In Wollongong I met a good friend of Paul's. He had been traveling around South America a couple of years earlier. He fell in love with Brazil, and was disappointed when I told him I was not going there. This story repeated itself on several occasions, but maybe most frequent when I was traveling with Maria. She was going to Brazil, and wanted me to join her. I resisted, again and again. After seeing Maria off to Santiago de Chile, and Youri and I got on the bus to Cordoba, it became evident to me that I might have been wrong all along.
Just hours after arriving in Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, after a 21 hour bus ride from Cordoba, via Rosario, Santa Fe, the birth place of Ernesto Guevara de la Serna, I was on a bus heading for the Brazilian border. The big bags were in our hostel in Puerto Iguazu. Youri and I had a round trip ticket to the Brazilian side of the Iguazu falls, and even if it was just for the day, we would enter Brazil.
The border crossing was the easiest I have ever seen. First leaving Argentina, then driving out on a long bridge across the river that marks the border between Brazil and Argentina. The first half of the bridge was decorated with railings in white and blue, the second half in green and yellow. At the Brazilian immigration office hey did barely look in my passport. What took them the most time was to find an empty page to stamp. There were no more controls, and the same went for exiting the country. It was really easy to get your exit stamp, and then walk back into Brazil, if that is of any interest to anyone.
When it comes to the waterfalls, the ones I hear the most about back home in Norway and California, are the Victoria falls and the Niagara falls. It was after watching "Planet Earth" that I realized how amazing the Iguazu falls are. I had only heard the name and location of them before. It was just about three weeks between my visit to the Niagara and the Iguazu, or Iguacu, as it is written in Brazil, and I'm extremely glad I saw the Niagara first. I am sorry Canada, but your falls can't even compare to the breathtaking and vast view of the Iguacu.
The park entrance fee was paid, we got on a bus taking us out to the actual falls, and the excitement built up. We got out of the bus, walked down a small trail, and a mist from the waterfalls skyrocketed not unlike the wine when the cork is pushed down the whole neck and the pressure ejects a burst of wine. From where we were standing we got a great overview of the falls, and they continued a lot further up to our left. Over some of the falls, there were built walkways, and we would walk those the next day, when back on the Argentinian side of the border.
At the visitor's center by the entrance of the park we got a map of the Iguacu falls, illustrated with a jaguar and a butterfly on the Brazilian side, and a monkey and a bird on the Argentinian side. We saw hundreds, if not more, of the butterflies. Some were large as pieces of toast and bright blue. Many were smaller and wore red, orange, yellow and white gowns. We saw no jaguars. We walked along the cliffs, looking at the waterfalls as they were lined up on the other side of the border, one more impressive than the next. Down in the river below us there were speed boats taking the visitors into some of the waterfalls. From what we heard it was suppsed to be cool, but you could see nothing because of all the water and the mist. I am sure I would have loved it, but the price was stiff, and it was just for a few minutes. Several of the walkways would take us into the waterfalls as well. That was enough for me. We walked a bit with a guy from London, who we met by the falls. He had been to the Argentinian side the day before, and he had seen a lot of monkeys. Youri really wanted to see some, and was getting excited.
I had my picture taken on the walkway before we came closer to the "Devils Throat". "Garganta del Diablo" is the name of an enormous waterfall where it looks like a U-shaped drain is gathering all the water from a lake running over the edge. The mist is so dense that it is hard to see a lot, but the sound, moist, and what you can see,is overexposing your senses in a way that makes you feel really small. Most of the " Devils Throat" is only accessable from the Argentinian side, but on the Brazilian side there is a part of the waterfall that drops about five stories down to a plateau where it is built a set of small bridges, as a walkway. The water flows down from this plateau in another drop. Probably about four stories. I put my rain-poncho on, so when walking through the mist, which was more like a shower. I did not get too wet. I brought my small camera and kept it in the 10 USD waterproof sleeve I bought on Amazon.com before my first trip to Hawaii in 2008. We got some allright photos out there, but it was hard not to get the lens wet.