Monday, April 23, 2012

The Power of Nature--Iguacu Falls, Brazil-Argentina

This short video captures just a small portion of the immense Iguacu Falls that share the border with both Argentina and Brazil. This is from the catwalk in Brazil that extends just below the first portion of the Garganta do Diablo falls where you look down from the edge of the second portion up to the top.There are more than 275 waterfalls in an area of more than 1 1/4 miles wide and 260 feet high so they are wider than Victoria Falls and higher than Niagara.

I don't have any more pictures of the catwalk area because someone stole my Fuji camera while I was using my video camera. Good thing I have been uploading my pictures to my iPad and Picasa as I have been traveling along and that I bought Alianza travel insurance. Now I just have to get a police report to document my loss for a claim.

After returning to the Iguassu Hostel I met four other travelers who were planning to visit the Argentina side of the falls the following day. Carlos, the Hostel manager, recommended that we hire a driver/guide to expedite our travels back and forth the border crossings and show us through the park as much as we wanted him to do. It seemed like a good plan so I joined them.

Both of the women had just arrived after a 45 hour bus ride from Mendoza, Argentina--Mel is from New Zealand and Ashley from Australia. The other two were Brian and Justin who were from California on a short 5 day holiday before they had to join their Honda Racing team who were competing in an Indy car race in Sao Paulo the following week.

Even with the driver/guide It took us over 3 hours to get into the park at noon. We all went immediately up to the top falls walkway to the Argentina Garganta del Diablo--Spanish spoken here. this is what we saw and heard. We also felt the pulse and spray of the falls.

It is hard to believe that every second of every day there are more than 460,000 cubic feet of water plunge over these falls.

We decided to see for ourselves what it would feel like going into the falls from a boat below. Here we are approaching the Garganta del Diablo as another boat is just coming out. I took some videos with my camera stuck in a ziplock bag and the video looks like I am in a shower. The fifteen minute boat ride for just $25 gave us two "showers" in two different waterfalls with the last one the biggest thrill. A Disney ride doesn't even come close to the sounds and feelings of this waterfall pounding you with water. My OR rain jacket met the test and kept my shirt dry except for a patch of moisture along the front zipper. Hopefully, when I get around to editing my videos, I will be able to show some of that thrill.

Here are some of the other views of the falls:

During the day we got to know a Brtish couple, Terry and Emma who were just finishing up their months long adventures in South America and all of us decided to meet up at the Gaucho Churrascaria Restaurant for dinner.

In addition to a great buffet of salads, side dishes and deserts, the various waiters would continually come by our table with meat ladened metal skewers. The meats varied from beef, pork, lamb, sausages, and rabbit and how they were prepared. We were also offered some hearts and parts few of us tried. The rabbit was wrapped in a cordon blue, chicken was wrapped in bacon, The beef was presented in various marinades along with filet which I asked for the "Rojas" cut of medium rare filet. The waiters just kept returning until we said, "nao mais". The cost was just $20BR or less than $10 USD for this meat orgy.

We had a great time reliving our waterfalls adventures of the day and exchanging our travel adventures in the past and future plans. It turned out that Terry had also had his camera stolen from his pack he had left on the bus when it had stopped for a meal break. The worst thing about losing your camera is that you lose any pictures you have taken that you have not uploaded. He lost his entire journey across the Bolivian salt flats, and I lost just some Sao Paulo street scenes and waterfall pictures. These losses are a good reminder to continually upload your pictures.

The following day I spent getting my police report and buying a replacement Fuji camera. Both the Hostel Manager and the police woman told me I should go to Paraguay to buy the camera since it would be much cheaper. I ended up getting one for $379 BR or about $200. With this one, I plan to make daily back ups.

The Igassu Hostel is the cleanest and nicest hostel I have ever stayed at with a great breakfast which included a hot quiche along with fruits, meats and cheeses for the sandwich rolls, cereal and coffee all for just $18 per night. They have a pool, pool table, bar and WiFi along with a very clean kitchen for those that want to prepare their own meals.

I took the local bus to the long distance bus station for my 4 PM night bus ride to Florianopolis just as a downpour started. how good for me that the weather was perfect for my two day tour of the Iguacu Falls.

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