Sunday, September 5, 2010

Catching Up: March/April

Once again I find myself behind in catching up, let alone blogging along. So once again, it's mostly pictures and captions today. On Easter weekend, Belu and I headed north to Misiones to visit the famous Iguazu Falls. Despite being ridiculously crowded, it did not disappoint. Here are the photos! Click on any to embiggen (many are worth the click!).

The day we arrived, our first excursion was on the Rios Paraná, and Iguazu, the rivers that divide Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil. An easygoing journey with really lousy pizza.

The only real destination of this river journey was pretty darn heartbreaking. The boat stopped near a sandy embankment and some natives played primitive music and danced. It was a meager show for the tourists. Belu and I would have rather just not seen it. All these people were watching and taking pictures, and clapped politely when it was over, but the whole thing just had a freakshow feel to it.

At least the ride home was peaceful. We talked with one of the boat's workers as the sun set behind the trees. Well, Belu talked to him. I did my best to understand his accent.

OK, enough river cruises. THIS is what we came for. The view from above La Garganta del Diablo (Devil's Throat).

Me and Bels above La Garganta. No water pours on you here, but everyone gets a fresh shower every time the wind picks up.

So we jumped in a boat and cruised around the river. But this time we had a real purpose. We're going to follow that boat in front of us - right under the falls.

The boat after ours. I don't believe the boat actually went directly under the water flow, but I have never been more wet in my life - even that Stevie Wonder concert in Detroit was a desert compared to this.

Belu - post shower.

And me, post shower. People have asked me if this picture is fake. It is not.

Another place to get soaked. These cascades have names but I can't remember them now. I think it's like the three sisters or something.

When standing above, the water races calmly by, and it seems like it would be a good idea to jump in and go for a ride. But the deafening noise is a reminder that there are violent collisions below.

The place couldn't have been more crowded. Finding space to get a picture of just us was nearly impossible. No wonder we look so happy!

There were gorgeous butterflies everywhere. Many were freaking huge. We named this guy Ralphie. He did us the favor of sitting still for a bit.

I thought that Ralphie was chewing on a piece of grass or something. But now I believe that green line reaching from his mouth is his butterfly tongue. He must have been digging for critters.

The photo doesn't do justice to how cool these birds were. They looked like cartoons.

Speaking of cartoons, these Coati come right up to you hoping to be fed. They are practically domesticated by now. Also seen, enormous spiders, toucans, walking sticks, and various other critters.

Can you see it? There's a butterfly in the sunlight just over this waterfall. Give it a click. I love how he is just fluttering along, meanwhile this water is raging..

They say that the best falls are on the Argentine side, but Brazil has the best views. Obviously the lady here is gorgeous (she's an Argentine on the Brazilian side -not sure how the math works on that one). They're not lying about the view. We could have stood here all day.

Just one small part of the view from Brazil.

Because it was Semana Santa, the whole world was here on vacation. Getting through customs to get to the Brazil side took us well over an hour. That unfortunately really cut into our time in the park. But even with that headache, the journey was well worth it.

Now on the other side, the Devil's Throat is behind this wall of water.

We had to race through this part. Kind of a bummer.

On the way back, we stopped in Iguazu Forest for some adventure. Here, Belu steels herself for some rappelling. After that and some decent hiking, we finished with a series of zip-lines strung between trees 70 feet off the ground. That was unnerving AND a blast.

Belu, taking the express elevator and only a couple nicks to show for it.

Posing at tres fronteras.

Tres fronteras. On the left you see Paraguay, on the right Brazil, and under your feet, Argentina (hence the white and sky-blue obelisk). We had an excellent dinner just around the corner from here as the sun set on our trip. Then it was off to the airport to wait for a severely delayed flight. This may be the last time we go away on Semana Santa as it's always insane. When you move to Argentina, people ask if you are going to visit Iguazu. Obviously it was on the list of "to dos." Waiting to have the Brazilian visa was a good idea. We will surely be going back, just not the busiest week of the year.

Other writings from March/April:
Top 50 Albums - #25 Tapes 'n Tapes
Top 50 Albums - #26 Kings of Leon
Top 50 Albums - #27 Idlewild
Top 50 Albums - #28 Common
Top 50 Albums - #29 The Futureheads
Top 50 Albums - #30 The Black Keys
Top 50 Albums - #31 Wolfmother

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