Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Iguassu to Iguazu

We flew into Iguassu Falls, Brazil and the rain started. It rarely let up until we flew out of Iguazu, Argentina two days later. The change of name is because Brazil speaks Portuguese and Argentina speaks Spanish. Our first order of business was a tour of the Itaipu Hydroelectric power plant. Its the largest in the world and was built jointly by Brazil and Paraguay in the ParanĂ¡ River. The 18 generating units supply 95% of the electric power consumed in Paraguay and 25% of the total demand in the Brazil. The scale of everything was crazy.

Before leaving to check into our hotel I posed with the robot. There were sculptures, murals and lots of trees spread over hundreds of acres at the site of the power plant. Our hotel, despite having an environmental efficient source of electricity so close, insisted on having all the lights (even the hallways) on motion sensors that would only stay on for 4 seconds. It was very strange. In the evening we went into town with Archie and Fred, two Florida guys we met earlier, and had some dinner. Our waiter who spoke perfect English, since he had lived in Detroit for 15 years, laughed when we asked what else we could do in town.

We visited the falls twice. First we crossed the border into Argentina and entered the National Park Iguazu. Originally, when we got off the plane in Iguassu the guy who picked us up asked if we were a family. We all had a good laugh at that and joked about it later. So Archie and Fred wanted to take a 'family' photo at the falls.

To get out to this point we had to take a train through the park, then walk over a series of metal docks over water. If only it hadn't been pouring rain the entire time.

Regardless of rain we would have been soaked at this point. The amount of water moving over the falls was intense.

Snakes!? This sign was placed at the entrance to the jungle from the dock walkway. At this point we took a boat ride up a part of the river, under some of the falls. Everyone was screaming. This was my favorite part of the visit to the falls. It wasn't Christina's, as you can see from the photo once the ride was done. This picture is entitled: defeated, cold, wet, crabby.

After 6 hours out in the cold and rain we had a buffet lunch in the park's restaurant La Selva. It was one of the best meals we had the entire trip (a wonderful surprise, especially since we were still soaking wet). In the evening we laid out everything we had with us during the day to dry and stuffed countless newspapers in our shoes.

Early the next morning we crossed the Iguacu River to view the falls from the Brazilian side. Rather than being directly on top of the falls you get a better view from further back. Again, the scale of things was just amazing.

After the falls we visited a bird zoo called Parque das Aves. All I can say is we saw lots and lots of birds. Despite taking 30-40 photos I just couldn't get a good shot of any hummingbirds. Above is a Paraguayan hammock merchant along the side of the road. It seemed people from Paraguay crossed the border to sell their goods to the wealthier Brazilian and Argentinian folks (and tourists). Unfortunately, one of these hammocks wasn't going to fit in our bags.

No comments: