Anthony on the Gringo Trail 2005 travel blog

A section of the Argentinian Falls from the Brazilian side

Another section of Iguacu Falls - not sure whose

Close up on some Argentinian Falls

Walkway on the Brazilian side

Walkway overlooking the Devil's Throat - very dramatic, very wet.

Yours truly getting extremely wet while having mind blown

A dryer tourist

What was making me wet

When I woke up on the bus, we had left the prairies and appeared to be back in the jungle, albeit a smarter version than I am used to. It felt nice to be back in thihs kind of place, despite the physical discomfort. So off the bus, and straight on to yet another one, this time to get over the border to Foz de Iguacu in Brazil, plan being to explore the Brazilian side of the Falls from there and have at least a little experience of a Brazilian city. And it is a city too, in contrast to sleepy little Puerto Iguazu on the Argentine side. So I had to get off the bus at the border to do the passport stamping thing, where I ended up stranded for an hour, but then to Foz de Iguacu and eventually into a hotel. I have to confess I was never entirely sure what time it was the whole time I was in Brazil, having changed time zones too many times. I am similarly confused about money, having on my person large amounts of Brazilian Reals, Argentine Pesos, Chilean Pesos, Euros, Travellers Cheques, US Dollars and Peruvian Soles, as well as coins from Ecuador, Bolivia and Colombia. I keep mixing up the exchange rates in my head, not helped by not always referring back to sterling or dollars. Interestingly, the people here are all culturally mixed up, ranging from Norwegian white to Congo black and all colours inbetween, not the noticeable distinct ethnic groups I have been used to in the Andes.

Considering visiting Paraguay, but looking less and less likely. The nearest bit, Cuidad del Este across the river, is described in my guidebook as a haunt of smugglers and money launderers, populated during daylight with opportunistic shoppers who don't mind where stuff came from, and deserted at night. Nice. Though as it turns out, I am not in the nice part of town anyway (if there is one). There are prostitutes and out of it types everywhere, loud music, huge tattoos, and roaring engines. Much more lively than I am used to lately, too much like home for my taste, so there go my plans for sampling Brazilian nightlife.

So later than planned I get a bus up to the National Park entrance, and then another to the Falls. Very manicured for jungle, but from a distance you can see a cloud of water, and then hear the noise, even over the National Park's buses piped in jungle noises. And then walk, more and more revealed as I go. The Falls are over 2 kms across, up to 100 ms high, and shitloads of water falls over them, particularly now when it is in full flood. Really it is more like about 50 big waterfalls next to and on top of each other, divided into two main bits. And best are a couple of key points where a considerable amount of this deluge of golden brown water is forced through a smallish space or many falls crash together. It doesn't quite look real, too much to take in.

And what a noise! Even the ground shakes a bit. Some of it is just awesome, puts me in mind of the sea falling off the side of the flat earth, even to having the mythical swallows diving in and out of the water grabbing falling fish. And the further I go, the nearer one can get to the actual falls, until at the end we can get right amongst them on these well-built walkways, right on top of some cataracts, at the bottom of others. Both positions are very wet indeed from the spray, but also extremely mind-blowing. I don't believe that I have ever experienced such raw power. Mad to think that in the old days locals used to row tourists to the brink and then paddle like mad against the current...until seven Germans and a local went over...needless to say all died, and that practice was banned. I find it very difficult to tear myself away, and keep going back for more, quite overwhelmed by it all. And as a result I miss the last bus back to town, and have to walk a while till I get a taxi, driven by some mad (but talkative) woman who won't admit she doesnt know where she is going and covers this up by tearing around the city as fast as possible.

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