Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Iguazu Falls

After our Uruguayan gripping rollercoaster adventure (really need someone to follow through with the promise of a sarcasm punctuation system) we headed back to Buenos Aires to base ourselves closer to the centre of the city and soak up a couple of days of liveliness to compensate for Uruguay.

An art museum, couple of pizzas, good catch up with new friends Sam & Nicole (actually the 3rd country we'd seen them in due to a close similarity in South American travel plans), a few beers and a incident involving a drunk local ineffectually throwing a rubbish bin at a transsexual - then we were ready for water fall fun.  Step up Iguazu, home of waterfalls that apparently make Niagra look like a leaky tap...

We saw the falls from both the Argentinian and Brazilian sides, both afford spectacular views - Brazil being mostly from a greater distance with magnificent tableaus, and Argentina's side more varied walkways and the opportunity to get much closer to the falls, spray and ways to avoid staying dry.

The falls themselves stretch for a few kilometres in a horseshoe shape - one of the Argentinian routes took us on a slippy metal walkway for 1km to the centre called 'Devil's Throat'.  Here the falls were so close and violent that in places we stood in a constant shower laughing our heads off as we tried to keep cameras dry and take photos when all we could see was a huge amount of spray. 

We headed back to the more sedate walkways, on these walkways it's very normal to come across Coati which are very similar to Raccoons.  They walk along the walkway handrails with great skill, some are nervous and will speed up to a run as you pass them, but some will stop to sniff you or your belongings, I assume because some people have produced goodies with high sugar content which must be like coati crack.  Gayle saw one stop to take note of an elderly Argentine woman, who immediately took offence, and ignoring the signs about wildlife welfare and the dangers of rabies, decided to just sharply smack it on it's head Like an errant child.

On the Brazilian side we saw one actually trying to open a girls handbag to get some sweet wrappers, while she did a small panicky dance while trying to bat the intrepid would-be thief to the floor.  When she succeeded she was then surrounded by another 10.  It seems there is a small war taking place between tourists and coati - my money's on the more savvy coatis. 

On the Argentinian side we had wanted to start with a boat trip at the bottom, then do the sights bottom to top.  Our plans had to be reversed as the staff had all had a party the night before so we were told they were in no fit state to take responsibility for our safety in the boat tour until the early afternoon.  Not ideal, but probably the better approach then driving and ferrying people around while steaming.

So we strolled around the remaining walkways somewhat agog, taking dozens of slightly different views that we now have no clue how to organise into a manageable number, then we had a bite and started our jungle / speedboat tour.  The jungle bus tour was a bit tame, and had very little wildlife or information that your average person who has been travelling be-jungled areas for 8 months wouldn't already know.  

The boat trip was a bit more entertaining.  When we boarded some of the group changed into swim wear, which was our first clue to what lay ahead.  Belongings and shoes were quickly stowed into the dry-bags, then we were ferried to the foot of the falls where after a couple of photo ops we were told to get the cameras safely stowed too before we were driven directly into the spray right next to the falls.  We were getting completely soaked, I could hardly open my eyes because of contact lenses, and we were right next to impressive but obviously lethal amounts of water barrelling towards us.  Everyone had the appropriate response which is to laugh uncontrollably at the absurdness of the situation before being taken back to land to be left there like very wet and confused semi-drowned rats.  We liked that bit.

Because of our afore mentioned inverted itinerary for the day we travelled back in our bedraggled state, then more relaxing with beers and food. The next day we travelled to the Brazilian side for the more sedate tour, and then the day after that our plans took us to the airport for a little jaunt to Rio de Janeiro...

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