Monday, November 2, 2009

IGUAZU Vacation

IGUAZU
"Big Water" in Guarani






Our arrival was a little rough. We weren't sure if the guy who sold us our tours was ripping us off. The Full Moon tour that we'd scheduled our trip around was sold out. I wasn't sure if the ATM would work, then I had no idea of the exchange rate for pesos.

At our hotel, they told us there'd been a mistake and they didn't have a room for us. They tried to get us to stay with the lady who lives across the street who had a monkey in a cage in her driveway. Yipes. But we just ended up staying in a bunk bed a dorm-style room that first night, with two chicks from Columbia.

We went to the falls as soon as we could, which was already the afternoon. Anyone who gives you advice first says, "Go early." By the afternoon it's hot. Good thing we had the terere. The falls curve around in kind of an upside-down U, the bottom of that U is the most famous part, the Devil's Throat. For the first day, we went up the side.



When we first came over the threshold and I saw the waterfalls, I just ballooned up with emotion. It's like all that water flowing over everywhere just fills you up with the wonder of the world. It's amazing. There are rainbows everywhere in the mist, with birds looping through.

That day we went for the boat ride. You go through the jungle down to the boats, then ride through the canyon of the river until the falls become visible in the distance. Then they loop you through the mist, which feels like someone spraying you from a fire hydrant. Oscar really loved it and did a great Paraguayan laugh that ends with "Woo Hooooo."






Quite the shower




***

Iguazu is like Disney, where it attracts people from all over the world. I love to hear all the languages. Oscar and I talked a lot in Guarani. I realized how much I know. If I want to tell you about the time Aunt Norma broke her arm, it's Spanish. But "Let's go eat lunch," "Where'd I put my money," "Did you eat the last of the Cheetos?" That kind of stuff I can do in Guarani. It was like we had our own little code language and could easily gossip about those around us.

It also brought up another depressing point. There were hardly any Paraguayans. This used to be part of Paraguay. In fact, Iguazu means Big Water in Guarani. But now, just outside the border that got shifted by a big war to exclude this resource, Paraguayans didn't even enjoy it. "Isogue" said Oscar. "They're broke."

We were not yet broke, so we went to dinner at a very nice place. However, we almost fell into our asado we were so tired.

DAY 2
We got up early to go on a forest adventure. The first part was rappelling. I had to tell Oscar the story of how I tried to go on a rock climbing trip then remembered I'm dizzily afraid of heights. There were these five little girls who went like brave campers before me. Then I went screaming all the way. I finally tried to look up and jump like the pros, and right when I did that, I came swinging in and landed on my shin bone.


Oscar Rappelling

We almost tried to fit in another trip to the falls in the afternoon, but instead decided to enjoy the tv and the air conditioning. Too bad in our awful hostel, if you turned the tv on with the air, all the power went out.

That night was the Luna Llena, the Full Moon tour. I had been wanting to do this forever. It goes on for 5 nights around the full moon. We finally had the weekend planned, then I went online and saw that it was $80 a person. You probably read that as 80 dollars, as I did. So for days I thought we couldn't go. Then I realized I'm blond and that they use the same symbol for dollars and pesos. So it was 80 pesos, just 20 bucks. We did finally find a space, and it was a magical wonderland. They take you to the Devil's Throat, the part we had yet to see, and it's amazing. The water is falling all loud, then these plumes of mist rise up slow and silent. Unfortunately, they also soak you. Then you go to a nice dinner in La Selva restaurant in the park, where a man was playing smooth jazz covers on a harp.


The Falls at Night

Day 3
We were planning on leaving early but decided we needed to see the Devil's Throat in the light of day. I really loved watching the birds. There are these birds that have evolved to live in the falls. They can fly through the water and make their nests on the rocks. They fly, black against the white of the water, in big loops.

We also saw tucans, monkeys, iguanas and all kinds of tropical wildlife, which Oscar fed Cheetos as I yelled at him. After the Devil's Throat we went on the Macuco Trail. Being very lazy we complained about the heat and acted as though we were dying the whole 3 km. But then we came upon a very gorgeous waterfall with a natural pool underneath. When we got in though, it was freezing and it was like a crazy rainstorm with the wind and the splash off the waterfall.

***

Then it was time to go home. But we stopped in Ciudad del Este to get me a router for my computer. CDE is like the if Sam's Club were run by the mafia and was a whole city. It's pretty dangerous -- volunteers aren't allowed to go alone -- so Oscar walked in front, then me, then his friend Jorge behind. Things are super-cheap there, like computers. So businesspeople go and buy up 20 computers. There are these huge ware-house type building with lots of levels, all over echoing the sound of packing tape and boxes thudding on each other. We got my router and I found Heinz ketchup and Jif. The kid at the store tried to explain to me what creamy and crunchy and extra crunchy meant. Kid, I've been eatin' extra crunchy since before you were born.



3 comments:

Anonymous said...

So, you went to the falls with Oscar. I guess I can cancel my ticket.

Anonymous said...

Cousin...this picture is breath taking! ~Nancy

ThinkingMansUhuru said...

Looks stunning.