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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars

 

Brazil - 2 February, 2002

 

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Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Campsite, Youth Hostel, Foz do Iguacu S2535.946' W05431.486' 208 m
Parque Nacional do Iguacu . . . 8 km
-  Tour the falls by bus and on foot . . . 35 km (by double-decker bus and on foot)
-  Helicopter ride over falls . . . 50 km (by helicopter)
Foz do Iguazu . . . .
Campsite, Youth Hostel, Foz do Iguacu S2535.946' W05431.486' 208 m 37 km
Parque Nacional do Iguacu . . . .
Finish Campsite, Youth Hostel, Foz do Iguacu S2535.946' W05431.486' 208 m .

Leg 2 Total:

10,285 km

Leg 1 Total:

9,010 km

Galapagos:

771 km

Grand Total:

20,066 km

 

Weather: Clear, sunny, hot and humid.

 

 

We wake up to a glorious day - yesterday's clouds and rain have cleared to yield a bright blue sky with a hot sun.  We are ready and excited to go visit the falls from the Brazil side.  We head of a bit late at 9 AM and reach the park gates just on 9:30 AM. Once in the park, we have to hop on a double-decker bus to take us the 15 km or so to the falls itself.  It is a good system - it keeps the traffic out of the park itself.

 

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We get off at the world famous Hotel das Cataratas, where we will start our walking tour.   There is a cliff side path that we take to view the falls.  It is said that Argentina puts on the show that Brazil charges for.  And this does seem to be the case.  There are lots of tourists here, that have come to get an excellent view of the falls across the gorge.  But if you want to get close to the action, you have to go to the Argentina side.

 

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It is a very nice walk along the cliff wall.  We get a number of different views, but none of them up close until we get towards the end of the walk.  Here part of the falls thunder over cliffs on the Brazil side and the cat walk goes out on the middle level, so you have falls behind you and below you.  The catwalk goes right up to and over the edge of the falls, so it is quite an experience.  We get drenched.  Lars has so much fun that he has to go out for a second time.

 

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We then reach the elevator, just on the edge of the falls where we can get face-to-face with the wall of water just passing by meters away.  We decide to walk up rather than take the elevator.  At the top of the cliff, the buses are waiting.  We decide to go ahead and take one of the buses back to the hotel, where we get off.  We go there to ask if it will be possible to go there tonight for a drink and to see the falls at night (and possibly in the moon light).  They say it is possible, so we consider doing that.  We then catch a bus back to the park entrance.

 

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At the park entrance, we arrive late (we had told the driver that we might be late, as we wanted to spend more time at the falls) and walk the 100 meters to the bird park to meet up with the truck.  Once there, we check out the helicopter flights over the falls.  In the end, we decide to go, even though it is not cheap.  There is some confusion on the ordering of the passengers and whether or not we can go as there is limited time and despite two of the drivers going ahead of us, we are still able to get a flight in and have lots of time to spare.

 

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It is an awesome flight.  We take a number of passes over the falls and get to really see how massive they are.  They cover a huge area and the volume of water is tremendous.  The view from the sky is impressive.  At times the helicopter banked on its side and took sharp turns and twists.  It was worth it.

 

After the helicopter ride, we hung around for a while waiting for the rest to finish their tour of the bird park.  Once we are all back on the truck, we head into town.  It is our turn to cook, so we spend most of our time in the supermarket shopping for group food.  We have some time to spare, but we are so far out of town that we give up after a while and turn back.  In the end, we have to wait while the truck is washed.

 

Once back at the camp, we take it easy and work on our journals.  After dinner, we wash up and then get ready to head back to the falls.  We call for a taxi, which takes four us to the Hotel das Cataratas.  At the park gate, we just tell him that we are having dinner at the hotel, and they let us through.  Once at the hotel, we have a drink in the bar.  This turns out to be quite a laugh.

 

Just as we sit down at our table on the terrace, we hear the old lady next to us demand for a waiter.  The waiter comes over she begins to loudly complain to him about some lady serving her friend.  We are a bit confused, so we are not surprised when the waiter has no clue what she is saying very quickly in English.  He gets the head waiter, who also cannot figure out her problem, so they go off and get the duty manager.

 

In the end, we discover that this old English (some thought American) lady (and here we begin to use that term loosely), is very upset at the fact that what appears to be a working lady is soliciting a man in the bar in the otherwise empty bar.  Her dress is a bit skimpy, but by Brazilian and Argentinean standards, it is actually quite modest (we often see people in bars and restaurants with just bikini tops, etc).  There is some physical contact, but the locals also tend not to shy away from public displays of affection.  What gets us upset, is when she refers to the lady as a second class citizen and demands to know how she can be allowed in the bar. She also complains that the children running around (there is a wedding dinner going on) will be corrupted - but the children seem to take no notice.  This goes on for a while and the lady even says to the manager to sit down, and she arranges their chairs so that they could both watch the couple through the window.  She also says that she has been traveling a lot all over the world in her many years, and this is one of the most awful things she has ever seen!! This goes on for a while and the manager says that they are all paying customers, so there is not much he can do.  Finally, he says to her that if she is unhappy with what she is seeing, maybe she should return to her room, and the lady takes up the suggestion.  Well handled and we are happy to see her go.

 

The next show is watching the bride throw the bouquet of flowers out to all the maidens.  The maidens line up on the lawn, jostling for position (and there is some rough pushing) and then the bride throws the flowers, or rather pretends to throw them.  Nice sense of humor - it was like watching someone tease a dog with a piece of steak.  In the end, she threw it and it was like a rugby scrum.  The maidens were all over themselves with rose petals billowing out from them.  The bouquet had lost some of its splendor in the fight for it.

 

We than head down to the viewing platform to have a look at the falls in the dark.  We are waiting for the waning moon to rise and to light up the white water.  While it is not perfect (a full moon would have been wonderful), we have a great time watching and listening to the roar of the water while drinking a bottle of wine.  We can see the glow of the white water rushing over the cliffs.  It is magical out there and we wonder why more people do not enjoy this show that nature is putting on for us.

 

A bit after 1 Am we head back to the campsite.  When we get there, there is a huge party going on, so we decide to join it.  It is a pre-carnival party, so people are wearing masks and having a bit of a wild time.  Some are being thrown into the pool and others are joining them.  We get to bed just before 4 AM.

 

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