges full of cactus and bromeliads. Wow!
I have posted photos at www.flickr.com/photos/samalabares
I have been meeting wonderful people here, swimming in lots of waterfalls, juggling, playing music, hiking, and meditating (or, as I like to call it, donating blood–there are lots of mosquitos and small biting flies at dusk, especially near the rivers). I just got my yellow fever vaccination in preperation for the Amazon, I´m heading back towards the coast and north tomorrow, to the state of Bahia.
Best wishes to you all!