Friday, 2 August 2013

Iquazu Falls: The Argentinean side

We headed back over the border once again we had to pass through the immigration checkpoint. Isabel explained that the length of time it takes to have one's visas processed is dependent entirely on which public servant you get when you go to up to the counter. On this occasion, we lucked out. We sat on the bus for about 50 minutes while our applications to get back over the same border that we crossed only three hours earlier were processed and permission granted to enter. This put us a little behind schedule bit no big drama.

The entry into the park at the Argentinean end was a little more straight forward.Once we were all through, we had a break to buy something to eat or drink (there was really no lunch food on sale, only snacks, ice creams and drinks so it was a ice cream for lunch for me!).

To get down to the falls, you jump on a little open-carriage train, much like the kind that you might travel on to get around in a theme park or at Darling Harbour (except it was on rails). It was a short trip down to the stop where were alighted t start or exploration of the park.

It was only a short walk until we saw ahead the spray of the falls rising above the vegetation and heard the rumbling roar of falling water. The road eventually met up with a series of elevated walkways that crossed the rivers that fed the falls. There was a number of small islands in the middle of the fast-flowing water. The area is renowned for it unique wildlife, which includes small crocodiles, turtles, even the giant anaconda calls this place home (one of the girls in my groups was particularly unhappy to hear that news). One of my colleagues saw a turtle resting on one of the walkway supports and snapped it on his camera. I had no such luck but very soon, it didn't matter because the first view of Iquazu Falls - Argentina style revealed itself.

It was only a couple of hours since we had been on the the Brazilian version of this extraordinary phenomenon but the effect was like seeing it for the first time. You are able to get exhilaratingly close to the biggest and most powerful of all the falls, the one known as The Devil's Throat. When you get to it, the walkway opens up onto a large viewing platform right next to the neck of the devil. I just stood, by myself, transfixed, and watched this breathtaking scene in silence. The I unpacked my camera to take some shots and a short video of the water charging over the lip.

There are some pics and the video.

I am sorry if I have loaded pictures of the falls that are very similar to each other. As I was choosing them, it was hard to decide what to include and what not to. Each time I look at a picture again, I am reminded of the experience and I think I am instinctively trying to recreate that experience for others. I know that doesn’t really work, but what the hell – too many photos of Iquazu Falls, is surely, never enough.

Because we were a bit late arriving, our group was one of the last through. I was being gently hurried along by the park ranger who needed to get us all back to catch the last train ride back to the park entrance, as I would stop for ‘just one more photo’ (times about 10). We did make the last ride back and it wasn’t long before we were once more at the hotel Complejo Turistico Americano to share stories about what we had seen that day. These were generally not long conversations – none us really had the words to describe the experience we had shared. I remember the word “unbelievable; being the most commonly one used.

Isabel our guide said that the Argentinean side of the Falls was even more spectacular than the Brazilian side. She may be right but I really don’t know. How do you measure degrees of beauty? I am happy enough to say that like the others here with me, I was privileged to be able to see this extraordinary place from both sides of the massive valley that lies between the two countries.

And that was a blessing.

Just to finish, here a few extra pics of some of the kids and staff on the day of our visit.

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