Falling for you, Iguazu Falls.

15 Feb

Boarding the bus bound for Montevideo, we’re like sugar-loaded children on their way home from the Royal Show. All chittering and chirping, high from too many rides and too much fun on the ranch, reciting extravagant, exaggerated stories of aversions overcome, our united decibels inducing a stern and perilous look from the lady in front so familiar I decided she must be a mother with 3 children.

The skyscraper landscape looms near and we take our place in the bumper nudging traffic before heaving our dusty backpacks, still faintly smelling of cowpat soup, into our hostel for the night – Escuela de Rock. This joint is cool – if you like that punky, backstreet, let-me-play-air-guitar-before-sleeping-on-a-flea-ridden-mattress-in-the-garden, sort of place. Normally a lover of rock music, this time its earth-shattering loudness is too much, too soon after the tranquility of our ranch experience (not to mention the warm beer). By the time the owner began to regale us with announcements of top electronic dance parties for the evening, I feel like a cherry on the top of melting ice-cream, slowly sliding of the fleeting perch of perfection to bop around in a sea of cold reality. Looking forward to moving on to the Iguazu Falls, we refuel on a cheap dinner, and even cheaper wine, before crawling into bed.

Badly explained directions sees MC chasing our bus down the street at 7am, with me clambering some way behind him with a backpack in each hand like a new-born, slightly crazed gorilla who hasn’t worked out how to use his arms yet. Turns out there wasn’t too much need for the rush, our hopes for a speedy arrival to ‘The Falls’ thwarted by an internet error with our payment, giving me the glorious opportunity to explore every nook and cranny of the airport and for MC to stock up on ham and cheese toasties.

We roll into sweaty and dusty Puerto Iguazu, the town nearest the Argentine side of the Iguazu Falls, and whilst lounging over a casual cold bevvy are railroaded by the news that visa requirements for me to obtain entry into Brazil have recently changed. Previously more relaxed than a Jamaican’s boardshorts, seems the Brazilian authorities in this town have finally found the extra notch and tightened their belts. I now require proof of a ticket out, a copy of my bank records and a printed copy of the online form – all of which I’m lacking. With only two precious days before we had planned to cross into the border, and thus a flame lit under the dollars of the plane tickets we’d purchased to fly to Brazil’s north, we have no choice but to pry the tired eyes open and trek off for the only internet café in town. We finally stumble out sometime after midnight like giddy uni students, demented with tiredness, sweaty hands clutching the golden forms, but studiously smirking at each other at our good teamwork.

6 hours after our heads hit the pillow and the alarm is already beginning to whir. Determined to miss the coachloads of tourists to the falls, we are on the first bus of the morning. We run to the station, our footsteps halt only to allow a tarantula some peace while he baths in the sun (picture not shown, my terror-ladled brain causing such things not to occur to me).

We are indeed some of the first at the falls and have much of the walking trails to ourselves. We eat a little breakfast and enjoy the view.

We wander the upper and lower decks with our mouths agape like goldfish, every twist and turn more magnificent and majestic than the next, all the while to the sound of the thunderous roar as the water beat down.  Legend has it that a god planned to marry a beautiful woman named Naipi, who fled with her mortal lover Taroba in a canoe. In rage the god sliced the river, creating the waterfalls and condemning the lovers to an eternal fall. Temper, temper.

With the humidity and temperature rising, we decide to cool off and board the boat to go for a dip under the falls. So very fun!

Dripping wet and patting ourselves on the back for at least keeping our socks dry, we took another little boat across to a small island, giving a different perspective of the falls. Look at that rainbow!

As we took our near empty boat back to mainland, we observe the long lines of tourists waiting in the scorching sun to do the various activities we have just finished. The early morning start was definitely worth it.

Stopping for the good ol’ lunch of ham and cheese sandwiches, we work hard to fend off the naughty Coatis.

Looking similarly to raccoons, they have become somewhat of a pest here, brazenly approaching and stealing food from tourists. We indeed observe one very brash Coati who scales a table and proceeds to drink an American lady’s coke from the cup, careful not to spill any, while she hollers and flaps her hands, a hen attempting flight.

On a trek to a rockpool with waterfalls, more than one monkey was spotted playing in the trees…

Finally, our weary feet wind our way back to view the grand finale of the Iguazu Falls. Garganta del Diablo (The Devil’s Throat). Greeted first by their roar, we elbow a few unsuspecting tourists aside and approach the edge to watch the water ferociously pound into the valley below. It is here I spot perhaps my favourite part of the day – the double rainbow. A beautiful ending it twas.

Our next few days see us making a list and checking it twice, getting me a Visa (I must’ve been nice), and hurriedly waved goodbye to Argentine to make our way into Brazil. Disappointedly, there wasn’t enough time to make it to the Brazilian side of the Iguazu Falls, but MC treated me to a special Valentine’s Day dinner. Cheap red wine and $5 take-away – beef and pork with salad, beans and rice – ah, how he spoils me.

A few capirinhas later, our heads are finally falling against the pillows.

x kel

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