! Anyway they gave me a terrible hangover for the day that we visited the Argentine side of the falls, but enough of that for now, we visited the Brazilian side of the falls first, you have to take a bus to reach them, and then queue and then take another bus to actually reach the waterfalls themselves. We paid the entrace fee, quite unfairly foreign tourists pay the most, locals pay next to nothing, Brazilians pay a little bit more, Argentines and Uruguayans pay a little bit more than them, and then foreign tourists, like us, pay the full whack. You go down in an esclator to reach the bottom of the falls, it is absolutely breaktaking, you can feel the spray on your face especially as the park has constructed a concrete walkway out into the middle of the river, by the time you walk back you are quite wet, compared with the falls that we saw in Thailand and Laos, these falls are massive.
Obviously we are having a bit of difficulty with the langauge here in Brazil, we cannot say a word of Portuguese except for hello, goodbye, thank you etc, so we are very limited compared to the good progress we had made with speaking Spanish, we have found that if you actually speak Spanish, Portuguese people can kind of understand you but it is not ideal, and a little frustating at times. So I mentioned our problem with being given only 40 days entrance to Brazil in the last blog,after having Daniella spoke to the hostel and their driver, we decided to get stamped out of Brazil and back into Argentina to see if we would have more luck a second time
! Anyway we were going to see the Argentine side of the falls anyway. It was an early start, and I was not feeling great after having some caipirinhas and beers around the pool the night before, Daniella being wise as usual had gone to bed earlier but true to form I did not listen to her and carried on anyway. So our bus driver was a really fun guy, he made everybdy laugh and he was so kind to us, going out of his way to help with the immigration, we crossed over a bridge across the river Iguazu and back into Argentina for the fourth time on this trip, then made our way to the falls, the twn on the Argentine side is much less developed than Foz on the Brazilian side and in general, we bothe found that the Argentine falls had a less commerial feel, thats not to say that they were not expensive, again for foreigners, the entrance fee was about 50 pesos, or 12 pounds each. The layout and organisation of the Argentine side was better in my opinion, they have built this little train that takes you down to the entrance to the pathway to the falls, from where there are many trails through the countryside, from where you can look at all the various different waterfalls, on the way across the pathway (they built a walkway over the river to get to the Devils throat viewpoint, which is the piece de la resistance of the Argentine side) on the way you can see tropical birds in the trees, terrapins and tropical fish in the river and also a crocodile basking peacefully not being disturbed by the hundreds of tourists gawping at him
. When you actually reach the falls, well it is difficult to describe in words how amazing it is , truely breathtaking, it made the Brazilian falls look like nothing, just the sheer quantity of water that cascades over the falls creates a white foggy mist that make it difficult to see the bottom of the falls, the noise is tremondous, just wait until we put the photos on here, there were loads of butterflies flying around, all with amazingly coloured wings, it is truely a tropical paradise. After the falls themselves we spent the rest of the day wandering the various trails and spotting various tropical creatures who live in the park, they have these little animals called coatis, the size of a raccoon, they swarm among the tourists clamouring for food, unfortunately there were some stupid people who obviously could not read the DO NOT FEED signs, so these little creatures are becoming less and less timid in their search for food.
Oh, I forgot to mention, after having visited the Brazilian side of the falls, while Daniella went home to the hostel, I visited the Bird Park, where they have all sorts of tropical birds in a rainforest like environment, I was truely amazed and really enjoyed my visit here, I saw the most beautifully coloured macaws (these are surprsingly large and you have to be careful as they may bite), flamingoes, but for me the highight was the toucans, these birds have a small black body and an out of proportion large orange and yellow beak, the colours of the beak are so vivid they almost seem unreal, or like they have been coloured in with a felt tip pen. It was so great to get up close to all these birds they literally are all around you as you stroll through the enclosures. Check out the soon to be uploaded photos.
So after a long day of walking around the Argentine side, we were truely exhausted , and the temperature was well in excess of 90 degrees that day, as well as being incredibly humid, we were keen to board the bus and reach the border to try and get a stay of 90 days
. When we handed our passports over to the Brazilian immigration admin guy and said that we wanted 90 days ( noventa dias por favor something like that) he gave us a look to say " you're asking for a lot" , then he went over to speak to the federal police officer who was in charge, he flicked through our passports at his desk and then came over and asked if we could speak Spanish, then asked us a few questions abut what we would do in Brazil and where we would visit, obviously satisfied with our answers and convinced that we were not going to work in Brasil, he gave us the 90 days, nice one!!!
Having booked our bus ticket to Florianopolis and ticked off the Argentine and Brazilian side of the falls off our list, it was time to make a move and carry on with our journey to the rest of Brazil.
Our hostel is out of the actual town of Foz De Iguacu, it is about 12km along the road, that lead to the cataratas (or waterfalls), from the main road it is another 2km away down a country lane, the hostel did offer a shuttle bus service but it is a bit isolated, but the setting is really good, out in the countryside and nice and peaceful setting, the hostel is a bit like a holiday resort, there is a good sized swimming pool and a floodlit football pitch, around the pool, there was a cafe/bar area, where you could buy food, this was our first introduction to Brazilian cuisine, you could have : beef with salad, chips, rice and beans or chicken with salad, chips, rice and beans. The food was a bit plain, but you could not say that it was not filling! They also served our first Brazilian caipirnihas of the trip: this is the national drink of Brazil : it is made with a sugarcane alcohol called cachaca, together with crushed ice, limes and sugar. They are very drinkable, but becuase of the amount of sugar put into them, they are not very healthy