It is hard to write and travel so much when there are flights involved. Even though you might leave early, there is a stress that naturally exists. We first hit the streets of Buenos Aires for some quiet time and food. Both have been much needed; we have been running constantly for now 20 days! We walked the streets of Palermo so more and visited a street market. I love them! There is so much life going on in these kinds of places. The colors were fantastic. I took some close-up shots of some of the products. It wasn’t until I was back at the apartment that I realized that I should have spent much more time taking impromptu shots. The photos that I am including here are just a small, small sampling of the hues and bold flavor of the goods being offered.
Mr. Sanders and I then embarked on our way to Iguazu Falls. The journey began almost being completely stressful. We tried to use the automated tellers for our boarding passes in the airport. Broken. Frustrated, we looked at the line for getting them manually. It went on forever! Out the door. Twisting like a serpent waiting to eat us so we could not make our flight. I really assumed that we were going to miss it. Then, Mr. Sanders got the idea that we should try out another machine. Suddenly, we were on our way to one of the most beautiful, natural places ever!
We landed and found our way to the “remise” stand. That is a fancy word for a private taxi. How they are different or similar is uncertain. They look like regular taxi cars and the drives are generally pleasant. We checked into our hotel had a surprising oasis/resort feeling. Honestly, we had very little plans on what we were going to be doing once we arrive – other than “go to the falls.” We were met immediately by the kindest of staff; they offered immediate guidance. We were directed to hire a taxi drive to whisk us over the Argentinean border back to see the falls from the Brazilian side because we only had 4 hours left before the park closed. So, we were off!
Our taxi driver, Gustavo, acted more like a guide, a friend and someone whom we could trust. He was expeditious in the way he managed our passports at every stop. He walked us to the front gate of the national park telling us exactly where to go on the Brazilian side. He was waiting for us upon our return!
So… the best part! The falls! There were coatimundis roaming the paths in browns and oranges. At first, they were so exciting to see. They look like they are related to a raccoon and, at first, look so much cuter. You hear birds calling to each other hidden deep in the canopies of the forest as you are walking down the path. Then, you get to the first landing – and it is breathtaking. Cascading veins of water falling by the tens in every direction you look almost like pieces of tinsel on a Christmas tree. We were awestruck – until the rain came. It rained. And rained. And rained some more. It was a full on summer tropical rain where you are soaked through the bones!
It is amazing to see the massive amounts of waterfalls that this natural world “wonder” offers. It almost seems as if they will never end. We were excited to see that Devil’s Throat (the observation point where you can walk over the falls) was open. This area had a strange change in temperature. It was almost chilly in Iguazu. At this juncture over the falls, the air temperature seemed to rise almost 20 degrees as you are sprayed in the face by the rainstorm generated by the falls. Photos were very, very hard to take with the rainstorm and water blistering us from the falls! Tomorrow, we will be hiking and walking the paths on the Argentine side! I do hope to share better photos with you!
Mr. Szymanski is a 7th Grade Math, Reading and Writing Teacher at Gary Elementary school in Chicago, IL He is bringing the world to his classroom with the help of National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions. Here, he chronicles his adventures to Antarctica and South America in December 2014.