Iguazu - April 29 - May 2
May 2, 2010
|April 29, 2010
We had an early flight to Iguazu this morning but at least the flight was from the nearby domestic airport in the city rather than the international one on the outskirts. The flight to Iguazu is under 2 hours and we were at the hostel and into our dorm rooms by lunchtime. We didn’t have a whole lot we wanted to do here except see the falls so we had a relaxing day at the hostel, indulging in lunch and dinner at the small restaurant and enjoying a couple of beers with it.
We did find out that the water levels at the falls are currently really high which means some of the paths and areas of the park are closed and the boat ride we wanted to do was also shut. There is another boat ride but it is more expensive but given it might be our only way to get close to the main falls we might have no option!
April 30, 2010
We had planned to go to the falls today but after a slow, lethargic wake up we decided to check the weather and water conditions at the falls. We have three days here so we aren’t in a rush and can afford to leave it a day or two to see if the water levels fall a little. They were still high today so we headed into town to get some lunch. We found a nice little café where we had not so little calzones! They were massive but we both fought through them! We had a walk around the town of Puerto Iguazu but it was completely dead and we were lucky to find a shop open selling stamps – the post office shut for lunch between 12.30 and 4pm!
Our hostel is about 5km away from the town so we got the bus back. We had no idea where to get it from and stood on a street corner for about 20 minutes trying to flag down any bus which came by! Eventually one stopped and it was the right one and we were back at the hostel in no time at all, distinctly underwhelmed by the town centre!
We lazed around in the afternoon and again made full use of the buffet dinner at the hostel. We had done this last night too and the food selection was a little different tonight. For 30 Pesos though, we couldn’t complain and it saved the hassle of having to get taxis into and out of town – the bus stops at 8pm!
May 1, 2010
Today we finally got off our backsides and headed to the falls. We had heard the water levels were high and the water was really dirty but that wouldn’t deter us – we couldn’t wait forever for the water levels to drop.
We caught the bus outside the hostel and when we got to the falls we found out that the largest of the falls, the Devil’s Throat, was still closed due to the high water. We decided to do a boat trip for a chance to get closer to the falls and we only had one option here, too. The lower jetty was only being used for the end of trips so the short (and cheaper) boat ride was not running so we had to settle for the expensive tour which included a 4WD trip through the surrounding jungle.
The tour was not until later in the afternoon so we had time to do the upper and lower circuit walks and get some views of the falls from above. The first thing I noticed walking through the entrance area and through the shops and cafés close by was how touristy it had become in the last four years since I was previously here. When I came here before it was quite quiet and at many places there was no-one else in sight and I could enjoy the peace and tranquility. Here though, there were people everywhere and at some places we even had to queue to get close to the viewing areas. I know one part was closed off but this still seemed excessive and so many people were so rude, too. They all expect everyone to get out of their way for pictures but don’t show that courtesy to others. I was stood on one viewing area taking pictures and one guy just stood backwards into me. I couldn’t move very far but just ignored them but then he stepped back again. When I shoved him and his ugly wife out of the way he started having a go at me and I told him he was rude and ignorant and was trying to take my place. He told me I should’ve waited (despite the fact I was already in the spot taking photos!) and called me “unbelievable” when I gave him a few choice expletives. He wasn’t the only person I told to procreate with themselves today, either!
As a result, I spent much of the day walking around feeling a bit disappointed. This was one of the places I loved coming to previously and one place I had persuaded Elizabeth we should come back to. Unlike Machu Picchu which was even better the second time, this was a real let down for me. I think Elizabeth was a little underwhelmed too but that was probably not helped by the fact I was in a bad mood! It was certainly not a patch on what we had seen at Victoria Falls back last August.
Anyway, after a lunch consisting of bread and jam we stole from the hostel this morning we headed off for our boat trip. We first had to deal with the little coatis trying to steal our lunch. The critters looked quite cute when we first saw them and the signs telling people not to touch or feed them were useless. As a result of being hand fed in the past, I’m sure, they were now no longer scared of humans and approached us from all directions to steal our bread and jam. Thankfully, we just hit them with the water bottle and they went away! Once again, I don’t remember seeing these four years ago and I suspect it is a negative result of tourism that these animals are now in the public eye rather than hiding in the bushes and coming out when it is quiet.
