A LOT of water
Trip Start Aug 30, 2009
30Trip End Mar 01, 2010
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The check in staff at El Calafate had very kindly already handed them their boarding passes for the next day when they checked in at El Calafate, however, they didn't notice until the night before their flight when Nadine took a closer look that their flight number and time were different from their original booking. "Look Duncan, I have checked on-line and apparently our flight number is for a flight on September 27th 2009, how very odd! Ah well, let's just go to the airport a little bit earlier and figure it out there". "That is an excellent idea, I am very glad I have got such a clever wife" Duncan replied with a happy smile.
So this was how, the next morning, they once again they joined the busy throng of crazy taxis on Avenida 9 de Julio heading to the airport in Buenos Aires to fly to Puerto de Iguazu. When they arrived to check their luggage for the original flight the lady at the check-in desk looked at them as if they are a pair of idiots and said "You didn't confirm on-line so we have put you on a different flight." Nadine considered arguing this point with her since they were signs all over the airline's office announcing that one didn't need to confirm the flight on-line but decided it was a better use of time to go for a big breakfast and said so to Duncan. "That is a great idea, let's do that" Duncan replied.
When they arrived a few hours later to a very tropical climate in Puerto de Iguazu Duncan excitedly exclaimed: "Hard to believe we were wondering around the snow only just yesterday!". It seemed that it was his lucky day when, a few minutes later, they were about to get drenched in their first tropical rain and Duncan, even more excitedly than just a few moments ago, exclaimed: "Hey, we can use those rain ponchos I have been carrying around with me for the last three months! I knew they would come in handy! Oh, and this rain is also a jolly good opportunity to see how the waterproof camera bag will perform, let's try it out now!". Nadine obediently put her rain poncho on and posed while Duncan started trying out their camera in the new waterproof bag.
"I guess we won't make it over to the Brazilian side of the falls today." Nadine said as she watched Duncan busying himself with his new and old toys. "In that case I might as well try out the tiny pool at the back of this hostel." Duncan suddenly started nodding excitedly and said "Yes, do that and I can take pictures of you swimming in the tropical rain with with the waterproof bag!"
After the excitement of their first tropical rain they had to take care of the more mundane tasks and checked into their hostel where Duncan matter-of-factly observed: "I think this may quite possibly be by far the worst hostel we have stayed in on our entire trip so far. The mattress seems to be virtually non-existent, there are no windows we can open and there seems to be more mould than tiles in that bathroom." After a small pause Duncan slyly suggested to Nadine "I think the best way to cope with this is to have so many Quilmes tonight that we simply won't notice how awful it is." Nadine gave this some thought and replied, as she watched the other backpackers follow a very similar strategy in the backyard cum bar cum kitchen area of the hostel, "You know what, I don't think that is actually not a bad plan you have got there."
The following day they got up at 7am to go to the big falls in the Iguazu National Park as had been arranged and agreed with some fellow travellers, Sebastian, Lars and Chris, whom they had met the previous night.
As the little group, this time the vast majority of them German native speakers, which made Nadine very happy, walked along the path to the Garganta del Diablo (Devil's Throat) it started to drizzle slightly. "Oh, oh, we better get those rain ponchos out" Duncan said and so they did even though Nadine tried to protest that it wasn't properly raining yet. A few moments later it started pouring it down like they had never seen rain come down in their lives and didn't stop for another four hours. Sebastian, Lars and Chris simply walked around, drenched and dripping, in their shirts and shorts that are also suitable for swimming, clever Germans they were. Duncan and Nadine simply toughed it out by looking fabulous in their rain ponchos and taking pictures and videos through the waterproof camera bag, gleefully watching all the other tourists having to keep their cameras in their bags to protect them from the torrential downpour.
Having duly admired the awe inspiring water masses at the Garganta del Diablo and taken the obligatory photos in front of the misty water masses, the group went on to have a quick bite to eat before their fairly uneventful drive through the rain forest after which they embarked on the boat trip that would take them to and literally into some of the other, slightly smaller waterfalls. It seemed that Duncan was almost more excited about being able to take videos in his waterproof bag when they were literally underneath the waterfall than the waterfall itself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6N5Zl-XMgo
After another few hours wandering around the National Park, admiring the waterfalls and taking countless pictures it was suggested that the group could head back to the Garganta del Diablo again as it had stopped raining by this point and that they might actually be able to see the fall now. They managed to catch the very last tram that took them to the waterfall at the edge of the park and they were all especially pleased with themselves when they found the viewing platform completely deserted and took some more pictures since they could actually see the waterfalls this time around.
More than twelve hours after the group had departed from their hostel they returned, happy and exhausted, with about five hundred more pictures each than they had previously.
The following morning they all had half a day before they all had to head onward on their respective ways and the same little group decided that a trip across the Brazilian border to the Itaipu dam, the largest operational hydroelectric power plant in the world, would be a good use of time.They ordered a cab big enough for five people. A few minutes later an ordinarily sized cab turned up with the driver insisting that it would be fine to cross both the Argentinian border's and Brazilian border's check points without too much of a chance of being arrested so four Germans and one Brit proceeded to pile into the cab and went off towards the Brazilian border. Luckily the cab driver was right and they didn't really get noticed other than a few raised eyebrows by the border officials.
They successfully reached the dam and purchased their tickets for a tour of the plant only to discover when they tried to get on to the bus that it had literally just left, despite the phone call the clerk at the front desk had made in front of their eyes to make sure they could get on it, and that there wouldn't be another tour for another two hours. "This is outrageous!", "This is unacceptablel!" and "Schweinehunde" were some of the things that were exclaimed by various members of the group at that point and they had to very begrudgingly admit defeat and once again pile into that cab to head back to Argentina. One the way back, Sebastian and Chris decided that a tour of the Itaipu museum would be better than nothing having come all this way while Duncan, Lars and Nadine thought sitting in the Brazilian sun for a few minutes would be a better use of time.
Everyone safely returned to their hostel and went on their respective onward routes with Duncan and Nadine heading to the airport to go back to Buenos Aires for their very last night in the city they have come to love so much over the last few weeks.
They, rather aptly, spent their last night drinking some red wine and having their last Argentinian steak with some friends they had met at the Spanish school, Tom, Emilie and Raph, and finished the night off with a few rounds of pool in Palermo before they had to the airport a mere four hours later to catch their flights to Chile.