Burned and soaked, again so worth it!
Trip Start Dec 30, 2010
84Trip End Jul 06, 2011
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It's only a fifteen minute drive till we are at the Argentina falls entrance. I chat to Isabel for a while. She works in a pharmacy in Berlin, spent 9 weeks in Mexico recently and again, someone else who didn't tell her mum where she was. We had been to similar places in Mexico so conversation was good. Thanks to the Spanish guys, I brought Flip Flops and left my trainers in the mini bus. I also removed the bottom part of my trouser legs, was wearing a long sleeved top for sun protection, but left my hat behind, the Italians would have ribbed me all day!
The Argentina side of the falls is much bigger and is almost like a theme park. For our tour, we were mainly focused on the Sam Martin falls and going above the devils throat for some stunning views.
What I wasn't expecting from the Brazilians, was that every sign we passed by, one of them stood infront of it and took a picture. I felt, Marco should have been more assertive and moved us on more quickly. We were having to hang around everytime these happy snappy Brazilians were taking pictures. Eventually we got to a path way crossing waterfall after waterfall, what we didn't know was that Marco would allow us to get up closer to these falls after we saw San Martin fall and walked back.
The Brazilian side of the falls were good, but here you felt up close and personal to these falls. We were walking over them, around them, under them, through them, getting wet, getting burned, it was a much better experience, and we really didn't need the tour guide.
After a bit of walking we got to San Martin waterfall, an amazing sight! On the way, I chewed the Italians ears off about football. Antonio is a Napoli supporter and was lucky enough to see Maradona play once, they beat someone 8-2. Napoli are having a good year this year, pushing for the title, so we discuss that some, later we would have a lengthy debate about the crooks at FIFA and why Qatar has a World Cup.
Anyway, at the San Martin falls, we all help each other take pictures, and all of us are taken aback by the size of these falls. I wasn't expecting them to be so grand.
We walk back over the smaller falls
Next was a lower trail, this one will involve getting wet. We walk along a lower trail, we pass one bridge that had spray every few seconds. We eventually got to the lower end of one of the falls that we passed over. Calum removed his top, gave me his camera and I grabbed a picture, he got soaked. I gave him my camera and bag, spared everyone's eyesight by keeping my top on and he took a couple of pictures before giving me the thumbs up! I was soaked! Even my undercrackers were wet through! I felt good to begin with, the park was so hot, we're talking 34C today, little cloud cover and it's super super hot. So getting cooled off wasn't all that bad, hopefully I could dry off! The Italians were a bit behind, chatting up the German girls, so I looked after their cash, passports and tshirts while they went in.
So, we were all drenched, well, apart from Isabel who didn't quite go all the way in. Next was lunch, on the way, we passed two beautiful waterfalls. I came up with the idea of having these two waterfalls as safer areas to get wet, ie have changing rooms nearby, but maybe the water is too strong or too heavy?
Lunch was either a choice of a small snack or a 2/3 course meal. We were given 30 minutes and incidently, it was now 230pm Brazil time and the German girls (minus Isabel) had a bus to Rio at 645pm. So, seeing as they were pressed for time, do you think they went for a quick snack? Of course not. Antonio, Pedro, Isabel, Calum and I all had a small snack, mine was fries and a sprite. During lunch, Antonio was so wet that he took his shorts off and sat in his underpants. He didn't appreciate my laughter and pointing the fact he was sat there in his underpants to everyone else. Although, later during lunch, he turned to me and said, OK, now I can concentrate, the lady over there has stopped breast feeding!! We took just over 30 minutes for lunch, the German girls took over an hour. So silly.
Next on the agenda was a train to the platform that walks above the Devils throat. Train was small and cramped. For some reason, Isabel, Calum and I walked very quickly to the photo point above the devils throat, Calum did jokingly say the first 100 get free ice creams, well, I was off!! It was very exciting, the closer you got, the more you could feel the thunder and crashing of the falls.
The closer you got, the more splash you could see. It was very exciting. We finally got to the end, there were guys on step ladders trying to sell photos and all that expensive rubbish. I get to the front, look down, and there is a perfect rainbow! Words just can't describe how great it was to stand there and witness such an awesome sight.
