From Dervishes to Samba - Fall 2011 travel blog

the giant gusher


so many falls


so many falls

view from overlook

view from the plane


baby flamingo


at nest

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falls panorama

We flew out of Sao Paulo very early in the morning after dealing with the usual madness of a country which does not value organization and bureaucracy. Doubtless our confusion was compounded by our language deficiencies; there were announcements in English but they were like no English I have ever spoken. But the plane was not full and a light breakfast was served. We cannot complain too much.

Less than an hour after we checked in at the hotel we found ourselves on the way to Iguassu Falls National Park, listed as one of the seven wonders of the natural world. Often things don't live up to this sort of hyperbole, but these falls knocked our socks off and made us so glad we made the effort to come. Words are inadequate to describe the torrents of water descending from 275 separate waterfalls. At one point a person can stand and be surrounded by 260º of waterfalls. They all are part of the Iguassu River which flows primarily in Brazil and is part of the border with Argentina. On the Brazil side the walkway is very well developed and we descend an elevator which brought us into the midst of the thundering water. Some of the walkway brought us into the mist, making taking photos a challenge, but our wet skin felt great in the tropical sunshine. Iguassu Falls are shaped like a reverse J. The Brazilian side has about 20% of the falls, while Argentina has 80%. To completely and fully appreciate the falls, we will visit both the Argentine and Brazilian side, as one side gives great views of the other.

Just outside the park we went to a bird aviary which featured many colorful tropical birds we have seen at home in zoos. But here they were hanging out where they come from and many of the enclosures enclosed us as well as them. The toucans were especially cheeky and hung out on the railings, waiting to pinch the unwary passer by. The flamingo area was ringed with mirrors because the birds are most comfortable when they feel strength in numbers and then they are more likely to breed. The babies we saw seemed to indicate that the plan is working.

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