Along the way to the boat jetty, our 4WD drive tour stopped just in time for us to see a large, brightly coloured toucan. These birds are quite shy and as we moved nearer it soon flew away. We had seen loads of souvenirs plastered with pictures of toucans so it was good to actually see a live one! The boat ride itself was really good and I’m glad we left it until the end of the day to do as we got completely soaked! We got a decent look at one side of the falls but the strength of the water and spray made the Devil’s Throat barely visible and then after that we got so close we were covered!
Back on dry land we made our way back up the hill from the lower river level and back to the exit to get the bus back. It was quite a warm day so we did dry off a little by the time we got back on the bus and I was certainly thankful I’d bought a towel and we’d taken our shoes off in the boat and put them into the dry bag!
Back at the hostel we got cleaned up before dinner. Tonight the hostel was having a Brazilian BBQ which included free drinks and a Brazilian show! The food was OK but was really heavily salted, the caipirinhas were much too sour and the Brazilian show was, er, interesting. Elizabeth had bumped into one of the dancers down in the toilet and thought she was a drag queen and to be honest, I wasn’t sure, either! The show started with a lot of hip gyrating and arse wobbling (not shaking, it literally wobbled) and continued with some crowd participation. I felt like I’d accidently left Argentina and had found myself in the south of Spain in the middle of a group of drunken teenagers. It was a bit too much like Club 18-30 for my liking but the whole hostel has an air of that feeling about it.
Even on our first day we were met by one of the guys sharing our dorm. He arrived early morning like us but at around 4pm he stumbled into the room, said “you’re married, sorry I’m drunk” and headed off into the bathroom, subsequently flooding the bathroom floor and most of the bedroom floor too as he didn’t close the shower curtain properly. I don’t know if I’m getting old or losing my sense of fun but having to move all our bags and go to reception to get our floor cleaned isn’t really my idea of fun. Even worse was he claimed the shower was “just leaking” so I actually COMPLAINED at reception and they sent a maintenance guy around to check it out. Thankfully they only stayed two nights. It was strange because it is always nice to be at hostels where people are sociable but my tolerance levels are definitely being tested – in Santiago the people at our hostel were really nice and friendly and the night we had the BBQ there was great. However, all the people staying there were older and mostly couples. Here everyone seems to be on a break from University or on a gap year and just looking to get drunk and sleep with lots of people. That’s fine for them but I’d rather it didn’t impinge on my peace! I must sound like a right old fart…
May 2, 2010
Today was a real nothing, laze about day. We had decided to fit everything in at the falls yesterday to save some money going back again. We were able to get our second day at half the price of the first but that still meant nearly $30 for both of us and there wasn’t a whole lot to do that we hadn’t already done.
I spent most of the morning listening to the football on the radio, listening to Palace just escape relegation while Elizabeth read in the room. The hostel is pretty cool and quite fun but it seems the staff working there are constantly trying to out-do each other in who can play the worst music and how loud they can play it. The atmosphere around the communal areas isn’t really very relaxing so I didn’t blame Elizabeth for wanting to stay away from the noise!
After lunch we both did much of the same, with me messing around on the internet and sorting through some more of my photos. I’m trying to pick out some from each destination to make something we can show our families when we get home in a couple of weeks time rather than them having to sort through about 15,000 of them to find something decent!
In the evening we stuck with the buffet at the hostel and spent the evening chatting to a couple from NZ who were sharing our dorm room and a chap from Halifax in Canada. It was a really enjoyable evening just chilling out and chatting and made all the more pleasant by being compliments of the hostel. We’d earlier found out that from May 1 they had entered low season which meant that you paid for three nights and got the fourth free. We’d checked in before the 1st and had already paid but upon asking at reception they refunded us our fourth night. I think they were a little reluctant to do so but it seemed only fair to us! So, thanks Hostel Inn, Iguazu, for paying for our dinner and beer tonight!