Iguazu Falls

7 05 2008

Since leaving Buenos Aires, the twin main objectives have been to waste some time until the Canadian weather gets its act together and realises than it’s time to be warm. And visit the Iguazu falls.

One objective is complete. The falls are well worth such a huge detour. Since we had come so far to see these falls, we visited both sides, one side being in Brazil and the other in Argentina.

iguazu1Big solitary fallsI must admit to being slightly underwhelmed at the start of the view in Brazil. We’d just had a (verbal) fight (in ‘Russian’ or Portuguese, could be either) with the Brazilian guards about having to pay for the bus service in to the park even though not using the bus. [It’s not possible to enter without buying a bus ticket as well, don’t waste your time trying.] The walkway / viewpoints in Brazil at first only allow you to see some of the waterfalls on the Argentinian side (across the river). They are impressive, but worth several thousand kms? Not really.

Garganta del DiabloNot until later do you see the Garganta del Diablo (Devil’s throat) with is a U shaped thundering wall of excitement. And then, suddenly, it is worth the visit (if you can see anything through the spray). On the Brazilian side, there is a walkway on which you can stand in the spray of the falls, and have falls almost all around you. It is huge! But this is all I liked about the Brazilian side – I prefered the Argentinian side. Lots of walkways. Lots of view points. Lots of places for Stefan to take photos (>200!). Many smaller falls (less water, same drop) amongst the trees.

Group mug shotOn top of the Garganta del Diablo you can hardly hear yourself think. A phenominal amount of water pours over the falls, and sprays all over the place in a thourougly frivolous way. A wall of white noise. I tried to encourage a boat race over the edge – bit of a waste of time, you can’t see through the spray for about half the height of the falls. How would you know who won?

After a while of watching all that water it seems a little irresponsible to lose all that energy, and not, maybe do something useful, like turn it into electricity (spot the engineer…). Luckily just up the Paraná river (maybe 30km away) is Itaipu hydroelectric station that generates a lazy 14GW. The biggest hydro plant in the world, generating essentially all of Paraguays electricity and 20% of Brazils. We went there to have a look, but they wanted to shunt us into a bus and charge us to look at the dam wall. Not go inside the generating hall or anything exciting, just look at the outside of the concrete dam. Do I look so stupid? We looked from the road – it looks like a big dam(n) wall.

The Iguasu falls looks much bigger than Niagra (turns out it is), but maybe I’ll have to just have another look at Niagra in a week or so. And then see Victoria Falls. Could be a bit harder to get to Victoria falls though… Does this mean there is another trip to Africa coming up? Hmmm.

bluey2blueyAnd a bird we saw at the falls for Kev and Steve. Sorry, no idea what this guy is called.

Let’s just say it’s Bluey from Argentina.

butterflyI wonder if Sea to Summit would like to use this one – the butterfly was a bit crazy, it was trying to lick the dry bag. I guess it is a similar colour to it’s favourite meal. I’d never seen a butterfly’s tongue before. I don’t know why I would have, but I felt I should have.

Toronto is expecting mid-teens for a few days. Warm enough to visit? I guess it will have to do. Maybe a bit better in a week. Still working on the second objective.


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