Argentina 2009 – Day 7

The alarm clock and wake up call wait for no one. It took us just about an hour to get ready this morning. Our strategy was to take just a small bag with us to Iguazu and keep the rest of our stuff at the Hilton until we returned later in the week. This led to all sorts of second-guessing as to what needed to be brought and what should be left behind. I felt pretty confident in my choices as we hopped into the cab to take us to the Jorge Newbery Airport. This domestic airport had a more civilized feel to it than the craziness of the International airport. We quickly got checked in for our flight on LAN Airlines, and we grabbed a small light breakfast. Gary got the mystery muffin, and I am still not sure of what all was in it. I think it was more fruitcake than muffin, but I was glad I stuck with the plain croissant. I found some postcards to send and will try and write them later in the day. Last night, I had plugged in the laptop and phone into the outlet to charge, but little known to me it was the one controlled by the light switch. I tried to get some juice into my phone so I could listen to songs on the plane.

Once we were boarding, I realized this was a fake-out gate. Instead of going down the jetway to get on the plane, we veered left down some stairs and caught a scary looking bus to the plane. So CDG!! The plane was an Airbus 320 which are the same planes we took on Air France at CDG so it brought back all sorts of memories. LAN even gave us a vintage Ontario/Southwest moment as they let us board through the back of the plane via stairs. We squeezed into our seats and finally were on the way. I knew I was tired because I kept snoozing throughout the flight and didn’t even get a chance to listen to my music. It was a quick flight and apparently as I was snoozing, they announced they were going to spray the plane for mosquitoes. Just hammers home how bad the bugs are going to be up in Iguazu!

We arrived at the brick terminal and found a stand to take us to the Sheraton Resort located within the National Park. I was struck by all the butterflies and other bugs and fauna were all around. It was nice to actually be in someplace that looked and felt different. The cab ride was fairly quick and before long we passed through the gates to the National Park and arrived at the Sheraton. Immediately, we saw the falls behind the hotel and it took our breaths away. We checked into the hotel and because Mom was a gold status member, we were upgraded to a Falls View room. Up in the room we were treated to one of the best room views since I was in Tahiti. Out our window, you could see all of the falls from an angle, and Brazil and the hotel on the other side of the river.

After a mediocre hotel lunch, we decided to see the Upper Falls trails and Devil’s Throat, the largest falls. We hiked a short distance to the train depot. Iguazu National Park has a narrow-guage propane train called the Rainfalls Ecological Train that runs from the visitor center to Devil’s Throat. It was controversial when built, but I like the fact that it is a minimally impact train and has taken tons of vehicles out of the rainforest. Once at the Devil’s Throat station, we proceeded across a series of catwalks that went between the small islands and across huge portions of river. Finally we arrived at Devil’s Throat. It is truly one of the most spectacular places I have visited. I loved being at the edge of the falls and getting the big billowing mists when the winds shifted. I took a ton of photos before realizing how wet I was getting. When I arrived it was bright and sunny, and it got darker and darker. Before we knew it, it was pouring rain! We started heading back to the train station and it kept pouring rain. It would let up for a bit and then get back to dumping. It was your typical tropical downpour with nice big drops. Needless to say, we all got soaked. I quickly moved all valuables into my shoulder bag to avoid the water, but my passport got a bit wet.

Ironically, when I was leaving to go on the hike, I had thought for a moment about bringing my windbreaker with a hood. Oh well, tomorrow for sure!
By the time we were on the train, it had stopped raining and the temperature rose again, allowing us to dry a little. We decided to then head to the Upper Falls trail, which took us over the tops of a bunch of the smaller falls. As impressive as Devil’s Throat was, this trail really offered some spectacular vistas. Despite being wet, I also loved this route. After taking way too many photos, we headed back to the hotel to get out of our wet clothes. Right as we got into the room, housekeeping was delivering my roll-a-way bed and I noticed that it was a torrential downpour outside!

Thank goodness we missed getting soaked for a second time. We decided to crash for a bit in the room, and by the time we recovered from our adventure it was after dark and the park was closed. After 6pm, you are confined to the hotel unless you hire a taxi to Puerto Iguazu. We decided to eat dinner at the hotel and then call it a night. My steak was a bit on the Medium rare side, so I will need to make sure I have them cook it a bit longer next time. It was still delicious.

Finally, it was the end of the day and we settled back in the room. We are still not sure what we are going to do tomorrow, but we think it will be a river cruise, followed by a trip to Puerto Iguazu, and hopefully a bus ride into Brazil and Paraguay. If all goes according to plan, I will have added two more countries. It is frustrating being so close to a country and not visiting it, but at the same time, there is so much more to Brazil, that if I can’t actually visit it now, It gives me an excuse to go to Rio or Sao Paulo sometime in the future.