Laughing down the Devils Throat, defying waterfalls and the January river! (some may know it as Rio de Janeiro).
After crossing the major part of the south American continent on multiple buses the notion of some 20 hours on a bus to the Iguazu falls did not appeal to us. We booked a flight from BA to the Argentinian side of the falls. A short time in the air allowed us to switch the urban jungle of Buenos Aires for the good ol' fashioned one in Iguazu. Here we ended up checking into "Timbo" hostel. The guy working there was just great. All the times we asked him to fix something for us, he came back a bit later telling us it would be done faster than expected and cheaper than we hoped for. This included the laundry, post office and all the times I asked him to get me a beer =) In addition to the service, the weather and company took a turn for the better, and we spent a day in the hammocks feeling the warmth and chatting with the other people at the hostel. Before going to bed we agreed to get up early to have a full day exploring the falls.
Waking up to the sound of rain pattering on the roof, I made the decision to sleep until the weather improved. Cecilie's snores vetoed this notion. Some hours later the gray clouds were looking marginally better and the second peace of cake was looking dangerously delicious, so we got moving.
Foz do Iguazu is a major tourist attraction for both Argentina and Brazil. It makes up part of the border between the two nations and although the Argentinian side is said to be the better, both have some spectacular views to offer. After paying our tickets we got on the "Green train", named after its bio friendly engine. It took us right to the edge of the biggest waterfall in South America. Even before seeing the falls, the giant plume of steam rising in the horizon tries to prepare you for the sight. It fails. The Garganta del Diablo is simply mind boggelingly huge! Even with a wide angle lens, you would need several pictures to capture the entire falls. And this is just one of the falls on display in Park de Iguazu. We soon realized that we were going to need another day to fully appreciate the falls.
Day two we explored the lower part of the trails and met a little family of sadly tame animals that charmed us with their cute noses and tried to take our food with their quick claws. Afterwards we took a boat ride that drove us directly into two of the waterfalls there! The immense pressure from the water had us soaked in the blink of an eye. The next round into the falls was even more intense. The water rose to our ankles INSIDE the boat, but El Capitan punched the throttle and we left the water and waterfalls in our wake.
Cecilie felt that WE should send some of OUR stuff home to get more space in our backpacks. Naturally, my allotted volume of the kilos that was sent included my woollen socks. TWO whole pairs, mind you.
Originally the plan was to skip Rio de Janeiro, but after meeting Richie on the GAP tour we changed our minds. He invited us to come and stay at his place if we passed by. Making (fortunately) some changes in our plans we took the trip to the of talk in Brazil, and Rio has been one the trip definitely best stays. Richie worked from early morning, but after slipping into his Rio clothes (shorts and flip-flops) he took us out to see the city. His apartment lay smack in the middle of the Copacabana and Ipanema beaches and as long as we stayed away from Pier Nine everything was postcard perfect. It was quite windy, but since there is no wind in a post card, the comparison stands. In Rio we posed with Jesus, climbed half a sugar loaf, did hang-ups on the beach with the speedo boys and ate meat. ALOT of meat.
The last day Richie took us to the best "all you can eat" steak house in Rio. He said the name Porcou, but pronounced it more like "poor cow". In this place you got a little red and green plaque where the green side gave the green light for the waiters to come with theirs huge meat skewers and slice of something absolutely delicious. The other side was red, and said something like "im making space for more, give me a sec" in portugese. Cecilie dug into the sushi while I was on a quest to eat all the cow in the world. In the end I admitted defeat and turned my plaque onto the red side. I have to say it is hands down THE best steak dinner I have ever had. Since there is no such thing as a free lunch, we both dreaded the little paper that was going to put another dent in our travel budget. But then Richie came like some knight out of a fairy tale and unsheathes his shining Master Card and tells us that it is a pleasure to "build relations with the people from Statioil". In the taxi Richie tells me about something called the "meat sweats". I wake up sweating at 5 AM, stomach still bursting full and had a understanding of the full meaning of the term.
We left Rio with the same impression as most of our fellow travellers. It is a great city to spend some time in, especially if you have a local that can show you around. Copacabana, Ipanema and all the other sites really do live up to their reputations!