Saturday, December 31, 2011

Iguazu and Iguassu

I did my first overnight bus ride, which everyone who comes here should do. It's a very South American way to travel and the buses are well pimped out, not like the crappy Greyhounds at home. Plus it was significantly better than flying Aerolineas, in fact they could probably learn a few things from the Via Bariloche bus company.

The ride was pretty comfortable. I sat next to a Canadian farmer guy travelling with his two farmer mates. Nice to have someone to talk to and I learnt some things about agriculture. These guys spoke no Spanish at all, so I did some ordering (of wine mostly) for the one sitting next to me. I even managed to get us some scotch, which I hate, but if was free and the service guy didn't offer it to anyone else. Obviously he liked I was making the effort with my Spanish, or he liked my blonde hair (which also got me cheap tuk tuk rides in Cambodia).

We arrived in Puerto Iguazu (Argentina) around 12pm. Oh my god, getting off the bus was something else. The humidity smacked you right in the face. It feels like being in Darwin in summer, so being in Darwin now. When I was there a few years back I spent all day in a pool drinking cocktails. Good times. Anyway back to this story. I headed up to the hostel for check-in and a quick shower and change into something I hadn't been wearing for 24 hours. Then it was back to the bus station to find one that would take me to the falls. These are about a 30 minute bus ride a away.

Wow, is all I have to say about them. Stunning and so powerful. Here's some pictures.

The park they are in is huge. You have to get the train between places. It's pretty cool.

Apparently the Argentinean side is best for getting up close to them, whereas Brazil gets you the best overall view. I thought the view on this side was impressive enough.

I grabbed the bus back to town after and came back to the hostel hoping to go for a swim and meet some people. The pool was nice but hardly one seems to be staying here. Basically there is one British family with kids and that's it. There's at least one other person in my room but not seen them, so basically it's a night of catching up on sleep for me. I didn't even have a beer today. It feels wrong.

Got up early the next day and jumped on the bus over to Foz do Iguassu in Brazil. This was an interesting experience. It stopped at the border for Argentina and everyone got off the bus and stamped out. Then we got back on the bus and went to the Brazil immigration bit. But this time I was the only one who got off the bus. Que? No entiendo! Anyway the driver gives me a ticket so I can get on the next bus and off it goes. So after waiting in line for 20 minutes I was stamped into Brazil. Hooray. Then I went back to the bus stop and waited with the other tourists (since no locals seem to need immigration) and started talking to a Russian girl. She ended up coming to the hostel and then we headed off to the Brazilian side of the falls. On the bus was an English guy also from the immigration bus going to the falls. He is living in Paraguay so his Spanish is really good and his Portuguese is not bad either.The Russian girl spoke some English and some Spanish so it was a mixed conversation of Spanlish with her. I've decided that listening to tourists speak Spanish is way easier than locals. I think because they speak much slower. So I probably spoke the most Spanish so far with these two, especially Anita cos she didn´t understand some English.

Anyway, here's the Brazilian side of the falls.

Glenn, you totally missed out by not doing the Brazilian side. Seriously, you should have pretended to be local and stayed on the bus and not paid for a visa. The Brazilian side was fantastic. Actually both sides were. They also have a walkway out towards the falls so you can get some great photos. And you get wet from the spray which is nice since humidity is about a million percent. I wonder how many people died making it?
After, it was back into town to the supermarket go pick up some food for dinner, then back to the hostel. This one in Foz do Iguassu was much more fun the Puerto Iguazu so beers were consumed with my Russian and English friends, and four Germans.

The next day in Iguassu involved a trip to the bird park next to the falls. This place was fantastic. I thought Australia had an impressive array of birds, well it turns out South America's are equally impressive. Some birds were in cages (decent size) and others were in big averies you can walk through. The birds appear to be in good health and some of them have been rescued from poachers, which is good. Like these, which could represent Australia or Brazil with those colours. I wonder if I could take one to the cricket? 

The poachers pull their feathers out so they look like chicks. What arseholes. People suck.

This place also has reptiles including turtles, anacondas, boas, turtles, alligators.


These birds are scarlet ibises, much prettier than those boring white ones at home.

Apparently tucans share parental responsibilities. Seems fair.

These flamingos are gorgeous. There is a mirror behind them. The sign says it gives them a sense if security cos in the wild they live in large flocks. I think its cos they all like looking at their own reflection. Half of them appeared to be in love with themselves.

This nest is huge, seriously you could sleep in it. Although probably not that comfy. The owner is an eagle. Apparently they eat monkeys.

Speaking of monkeys, they were also in the park, but quick and hard to photograph. Some were trying to get into one of the aviaries (not the eagle one that eats them).

This place also has a butterfly house. Gorgeous. Mmm, this fruit meal DOES look pretty sweet. I was tempted to stick my finger in.

Here is a tarantula skin. There was a real one in his burrow. It didn't photograph well behind glass. I'm hoping not to see one in real life. Those things scare me more than all Australian spiders combined.

Speaking of Aussies, they have one - the evil cassawary.

This guy put on a show for us.

At the end you could hold one.

And a snake.

Probably should have brushed my hair for the photo but whatevs. I'm off to Rio this afternoon. I've thoroughly enjoyed Iguazu and Iguassu.