Niagara on Viagra

Trip Start Oct 29, 2003
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Saturday, May 19, 2007

Sporting New Haircut under New Hat and wallet-less trousers I left the humongous bus terminal at Buenos Aires - 70 platforms, 200 thieving-scum artful dodgers - for the overnight bus to the waterfalls at Puerto Iguaz˙. Fortunately we managed to get the last two seats on the cama bus and after my second champagne-like sparkling beverage I was out and slept pretty much uninterrupted whereas Wendy had no such luck. Maybe I'm just getting used to it.

The falls are set in sub-tropical rainforest on the border of Brazil and Argentina (and nearly Paraguay) and are formed by the mighty Rio Paranß falling over a series of steep cliffs. Being much further north we were expecting much warmer weather but we warrived in torrential rain making it quite cold. We found our hostel and I was just about to jump in the shower when I noticed the roof began to sag, then drip, then nearly collapse as water came gushing in. This was not the type of waterfalls I had expected to see but fortunately our bags were spared and we waded through about three inches of water to get to our new upgraded room.

The next day was still overcast and chilly (and nearly Brazil!) as we took the public bus to the Parque Nacional Iguaz˙. Here we walked along excellent trails both above and below the falls and because of the recent downpours the amount of water falling was astonishing. Soon enough we were soaked through from the mist and spray. Unfortunately we didn't see many butterflies because of the rain showers, but we did see a few toucans flying around and even a capuchin monkey. The Garganta del Diablo (The Devil's Throat) was the biggest fall and we walked out on a long catwalk to the edge - not that we could see much due to the spray - but the noise was literally breathtaking. As we were already soaked we then did the obvious: took a speedboat trip up to and under the falls. Fantastic stuff.

The next day we took another public bus over the border to see a more panoramic view of the falls from the Brazilian side. Nine months' previous there had been maybe enough water for six or seven big falls and today there was a constant sheet of water stretching over 2km. When Eleanor Roosevelt visited these falls she exclaimed "Poor Niagara!" and I couldn't agree more. I think they are also better than Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe but probably because I got lucky with the sheer amount of water (and also there weren't hungry shoeless locals asking for the clothes off my back). Hopefully the photos and videos do it some justice.

Time to dry off and head out to the Andean plains out west. Hasta luega, muchachos!
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