The Magnificent Iguazu Falls
Trip Start Apr 17, 2001
284Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
Puerto Canoas Hostal
As we walked along the narrow mesh-metal catwalk the eager photophile stopped to take yet another shot. Then, to get back into some ambiguous position in our plodding line, she'd rush up, passing us, harassing others. Twice she kicked my ankle on her brusque way by, once she clipped the back of my knee, a flagrant foul in both the NHL and NFL.
After about eight annoying path interruptions I said to Ellen, "When I say now, take a step to your right."
Ellen who usually finds it easier to simply go along with my peculiar requests simply nodded.
Moments later I heard the charge from behind. I waited until the time was right and issued the three letter command. As Ellen stepped to her right I stepped to my left. Sandwich!
Ellen, my unwitting assailant seemed as shocked as the woman with the camera as the crunch occurred.
"Excuse me," I said, with an oh so sorry look on my face, we're from Canada, where body checking is legal."
The woman had no idea what I was saying, but stayed well back until we reached the Throat of the Devil.
Iguazu Falls, where the borders of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay meet has two-hundred and seventy-five cascades. Barrel or no barrel, no one has ever gone over any of them and survived. The collective length of the falls is 2.7 kilometers. The highest is 82 meters. By comparison Niagara is 53. I tried to compare the two by volume of water displacement, but the mathematics made my head ache. The Devil's Throat which separates Argentina and Brazil discharges mist 300 meters into the air. It's the highest and meanest of the group, like a small atomic device in perpetual explosion. When I first cast my eyes on it, I was absolutely freaking terrified. Then I became almost hypnotized by it. Watching it for more than a minute made me cross-eyed. Apparently every year there are a number of suicides near the Devil. The calling could be just too powerful, I expect, for those with the need.
Upon seeing the Devil, Eleanor Roosevelt, of stronger mind than I, said simply, "Poor Niagara."
The folks at Iguazu National Park have built around six, perhaps more, kilometers of sturdy mesh-metal catwalk, with safety railings, through the jungle setting. Many of them leading you right to the brink, where you'll get a right good soaking.
If I had a dollar for every piece of expensive jungle-wear that I've seen at Iguazu, I'd be a very rich man. Pants with pockets that have pockets hidden within pockets; shirts that may ward off jaguars, wild butterflys and who knows what else; and hats that when eaten by elephants can be pooped out in wear ready condition. It all reminds me of the pet rock. For me, I'll stick with army surplus. If it's good enough for the soldiers in Afghanistan, it's good enough for me.
Ellen expects the penguins of Patagonia to be the highlight of her trip to Argentina. I'm pretty sure that mine has already been forever etched in my mind.