Sunday, January 18, 2009

Iguazu Falls

On my second to last 20 hour bus ride, I had to prepare myself. Although it was hot and muggy in Buenos Aires (87-90 degrees), I was about to go closer to the Equator during the height of the South American summer. I've been in the Jungle before, and experienced its wrath. A little over a year ago, I was trekking in the Thailand jungle, and although it was thei cool season, by the time the trek was over, I was dripping with sweat.

This time, I was headed for Iguazu Falls, which borders three countries Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. This is rain forest, and thick. However, when I got off the bus early in the morning, it was overcast, and dare I say cool. Maybe I wasn't in for the torture that I previously prepared for.

Unfortunately, I was right. The clouds broke around noon, and when they did a harsh, penetrating sunlight burst through. The humidity was stifling. The situation, on the edge of intolerance. As I unpacked my bag, in my supposedly air conditioned room, I sweated profusely just standing. I took off my shirt, dried off with a towel, put my shirt back on and within a minute I was perspirating again. It was just something I was going to have to get used to.

I got on a bus to Iguazu Falls. Iguazu is the second largest waterfall in the world. I believe there are something like 273 separate waterfalls, all crashing down in a deafening tone. I arrived in the park, and to my dismay, there were hoards of tourists. The great thing about the Argentine side is that its easily accessible, and has many trails. This however makes it a tourist magnet. If it wasn't for one of the most beautiful natural sights I've ever seen, I would have gone postal from the pushing, shoving, click-clacking of the cameras in combination with the sweltering heat.

I took my own photos, but vowed to return early the next morning, when the light would be better, and hopefully less people.

To my pleasure it was better the next day. (Although I wouldn't say it was empty by any means). I knew where I wanted to go, so I swiftly walked down a certain trial, when I came across quite a scene. A group of German tourists were hovered around a woman laying on her back. As I got closer I took note that it looked like she had heat stroke, her eyes were rolled back in her head, and she was murmuring and dripping with sweat. The jungle heat had claimed its first victim of the day, and it was only 8:45 AM. Her party was acting quite strange, they had her feet and legs up in the air, while another person held her head. Two people were pumping her legs up and down, while another put cold bottles of water to her head (not giving it to her to drink!!!). It looked like some odd Jungle Pilate session. The situation didn't look great, so I pressed on, got to the first park ranger, and in my splendid Spanish, explained the situation. He radioed for help and I saved the day. Some might call me a hero, but heroes save the world, and my world is past saving. (joke)

After the eventful Hike, I got to the spots I wanted to, and got some pretty cool pictures. I've been playing around with multiple pictures put together in a panorama. I think they're cool. I don't have them posted here, I'll save them for my website. However if you look at the picture of me below, you can note my shirt soaked in sweat, and if you can zoom in you could possibly see the beads of sweat cascading down my face (this was after sitting down for 10 minutes).

Anyways, I'm back to Buenos Aires tomorrow for my last long bus ride. I'll be there for 3 more days and then home. Not sure how I feel about it, sort of mixed feelings. But all good things must come to an end. There will be one more entry in this blog.


Mike Gerenda said...

Hi Kip..!

Thanks for allowing all of us to share your wonderful adventure. The words you have used to describe your trip to South America have left an amiable image in my mind of not only the countries you visited, but also the people you encountered. My guess is you will be starting a new Blog soon. Just make sure you let us all know so we can share your next adventure with you.
Love: Uncle Mike

Ryan Wanger said...

You should have photographed the scene around that woman, under the guise of using it to explain the situation to a park ranger!