Isabel needed some help taking a few photos and then she climbed a couple of steps on one of the ladders for my tanned shot. She got into a little trouble, but didn't really care. Luckily, it was windy and the wind was blowing the spray away. I was still wet, and didn't really want to get wet again, seeing as the clothes I'm wearing I'll be wearing on an overnight bus to Curitiba and then in Curitiba all day on the 15th! Poor Dave, he'll meet me in Rio, take one smell and walk away!
We stayed for a while, but seeing as it was so hot and I was clearly burning to a crisp, Isabel too, we walked back to the train. Marco had given us an hour, but he really wasn't considering the German girls and their bus. As we walked back across the 1.5 kilometre platform, the German girls and Italians were still walking towards the falls. Who knows why they were walking so slowly, but it's up to them, their bus to catch.
We're back at the train, and already are loaded on. I sit next to some Brazilian guy who talks and talks and talks. Normally, I just nod and agree but some of the things he was saying I didn't agree with and told him so. He said video is better than picture, but I said, the mind is better than both of those. He disagreed saying, something beautiful after a day fades, then continues to fade until you forget it. I completely disagree, I have seen some beautiful things in my time, and some of those memories are just as strong now as they were at the time. He was old, but started to annoy me. We were told, get off at the 2nd stop. So at the first stop, he looked at me and said, 'You didn't understand that tannoy message did you, you don't know whether to get off or not?´, my voice raised, ´No, I do know, we were told 2nd stop!´, 'No you don't understand do you?'.......'Yes I do!'....'No you don't!'.........man!! Anyway, like the Koreans, I saw this guy again at the border, for Argentina, the border for Brazil and I'm sure when I woke up during the night on the way to Curitiba, for a stop, he was there smoking. Annoying old man!
The Germans and Italians missed this train back to the entrance. At the entrance, Isabel and I clubbed together for an ice cream and she saw a doctor about her arms. The doctor at the park, popped all the water bubbles and covered her in antibiotic cream? Ah, so now someone looks whiter than me!! At least she felt better and satisfied that she got some advice.
At the entrance, the bus driver was a bit annoyed as he knew the girls were going to miss their bus. And they did. They spent 100 Euro each for the long ride to Rio, but didn't really seem that bothered, I told them Jenny and Iris´ crying antics in San Pedro de Atacama and warned them they may lose their cash, unless they put on some waterworks.
We were at the border at 630pm, the idiot driver had lost some form relating to the Brazilians in the mini bus, so we sat there for 30 minutes trying to sort that out. Somehow Pedro helped. I was feeling confident about getting my bus, the key element was jumping into a shower, ultimately cold but a shower nevertheless. So, we pass back through the Brazilian border, the late bus to Rio people get off, then we head back over the border again. I'm confused, apparently we are now going to the 'best duty free place in the world!' Oh man! We get there, I get the Italians to explain to the knob of a driver, I have a 9pm bus, he said, no problem, we leave here at 8pm, No! I shouted! I stink, I must get back for a shower! Eventually we agreed, we would leave in 30 minutes, therefore giving me enough time to shower, pack and say goodbye.
I didn't go in the duty free, I wasn't interested. 30 minutes went by, Isabel and Calum had returned, so I now went off in search of the driver. He said he would wait outside for me, but after ten minutes, he waved at me as he walked into the shop!! I found the Italians, Pedro said he would help find him. So we found the van, no-one there, tried to get a message over the loud speaker no luck, then I saw the s**t, he was with the Brazilian girls, chatting them up and pushing a trolley full of booze. I grabbed him, and dragged him out. He took 5 of us back to the hostel and went back to get the Brazilians eventually, I assume. We stopped off at an ATM where I said goodbye to the cool Italians, big manly hugs and then back at the hostel. I have around 20 minutes to shower, phew!! Showered, packed, paid my bill, got my bus ticket, said goodbye to Calum and Isabel and then off to the international bus terminal.
Sadly, no time for dinner, so it was a packet of crisps again and a 7UP! My patience were getting thin, my debit card wasn't working again, luckily my USA one was, so got some cash out, dumped my bags and sit and breathe out, relax! There I was assuming I'd have hours to kill in the hostel with a late bus, maybe time for a swim in the pool, but no, I had 5 minutes to spare!
Still, an awesome day, with great people!
Miles walked 4,52
Temp 34C 94F