Recommended: Bambu hostel – sweet digs
Do: The dam
So.. first day in Brazil with my shiny new Visa. I checked into the Bambu hostel… and it is sweet. Totally recommend staying here R$35 (AUD$18.50) abet a bit pricey.. but I have no idea what things should cost here.
The hostel has a sweet common area and pool etc and free Caprihina on the first night. They sometimes put on food (I paid R$15) and happy hour 2-for-1 Caprihina’s for R$8 between 8pm – 9pm.
I booked the ‘technical’ tour of the ITAIPU dam for R$56.10. It was ok, I would have liked to see more of the dam. It’s a pretty amazing engineering feat… It used to be the biggest hydroelectric dam in the world (14,000 MW) until recently. It powers all of Paraguay and 15% of Brazil.
It has 10 x 60Hz generators for Brazil and 10 x 50Hz generators for Paraguay. Since Paraguay only need the power produced from 2 of the 10 generators, they onsell that back to Brazil – by rectifying the power and turning it back into 60Hz. That’s absolutely crazy if you understand a little electrical engineering.
Exactly half of the dam is Paraguay and half is Brazil, including the staff, the infrastructure, the flood plain… everything. It’s crazy over the top in diplomacy.
The most amazing thing about the dam for me was… It was like stepping out of South America. The massive grounds are immaculately maintained. Everything was clean, and of high quality. The buses they drive around the dam – clean and modern, the hard hats and hair nets… polished floors… not an expense spared…
It cost US$14 billion in 1980′s prices however – and all paid for by private debt – not public.