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Over the Edge

August 5, 2013

It took a long time to get to Puerto Iguazu and I the entire journey I was thinking I’d made  a terrible mistake in trying to jam it into a trip where it clearly didn’t fit. I’d had a terrific trip so far and I was tired, homesick an not enjoying the ride anymore. 

I arrived mid-day and after sorting out my flight troubles, I was had to make a decision, sleep was clearly the wiser, after 30 hours of travel with basically no sleep, and what I had planned on doing with my afternoon when I still thought I had monday in Iguazu. But I opted for the jungle tour instead, which as I mentioned yesterday, solidified my realization that I don’t like the jungle. 

When I awoke the next day, my jungle furor was reinforced, the bugs I knew had been attaching me whilst there had left their marks all over my ankles and lower legs. I later found out that I was not, as I’d assumed, covered in mosquito bites, but in tsetse fly bites. Yes, the tsetse fly – carrier of African sleeping sickness (which would kind of be awesome to get). 

I also learned to trust my cell phone. I was confused with times and time zones and in my hubris, decided the time I thought it was, wanted it to be, was correct. It was not. And I would have been far later than I was for my shuttle to the Falls if some kind desk clerk hadn’t called me. 

But I made the shuttle and on we went. Also on my shuttle were American couple, Kim and Steve, who have lived on their boat traveling the world since 2009; and a Alexandra, a Peruvian living in Buenos Aires and her mother, visiting from Lima; a middle-aged, very computer nerd looking couple from London; and Hank, a Dutchman traveling alone. We chatted our way to the Iguazu park and on the very Disney like train that brings one from the gate to the path and then fell silent as we walked the wooden paths over the water towards the falls. 

I cannot convey them to you with words (the photos are on Facebook). We came first to the Devil’s throat, where several falls converge. The power of the water was immense. I had to stop myself from taking pictures and just breathe in the image for a moment. 

Iguazu is a series of waterfalls on land in Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. I was only on the Argentina side, but it was staggering. You walk through the acres of the park and some falls are delicate and precise, some are massive and powerful. One particularly lush corner holds the two sisters, side by side falls that are so photogenic that they are the prevailing image from the film The Mission. 

About halfway though our tour, Alexandra, her mom, Hank and I split off to go take a boat tour. I signed up thinking it would be like Niagara’s Maid of the Mist, which I admit to not knowing anything about, but I assume it’s a gentle ride during which you can take photos. Our ride, during which we were joined by a high school group from Spain, was a thrill ride, which featured the motorboat zooming close the falls for maximum wetness. We got soaked, and laughed a lot, but I’d just as soon keep walking along the park. 

We walked further in the afternoon, after a quick hamburger, which amusingly was a burger with ham on top, and a run-in with the local wildlife. In the afternoon light, the falls projected bright ever-present rainbows. It was magic. 

I went back to the hotel overwhelmed by the beauty of Iguazu and convinced of the wisdom of my decision to visit. 

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