Search This Blog

Monday, February 08, 2010


Dec 15/09

I opened my eyes and I knew I wasn´t in Kansas anymore. Flashes of green blurred past my window. I rubbed my eyes and attempted to stir myself out of my stupor. Where was I? The jungle-like vegetation seems more like it. Then in a flash it all came back to me. Boarding the bus yesterday at the bus terminal in Retiro. Getting seated in one of their ridiculously comfortable seats that the bus lines are famous for in Argentina. Trying not to spill drops of coffee on my t-shirt when the bus hit a rocky point in the journey and drifting off to sleep during the on-board movie. But I was finally here in Puerto Iguazu, Misiones.

The bus came to a halt in front of the bus terminal. Quickly I grabbed my things and made a dash for the front of the bus. The combination being pent up on the bus for 16 hrs as well as having slept well during the night resulted in me being wide awake and full of energy. I disembarked, grabbed my luggage and then caught the local bus "El Practico" to the hostel. After securing a dorm, I then stored my luggage at the hostel and then headed back to the bus stop but only this time, I would be catching the bus to the world famous falls....Iguazu Falls. The staff had told me that I can´t check into my room until 2pm so I might as well seize the day.

After 15 mins and 5 pesos later, I was back on that little yellow bus. My heart was beating with excitement. Every person that I had ever spoken to, be tourist or local spoke about the falls with such an incredible awe. Each day, people travel from all over the world right here to Iguazu to see what apparently is nature´s spectacles. As a writer, I myself have a vast imagination to the awe and beauty of the falls as I imagined what they would be like. I had seen pictures of them and they did indeed look incredible. But the greatest imagining I had as a writer could not prepare me for what I was about to see.

Finally the bus reached Iguazu National Park. From the outside, the park looked rather humble. I could not see or hear any waterfalls. After paying the 60 peso entrance fee, I began my journey deep into the park and towards the waterfalls. It was 9 am in the morning and and my mind was still not fully awake. Half my mind was still asleep while the other half was trying to take in everything that was happening.Soon I found myself on one of the trails towards the waterfalls. All around me were tropical vegetation and I could hear the cries of the jungle animals deep within the forest. There was a sign that said something like "Keep in mind that this is a nature reserve. You may encounter dangerous animals. Please keep to the trails" That was an extremely comforting thought :0

It wasn´t too long before I found myself in front of some signs that pointed me in different directions. One sign pointed me in the direction I should go if I wanted to see the Upper circuit. The other sign pointed me in the direction I should go if I wanted to see the Lower circuit. I will break here and explain this. There are two ways you can view the falls. You can view it from the top down. It is almost like getting an aerial view of the falls. Or you can start by seeing the waterfalls mid way as the water is already half on it´s way to the bottom. There are views that are up close and personal and there are views that will give you a more holistic view.

I chose to head for the Upper Circuit first. I soon found myself on one of the many metal footbridges that were all over the park. To sum it up, this was basically a jungle that had paths and footbridges installed to make the park accessible an to make it possible to get up close to the waterfalls. One of the coolest experiences I had was when the footbridges went right over the waterfalls. So literally you are standing right on top where the very point that the waterfall is cascading over the rocks. It felt like such an odd sensation because at some parts of the park, literally to my left is a raging waterfall, but to my right is a calm pool of water. This is the water before it turns into part of the waterfall. It looks so calm and innocent, as if you could go swimming in it on a hot summers days. And then moment later that same water turns into one of nature´s most powerful and dangerous forces.

There were two things I loved about the park. One was the waterfalls. The other was the animals. There is one moment that I will never forget. I was coming back from viewing one of the falls when these two creatures jumped up onto the rails of the bridge and then jumped onto the other side. They were about the size of a raccoon and they looked kind of like a cross between a lemur and a raccoon. I stopped to look at them. Then another one came up from under the bridge.

Now this the amazing part, after the other adult one came from under the bridge, some babies popped out from under the bridge. First one....then two....then five.....then eight! They just started rushing up from underneath the bridge and starting piling all over the adult ones. It was the cutest thing in the world! As it turns out, this would not be my only encounter with the animals of South America. During the course of my 2 day visit to the park, I would have a close encounter with Coaties, monkeys, butterflies etc. Animals, plants, and insects that I had only seen on "Animal Planet" would come alive to me during this trip to Iguazu.

I had no clue that Iguazu would be a sensory experience beyond anything I would ever know. At the time of this writing here, I am still trying to find words to describe the experience of being there. There were many other things that I saw and experienced but words just seemed futile. My mind is still trying to process everything I´ve seen. One thing is for sure, I am determine on coming back here again and this time, I want to take someone with me to share this magnificent place and everything in it.

My time at Iguazu has left me with one unanswered question. Did I conquer the waterfalls or did the waterfalls conquer me? This is a question that will chase me my whole life and it is one that I know deep inside I will never be able to answer fully...........

Amorous Alpacas

Amorous Alpacas