Around the world again... bit slower this time
Tuesday 230506 Foz de Iguazu Slept badly on the bus but arrived at 730am to our hotel. We had a quick breakfast and got back into the minibus for a visit to the Itaipu Hydroelectric plant. The largest in the world when it was built. It is currently being updated with two new turbines which will increase the electric generation to exceed that of the new dam at the Three Gorges in China. Iguazu is located on the Borders of Brazil, Argentina & Paraguay. The Itaipu Plant was a joint investment by Brazil & Paraguay, and it generates 95% of Paraguay's energy requirements and 45% of Brazils energy. Later that afternoon we had a excursion to the Brazilian side of the falls, Jim & Elaine had recommended that we do the Helicopter ride and so we rushed along to the front of the queue and Fiona ensured she had the front seat. Fee - this was my first trip in a helicopter & I wanted the whole experience! It was great, as we rose up I could see a white pillar of smoke rising in the distance. I thought that it must be a great fire causing all that smoke but as we got closer I could see it was actually vapour rising from the falls. It was great seeing it from the air as you really appreciated how enormous it was. it was all over far too quickly! We had an hour or so to kill while everyone was having their helicopter ride so Jude & I went off to the Bird Park across the road. We enjoyed it so much, loads of tucans that got really close to you. When we caught up with everyone we went off to the National Park. They have loads of little animals that belong to the racoon family. They were very tame but we were warned that they bite! We walked down to the various viewing points along the way - the falls were great and it whetted my appetite for tomorrow when we were crossing to the Argentinean side. Wednesday 240506 Iguazu Falls - Argentinean side Again this was recommended by Jim & Elaine. We took the minibus to the national park but there was a protest which closed the entrance to the park for two hours. When we finally got in we managed to get on the noon ride down through the rainforest. I wasn't too impressed with that bit but we then transferred to speed boats to ride over the rapids to approach the falls from the river below - we had been warned that we would get wet so we were prepared. We were soaked when they took us under the falls not once but three times! We then dried off on an island for a while before doing the walk to see the falls from yet another angle. We caught another boat back to the mainland and walked up the cliff via all the viewing points and managed to find a short cut so that we could catch the train to yet another view point. This one was from the top looking down. We had to walk for 1.2km along a raised walkway that took us over the river that feed the falls. We saw our first caiman (alligator), and tucans. The falls where stunning and we took the train back to the gates so that we could return to Brazil for the night. Tomorrow we are off to Paraguay.