Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Happy Belated St. Patrick´s Day

After 23 hours on a bus from Rio to Foz do Iguaçu, and two more buses to cross the border, and two more stamps on my passport (an exit from Brazil, entrance to Argentina), I finally made it into Argentina. But only for a couple days. On the bus I met a girl from Denmark and we got to talking and we found ourselves planning to tour the waterfalls together. As I said before, the falls are on the border of Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina, and apparently the Argentinean side is best, and since her hostel happened to be in Argentina, I went with her and booked a couple nights there to make things easier.

We spent the whole day yesterday with a couple from Sweden walking around the national park that contains the falls. We were constantly moving for about five hours going from trail to trail and across the Iguaçu River to get better views of a few of the 275 waterfalls in the park. Besides the falls there were also great views of the surrounding environment including dozens of species of birds, lizards, iguanas, and some kind of rodent called a coatite (spelling?). We saw a couple iguanas about the size of a poodle or terrier as they crossed our paths with no regard for us, sticking out their tongues to smell their way.

The falls were massive. From afar we could get a panoramic view of rows and rows of them, but we also got close enough to be in the spray of the whitewater. The largest waterfall was about 100 yards wide and probably more than double that in depth, though it was difficult to tell because we couldn´t see the bottom because of the cloudiness of the whitewater. It was such an awesome sight to see, I couldn´t help being a bit frightened as I stared down in the midst of the deafening roar. But then I looked at all the little old Japanese people in their tour group and I was pulled back to reality. I bought a disposable camera finally, so I took plenty of pictures...for safety purposes no one is allowed to go swimming near the falls, let alone jump or dive off of one, though I would have loved to do it.

This evening I´m taking another bus for 15 hours to the Brazilian island of Florianopolis where the beaches and town are being raved about by some fellow travelers. From there I´ll probably head down to Uruguay, but plans could change at any moment considering yesterday I was thinking about taking a 40 hour bus ride to Chile. The only place I absolutely, positively have to be on a certain date is Buenos Aires on May 5th, so anything could happen before then. Hope everyone had a good St. Patrick´s Day with a Guinness or some Irish whiskey...

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