jueves, 7 de febrero de 2013

Iguazu/çu Falls: Brazil vs. Argentina

Yup, still here in Foz de Iguaçu, Brasil-in a few short hours we´ll be hoping on a 16 hour bus back to Sao Paolo, ouch.  On the 4th we went to Iguaçu Falls on the Brazilian side.  We paid (a bit too much) to go onto a pontoon boat that took us up the Iguaçu River for a close and wet look at the falls.  It was spectacular from this vantage point, and that was only the beginning.  After getting drenched and hoping our zip-lock bag holding our cameras didn´t leak, we began the walking course of views along the Brazilian edge of the Falls.  It is huge.  You see smaller waterfalls with giant neighbors, most dropping at least 250 feet, the roar is constant as you explore this area.  The finale, at the end of the path is a cat walk that juts out into the river and brings you right to the edge with views over to Argentina and the famous Garganta del Diablo (Devil´s Throat) drop, which is the highest at 269 ft (check the wiki link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iguazu_Falls) for an even better description. 
Two days later I went alone to the Argentinian side of the falls (my friend would have had to pay the entrance visa, just for one day in the country, I luckily have my German passport).  The views here were different, and also spectacular.  On the Argentinian side you are able to walk around the park further distances to see the various views of the falls.  There are more possible angles here, and the grand finale, the Devil´s Throat view point is phenomenal.   Here you are slightly above the drop point and can see up close the immense amount of water rushing over the edge.  At first it gave me slight vertigo to have this view, and I felt a bit light headed as I peered over the guard rail.  At this spot you are getting quite wet from the spray. 
I always find it worthwhile to visit these natural wonders of the world, but it must be said that at the height of summer vacation (in S.A) there were throngs of people taking photos, kids screeching and the like.  It can take away from the natural beauty of the place you are visiting.  This feeling of crowds, heat and sun were more pronounced on the Argentinian side, despite the fact there were more paths to walk on-the Brazilian side was a bit more tranquil.  On both however, there were people trying to feed the local (but wild) Quatis- which resemble racoons-and can be equally as vicious.  Although you are surrounded by natural beauty you are also surrounded by fast food stops and gimmicky and expensive extra attractions.  The paths you walk on are paved and fenced.  That is the price of making a natural place an attraction-but yes, we want to see it, and hopefully it works to create appreciation of such natural wonders.
Next up: Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro-two of the Cidades Maravilhosas (Marvelous Cities) famous in Brazil.  We will experience Carnival which officially begins on the 8th, and all the fun and color that has to offer.  Stay tuned!