Iguazu Vacation!!!

Trip Start Jan 23, 2007
Trip End Feb 23, 2008

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Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Hello everybody!!! so now its 5 weeks into the trip and we had some fun last weekend. We took a mini vacation with a group of our friends to the Iguazu Falls 18 hours north of Buenos Aires. We took a bus to the falls... and by bus we mean a full reclining seat, 3 meals, champaign and wine.. and some of the...corniest Jean Claude Vandam movies. It was first class airplane service for a $40 bus ticket!

Iguazu Falls are located on the Iguazu River and creates the border between Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. There are 270 falls along 1.67 miles of the Iguazu River. The tallest falls are around 270 feet... the average fall is about 210 feet high. The first falls we saw were at Devil's Throat. We were standing over the U-shaped falls which are 490 by 2300 feet. They are the most impressive falls of all and it marks the border of Brazil and Argentina. We took a video of the falls so you can comprehend the intensity of the water....(which doesn't do any justice). Sad part about the trip, but still understandable, was the guy who followed your tour group around with a camera so you could buy your "Great Adventure" at the end of the tour. However because it is so "Disneyland-ified" you get to walk all over parts of the park (Some what like Starved Rock). The Days were perfect, 86 to 90 degrees, slightly humid (cause its the Jungle!)and we walked around while getting burnt and trying to stay dry from all the water.

After the Tour we actually went on a Gran Adventura... which is a highly controversial boat tour and by controversial we mean they load a boat full of people, make some highly dangerous but fun maneuvers in the water, then drive you straight in to la Garganta del Diablo (Devils Throat). This twin engine speed boat flies up the current straight at the rapids till the engines cant get any closer.... and WE GOT SOAKED! They follow this feat by taking you for a tour of the Brazilian side and the Argentine side. The boat made a few passes at Salto San Martin (San Martin Falls) and dumped water all over us. The sight of this boat racing at the thousands of gallons of water per second was closed to the most insane things we did and it was so much fun... Plus for 90 pesos a guy in a rubber suit with a video camera wrapped in plastic caught all of it on tape for us to buy at the end of the tour (God I LOVE Latin America!!). To end the day we went out to see the point where Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina meet... Brazil is nice, Argentina is nice, and then you see Paraguay which looks like and apparently is a no-mans land of people who dislike the idea of laws and order and paved roads (That is about as close as We ever need to be to Paraguay!)

We ended the nights back at our hotel and hung out around the pool... The Town was empty except for people trying to make a dollar off some tourists and the Hotels couldn't make change for 20 pesos so we were limited on night time activities... The reason we went to Iguazu this weekend was for the Full Moon tour... and the Lunar Eclipse that was suppose to happen while we watched the falls... of course it was was clear and sunny till 5 ish when it turned cloudy every night we were there, and then there was the trenchal down pour that happened every night at 8pm!

Sunday we spent the day in the park and trekked through some of the rain forest on the Macuco Trail. The hope was that we would be able to see monkeys if we went really early in the morning, but the monkeys did not give us any love. We did see some wild boars, types of guinea pigs, and some four legged advark looking thing, plus GIANT spiders and ants an inch and half long.

The trail ended at Salto Arrecha which is a waterfall small enough to stand under and we swam in the pool bellow the fall! We have some video of us at the falls, the water was freezing but after the 7km hike Sarah was the only one who thought it was too cold!

The Bus ride back was the same as the way up... we ate, we slept, but this time we watched good movies and there was no rain! It was really nice to see the Argentine countryside, the fields of Mate (steroid tea), the finished and unfinished buildings, the randomness of the country side, and the parts that we drove through... Concrete factories, and bamboo farms (Bamboo is obviously not native here so they farm it), and the vast emptiness. In perspective its pretty much we live in D.C., New York, Lincoln Park, and L.A. all at once here in Buenos Aires, the Federal Capital. However the rest of the country is massive amount of protected land, farms, and nothing. Its truly a third world country outside of Buenos Aires; one could say its confusing because you can forget where you are when you are in the city, but outside the city all the stereotypes of Latin America come to life.


Dan had two job interviews today with English business companies that place him into corporate businesses and teach the employees how to negotiate, talk on the phone, give business presentations... all in English! Sarah has an interview with the same company tomorrow and may be able to work for a South African bank or JP Morgan Chase in Latin America!

Dan started private tutoring during the week which helps pay for groceries (we're back on a college diet of Ramen Noodles and Spaghetti and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches), he has two students and get all excited about teaching...

Sarah is looking into a volunteer group called Crecer con Amor (Grow with love) or Conviven (Living Together). Both groups are community service centers in the outskirts of town where she would help create constructive activities with the kids and teach English about 2 to 3 days a week. Dan is looking into work with HELP Argentina with creating Donation databases and work on grant writing! So things are unfolding and we are trying to keep up with all of it!

On top of all of this we are still looking for a cheaper place to live, and all of our options that we have... its just interesting cause our options are endless and we are letting ourselves be guided to where we are suppose to go. Eventually we will get there!

Tonight Dan had a private lesson tonight and Carlos (his student) brought Sarah a dozen roses. They are beautiful. Tomorrow night we have a benefit party at the Academy and Thursday night we have our orientation with HELPArgentina for volunteering. This weekend we will go on a bike tour of some neighborhoods. It's going to be a busy week but hopefully a productive week!!

We love and miss you all!!! Hope all is well back in the States!

Dan and Sarah :)
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