a 21-hour bus ride stretched into almost 25, with only dry cookies and the non-ham-tasting bits of ham-and-cheese sandwiches for sustenance.
the zipline group was booked up the only day that i could go - most of the others already had gone while we were still on our later bus.
it felt like the universe was conspiring against me last weekend on my longest, most ambitious and expensive trip outside córdoba. but nothing could bring me down because IGUAZÚ FALLS.
whether you're floating beneath in a boat or hiking the trails to see each cascade on the argentinian side both up close and from afar, the falls are awe-inspiring. incredible. unbelievable on a scale that's impossible to capture in words or in images or even in memories.
it's one of the seven natural wonders of the world - and you can see why. there's something about a waterfall that's special. the awesome power, the massive volume of water, how can it be possible that so much water can come together at the same place while a thousand miles away córdoba is having a drought.
|me and ava. i adore this picture.|
even the insanely long bus ride was bearable, since in the morning i moved to sit with my friend malin at the first row of the top level, with a panoramic view over the gorgeous scenery. i witnessed the landscape change from córdoba's desert dryness to incredible dark green forests, packed red dirt roads, and colorful but rundown buildings and towns. i was unprepared for how developing-country the landscape would look - both the natural and human features were strongly reminiscent of burma or really many places in southeast asia. beautiful places, but with clearly disadvantaged rural populations.
|jungle. (and a very dirty bus window.)|
we spent all day sunday exploring the falls in the park. we started out with a tour package called the "gran aventura": first a jungle ride on a safari vehicle where the guide introduced us to the flora and fauna of this subtropical rainforest. we didn't actually see many animals except a couple toucans, but even being in the rainforest is exhilarating. i love the tropical climate, the diverse flora and fauna, the smell of the air.
|our guide told us about a lot of animals that we didn't get to see. the weirdest was the tapir. how had i never heard of it before?|
|jungles are magical.|
|hiking to the dock.|
|very! large! ants!|
|a lot of my view from the boat.|
|we cruised by lots of mini falls.|
|see the waterfall?|
|FIRST VIEW OF THE FALLS. (through someone else's camera lens, of course.)|
|two different sections of falls were visible from the boat, this photo and the photo above. we actually dunked under both of them.|
|twelve of us went to iguazú together, and 10 went on the boat tour at the same time.|
|water on the lens already.|
|yes, this has to be a series.|
|and i finally took a normal-ish picture.|
|ava. feat. my really wet shirt.|
|started climbing to the upper trail.|
|smaller waterfalls hidden in the jungle.|
|an old lighthouse in the park.|
|with laura, my new housemate.|
|francesca and laura.|
|i love that you can see the spray in photos.|
|around the park eateries and cafés, there were coatis EVERYWHERE.|
|some sort of wild guinea pig.|
|i didn't know that impatiens came from the rainforest.|
|spot the capuchino.|
|mother and baby!|
|we were very fascinated by this hardworking ant. it was also quite large.|
|actually we ran into this same lizard on two different occasions, but i'll spare you double photos. we could tell it was him because of his half-molted tail!|
|looks so calm and normal, but all that smoky fog you see in the background is actually spray.|
|first view of the devil's throat waterfall.|
|right as we left.|
my absolute favorite sight was the wettest, scariest, most massive: la garganta del diablo, or devil's throat. it was pretty far away - exhausted from hiking, we got there on a train that reminded me of the people movers you take at disney world from the parking lot to the entrance gate. devil's throat was incredible. i cannot even describe how amazing it was. it was loud and big and fast and strong and finally forced you to really appreciate the volume of water being moved and the immense size of the waterfalls. it finally gave a sense of scale that is difficult to wrap your mind around no matter how close you get to the rushing water of any of the many falls. it also afforded an amazing panoramic view of other falls as you got soaked with what felt like driving rain - but was again actually just the spray.
|thanks for the heads-up.|
|into the abyss.|
from our (subpar, but oh well) hostel in puerto iguazú, i walked with a couple friends to a spot called la triple frontera, where the iguazú and paraná rivers converge and you can look over at the shores of both paraguay and brazil. actually, i went to the spot twice, once at night, and again with different friends during the day, since though it's not that exciting, if i'm going to say that i've seen paraguay and brazil, i'd like to at least have seen them, not just squinted in the dark at a tiny lit-up "paraguay" sign that's probably across the river. my cell phone, at least, thought i'd traveled abroad: i got text from the argentinian cell company both welcoming me to paraguay and welcoming me to brazil. the wikipedia page on this region also has a large section on terrorism... apparently this border crossing is important for al-qaeda... glad i didn't know that before i went.
|the walk to the obelisk at dusk.|
|ran into a scary-looking snake when we went after dark.|
|my nighttime visit. each country has an obelisk in the colors of its flag.|
|paraguay at night.|
|paraguay's on the left shore, brazil's the right.|
|similar view at night.|
|inexplicably large crowds gathered to wait a turn to take photos with this flagstand.|
|more views of paraguay and brazil.|
|impressed by how this couple matched their shirts to their chairs.|
|reminds me of the abandoned brick buildings reclaimed by the myanmar jungle.|
|the city of puerto iguazú.|
|"i'm selling a house. lights, water, installed bathroom. malvinas neighborhood." who wouldn't want to buy it?|
|back in the city of córdoba.|
i'm beyond sad that maddy wasn't able to share the iguazú trip with me; she would've loved it. but i've got two weeks left in argentina! glad i've gotten to do so much in my short time here.
p.s. tiger was very disappointed when i told him a couple weeks ago that i hadn't seen any street soccer in argentina. turns out i had just been looking in the wrong places... on our drive through city outskirts, towns, and middle-of-nowhere rural villages, we saw fútbol everywhere. photographic evidence: