Falling for Iguazu
It was about a month ago that I returned from a two-week vacation to Antarctica with 4 friends from work. I know I said I'd write that up (and I still will!) but to but myself some more time, I thought I'd start with a summary of the first part, Argentina.
After checking in early, we managed to enjoy premium economy seats on the way over (ah, comfortable qantas) and in no time I was practicing the very few words of Spanish that I know. Si! Buenos Aires had a definite South American feel to it - football-crazy, lots of open market-like shops, vivid signage, spatterings of park greenery, busy streets - I think it reminded me most of Athens, perhaps a Mediterranean thing. There were also an amazing number of French cars, don't ask me why... Buenos Aires included the famous La Recoleta Cemetery and, on the way back, a visit to the colourful La Boca district. Here I encountered probably the most impressive guitarist statue I have seen:
Then, for two days in the middle, we visited an amazing place that goes by the name of Iguazu falls (or Iguassu, depending on which side you're on). It's located right up the top of Argentina, so we caught a flight up and were picked up by our hotel at the airport. Soon, between the miles and miles of bright green jungle bordered by a picturesque blue sky, the paved road turned into orange dust in one of the most bumpy rides I've experienced. After dropping bags off at Rio Tropic (a very relaxed, open, small rural place) and a hefty dose of communication in what could barely be described as Spanish, the same driver took us all the way to our main destination, the Falls themselves.
This sight was certainly enjoyable, and we continued around to capture photo opportunities, but the fun really began soon after they pointed the boat into the falls and hit the engine. We had been warned of the water strength, all those on the boat were given dry-packs to protect our gear, but it was an amazing feeling just how quickly the air turned to mist, then felt like light rain, then a full-on shower, and finally as though a water cannon was pointed at us. The experience was entirely overwhelming, as all senses succumed to the chaotic power of the water.
After a few turns through, we were all entirely soaked (rest assured, with video and photographic evidence) and walked alternate routes through sections of the falls, with views from both below and above. The sights were truly amazing, unlike anywhere I've seen in Australia, and the environment only added to the experience - in particular, the butterflies so numerous you end up swatting them away like flies.
The final city in Argentina was Ushuaia, a small port town right down the bottom where the ship was leaving for Antarctica. It was surrounded by wonderful snow-capped mountains, full of hotels, tourist shops, ski places and chocolatiers. And penguins. See below.