Friday, April 11, 2008
We didn't have to wake up too early, since our pickup time was not until 10:30am. We did have to pack, however, since we went to sleep without packing the night before. There was no time for breakfast, however, so we just waited in the lobby for our driver. We were a little curious why so late, since our flight was scheduled to depart at 11:55. There was a moment of anxiety when he was looking for Marcelo (who we knew wasn't coming), but wouldn't take our word for it. We were petrified he was just going to sit around waiting for someone who wasn't coming. He also spoke not a word of English, and our Spanish - while better than last time - is not very good. The drive to the airport was rather short - its hidden along the riverbank right near Palermo.
Check in at LAN was a piece of cake - thankfully we didn't have to take Aerolineas (the Argentine airline that we tried to avoid at all costs). Since we hadn't eaten, we got some chocolate-covered dulce de leche cookies, which gave us our sugar for the month (perhaps literally). They were way too sweet, and a Coke (which may as well have been vinegar by comparison) helped out only a little. To compound matters, the only food on the plane was the exact same thing, which Crystal for some reason ate again. Amazingly, her stomach did not feel so good.
The first news we received in Iguazu was not good news. Apparently there was some sort of strike going on, and the long and the short of it was that we could get to our hotel, and to the Argentine side of the falls, but not to Brazil. Eventually we discerned the strike was not on the Brazilian side of the border - as we first understood - but rather between the park boundary and the Argentine town of Iguazu. We also heard that while the weather today was good, tomorrow it was supposed to rain. So in short, we should plan to do everything we can today, and see what happens tomorrow. We also heard that our flight accommodations might have to change, since we presently couldn't get to the Brazilian airport. We decided to wait on worrying, and just enjoy the day.
The view from our hotel room was amazing, with a panoramic view of the main part of the falls, the Devil's Throat. We quickly changed and put on bug spray, then went on our way with Anibal. We hadn't had time for lunch, and we also didn't know exactly how hot it would be, and we had no water. So we were hungry and thirsty the entire afternoon.
That said, the falls were amazing. We started at the Devil's Throat, taking a train up to a catwalk path (a new one, the old one was washed out) leading right up to the falls. On the way we saw a caiman just lounging around. We could get much closer than at Victoria Falls, because there was no huge gorge between the falls and the dry viewing area. The falls also were not one big sheet like Victoria Falls, but more horseshoe shaped, giving many more viewing angles. Some of the better shots included:
After the Devil's Throat, we took the train back to near the hotel. As we were leaving we saw an interesting butterfly that had an "88" on its wings. Back near the hotel, we did the Upper Circuit, basically walking along the top of the falls on the Argentine side. There are hundreds of individual falls, with islands between all of them, and catwalks going over the water. From these islands and catwalks, there are hundreds of viewing angles, panoramic and up close, of the Brazilian side, Argentine side, high and low - basically anything you could think of. After doing the Upper Circuit, we did the Lower Circuit, which gets you very up close and personal to some portions of the falls. By this time Crystal wanted to hop in the falls, for water if nothing else, and couldn't enjoy it as much as she should have. Justin got lots of photos and videos before we headed back to the hotel, including:
We immediately went to the bar - water first this time - and watched the sun go down over the falls and the lightning show begin. We had a mediocre dinner (hotel bar food), and went up to sleep, wondering what the next day would hold.