Arrival at Iguazu marked the end of our Brazilian adventure and the beginning of the next leg of our trip. By this point we were both ready to leave Brazil and experience a new culture; the one thing we won’t miss is the general rudeness of the waiters in most places we ate in Brazil. Most of them acted as if they were doing us a favour by serving us and to add to insult they charge you a compulsory 10-15 % service charge on top!
Iguazu sits between the boarders of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay in a large national park. The respective towns are interesting places to be in their own right, since you can easily hop on a bus and be in a different country within minutes, making it a fascinating place to observe the many differences between the countries.
Upon arrival in Argentina we instantly felt the difference in the people, with the first most striking being the fact that they actually had a recognisable look and features. Given the history of immigration and the slave trade that built Brazil, It is near impossible to put your finger on a typical Brazilian look even outside of the main cities. Another key difference was the fact that people serve you with a smile and are the most outwardly friendly people, often having a joke before actually getting to the point of a conversation ( although in my case it is usually at my expense given my appalling Spanish!)
The main reason for being in these towns however is to do daily treks to the falls. We had one day viewing the Brazilian side before crossing over the border to view them from the Argentine side.
The falls are quite simply a natural wonder of the world and as usual, it is best for me to allow the pictures to speak for themselves. The one thing I will mention is that the Brazilian side has better panoramic views whereas the Argentine side allows you to get under the actual falls; you will notice however, that I am not in any of the pictures on the Brazilian side!
This is because I spent that magical day pretty much on my own; a result of an acrimonious falling out with my photographer. I wouldn’t normally publicly go into any further detail at this point, however given the cultural theme of this particular post and the fact that I can now see the funny side post the rage phase I think it’s worth a little mention.
Much like the differences between the Cariocas and Paulistas there is definitely a clear difference in our approaches to the travels. As you probably would have thought, Andre tends to have a more Germanic approach to things (being hugely organised etc etc) with myself favouring the more ‘romantic’ mediterranean approach ( aka not organised, fairly lazy with the simple excuse of “enjoying the moment” rather than thinking of the next). Truth be told I think the difference works quite well; I wouldn’t have seen half the things I have if not for this producer project managing me, however this one particular morning was just too much to take.
The only one main drawback to these amazing falls are the fact that they are on every travellers itinerary, making them hugely touristy. It’s for this reason that we both agreed to get there early to avoid the crowds particularly since it was also a public holiday in Brazil that day.
As usual Andre was up at 6am playing around on the Internet before the rest of the hostel were alive for breakfast which starts at 8..to cut along story short I was ready by 8.30 to leave but clearly I held us up too much which resulted in us arriving at the park at about ten…a hole hour after it opened.
The main attractions in the park can be seen within two hours so a full day on either side is plenty of time, however similar to the classic story of the Germans laying the towels at the pools side the night before, deep down Andre wanted to get there for 8.50 to be sure he was first in the queue!
Whilst there were a few coaches of tourists it really wasn’t that bad so I couldn’t see the need to sulk, however I had been prepared to simply grin and bear the mood. To help lighten things a little I thought I would stroke his ego and ask whether they were the biggest waterfalls in the world or whether Victoria falls were bigger ( since he would have been on Wikipedia looking it up that morning he normally quite likes to play the teacher).
This next argument is a classic for those of you who have ever worked with ‘tha Germanns’…obviously to Andre this was the most retarded question to ask because he couldn’t possibly give an answer, since I hadn’t really defined the metrics by which I was measuring the falls by; was it volume of water, hight, width…length.
To be honest I couldn’t have cared less but by this point I had just about as much as i could take so decided to explain exactly how much of a pedantic arse I thought he was…which you can imagine was an amusing scene in what’s suppose to be a magical part of the world.
Thankfully we met a really cool fellow traveller the next day (Carla) which meant we had to be on our best behaviour and forget all about it 🙂
The National Park also has a host of different animals, initially our favourites were these racoon type things that seemed very friendly (I can´t quite remember the name of them but I am sure if you ask Andre he will of course know having studied them at some point!). We soon turned to hate these things since they got very vicious around food so became more of a pain.
Another pain were the venomous mosquitos that I am still scratching two weeks later! To be fair the reason I got stung so bad was because Carla and Andre developed a little game throughout the day on what can we make stupid Gary do whilst we take pictures. One of the things was to do an artistic jumping picture with the hundreds of butterflies that were weirdly congregating all in one place.
enthusiastically I jumped at the chance only to realise the grass was in fact a mud pit where they drank along with hundreds of the bastard mosquitos!