Lord, I must get out of Brazil. It´s so huge, a fact that is impossible to appreciate unless you spent the better part of two months trying to get around the country. It reminds me of my summer after university when I took a train across Canada. definitely the long way around. I was woken up and kicked off the bus with everyone else first thing in the morning. My bus had left Cuiaba at 5am the previous day but I´d been thrilled to find a straight bus to Iguazu. I decided to head straight to the the Brazilian side of the falls. The tourist information at the bus station was excellent and they informed me that there were lockers at the falls where I could store my bags while I took in Iguazu Falls. The falls are shaped like a giant horseshoe with the Brazil side giving a view from within the horse shoe. There´s a train that takes you into the main area and a one kilometer path which lets you walk along and see the falls. At the end is a large extended platform and an elevator up and out. The whole thing only took about an hour but was lovely none the less.
I left the falls and took a bus back into the Brazilian town of Foz to Iguazu where I would wait for a bus to the Argentinean side, Puerto Iguazu. I met an Israeli girl at the bus stop named Shar who had just split from her original travel companions. We took the bus into Argentina together and both got off to perform customs at the border. She didn´t have her original Brazil entry form and they charged her $85 which they said she would have to pay if she ever entered Brazil again. Woo, she was pissed. I couldn´t find my form but when I opened my wallet containing all my papers, the official pointed at a little green form tucked away at the bottom and said that that´s what he wanted. Man, whatever makes you happy. There are about 50 hostels scattered around the bus station on the Argentinian side. We picked the closet one and almost cried when we found out that there was hot water in the bathrooms. 2 months, no hot water. I can´t even describe how my skin feels at the moment. We walked into town to get some dinner at Argentinian prices, Hallelujah, before I headed off to bed. Shar was somewhat freaking out because her bank card wasn´t working but she waited up until the banks in Israel opened and somehow got it all figured out.
Up early to head out to the Argentinean falls. What a difference. While the Brazilian side shows you the whole kit and caboodle from a single path, the Argentinian side is made of lower and upper circuits, boat rides and and full on intimate view of the Devil´s Throat, one of the most powerful, works of nature I´ve ever seen. I took a quick boat ride under the falls which was fun and very wet before heading over to a small island in the center with Shar the check out some closeup views. I´m so glad we decided to do the Devil´s Throat last, the opposite of all the tour groups. The train that took us out there was only about half full so the lookout was nearly empty. The falls come from very far out and kind of constrict themselves into a small little horseshoe which make the water absolutely roar down at they particular point. A really amazing site that I just couldn´t do justice with pictures.
We spent about an hour after that gorging ourselves at the buffet lunch near the entrance to the falls. We´d left lunch tooo long and were positively starving. Luckily we were planning on a 3 hour hike after wards along the Mocoto Trail which was nice and peaceful, hardly any tourists. The trail ends at a small waterfall and a little pool before you retrace your steps back to the main road. We talked a lot about our lives back home. After 8 hours of walking, we headed back to the hostel. Shar almost fell asleep on the bus but somehow got energized to head out to see the town that night. Not much to it though. I couldn´t help thinking about how quickly strangers become temporary friends when you´re on the road. Shoot, I´d know the girl for about 2 hours before we started talking in terms of ´we should go here´and ´what time should we go for dinner´.
Nice relaxing final day. We made it down to a small look out where you can see both Paraguay and Brazil while keeping your feet firmly planted in Argentina. Pretty cool. Some tour buses showed up and we booked it out of there to avoid too much of a mob scene. We only had about an hour to get ourselves together before climbing onto our bus for Buenos Aires.Why am I going back to B.A.? Well, frankly I loved it there and I have a list of housekeeping chore to get through over the next few days including laundry, taxes and mailing a few things home. The fact that I´ll be able to have a few steaks in the meantime is merely an afterthought, really!