24.02.2011 - 26.02.2011 24 °C
I don’t think I have had a shower quite like this one. It was with a whole lot of other people, young, old, male and females. Kind of like a group shower, with everyone having a good time, making funny noises, taking pictures and getting really, really wet. And everything happened in a boat. I think when we were told to enjoy our shower, we all did just that.
The rain was gently drizzling down through the cloudy skies with a hopeful sun behind the overcast sky. It didn’t seem to deter the sheer mass of people that were already queuing up behind the counter and passing through the gates at the park. I think that’s the only reason people would be here in Puerto Iguazu in the first place. There was hardly anything in town worth visiting and the only thing that stood out the most were the streets covered in mud that did not seem to go away no matter how much rain tried to wash it away. The vehicles on the street were no different, covered with the same red dust and mud that tainted the town. It looked like the sort of jungle town one would expect from a place so far out and that had a gigantic waterfall about half an hour away.
The rain cleared up by the time we got to the park but the sun was still overshadowed by the grey clouds. We paid for the additional park attractions on top of the already costly entrance fee that would take us for a raft ride down the river, a jungle lorry ride and the main attraction which is the speedboat to the bottom of the waterfalls. After getting the information we needed we made our way to what many would say the main attraction of the falls, the Devils Throat or the Garganta del Diablo. We walked along the rusty metal walkways, across the many rivers and jungles on either side stopping only to catch a glimpse of any wildlife we encountered.
We could already hear the thundering roar of the Devil’s throat before we reached the viewing area. Water vapour spewed up from the gigantic waterfall, speckling us with misty wisps of water as if it were a geyser. The crashing sound of the waterfall echoed torrents of water being poured into the river below. You could not see the water below as the force of the water crashing down enveloped the entire area with water mist. We marvelled at nature’s beauty and fury until we had to head back to start our Gran Adventura package.
Instead of taking the small train we took to get to the Devil’s Throat, we had a raft ride arranged for us at the entrance to the Devil’s throat. The life jackets we were given to put on smelled like damp sweat and water. I could barely put up with the smell throughout the cruise along the river which took us and 6 other people, through the nooks and crannies of the river while the guide would go on in Spanish about the wildlife and many other things I did not understand. It was not the most exciting river cruise but we could see the edge of the falls at the Devil’s Throat from a short distance away while on the raft.
We finally arrived at a clearing in the river bank, where a buggy would take us to the next area to wait for our adventure through the jungle. We were early and killed some time checking out the small kiosks and souvenir shops around the area. When the time came, we got on to the kind of trucks that you could imagine carrying refugees or militia across the borders. We packed ourselves in with a large number of other people and headed off into the jungle. The guide on the truck was again feeding us with information about the jungle but this time we had and English version as well. The ride was again, not spectacular. I mean, how amazing could a drive through a muddy road in a jungle be? We quickly passed trees, more trees and even more trees which had HUGE spider webs which sparkled in the sun light. That was the only thing we were able to see, spiders and webs. Although we were quite lucky as when the journey kicked off, we were able to see a toucan fly overhead and it is a rare sight as they are hard to spot and even harder to be seen flying around at that time through the heavily used path.
We alighted off at the highlight of the tour which is the speedboat. I think this is what most people were here to see anyway. You really could not take pictures of anything else, there was really nothing worth taking on the tour so far. We were given waterproof bags and life jackets as everyone scrambled into the speedboat. The engine roared and we were blitzing along the river, towering cliffs and jungles on both sides. Small waterfalls and flocks of condors could be seen flying above the cliff face on some parts as the boat kept course towards the center of the waterfalls. After a speedy ride we were ready for our shower. The driver and the cameraman donned their ponchos as the boat edged closer to the falls. Pellets of water shot in on my face and body as we were beside the falls. The boat rocked back and forth with the water being churned by the falls. People were cheering as the boat made a second round. Justin was filming with my Ixus camera but after that, my camera died for good. I’ll have to ask him to compensate for that soon. Even so, he managed to film the falls up close and it was a pretty cool video. The boat then headed for the other waterfall behind it and did the same thing. It was a good shower.
After being dropped off on dry land again, we continued around the park to the other lookouts to check out more of the amazing views and to see the waterfall from different perspectives while also taking more pictures. While we were finishing up all the different viewing platforms, on the final lookout, we saw the most extraordinary event take place, a small snake had caught a frog in its fangs and was trying to finish off the frog. It was like watching real time national geographic, as hordes of people were crowding around to observe the spectacle. A torrential rain had started pouring down but the people still gathered. The snake was pulling the frog upwards towards the tree while the frog was clinging on to the branches for its dear life, its lower body almost ripped off by the snake. It let out cries of help and agony as the snake gave a tug upwards and as his grip was slowly slipping but no one came to his rescue. I suppose you must leave nature along its path.
The raindrops struck my bare skin as we hurried back to the entrance. There was no shelter and we had a long walk in the heavy rain. I was lucky to have thought of bringing a plastic bag for such an occasion to cover my backpack. Justin was not so lucky. By the time the rain stopped and we arrived at the entrance, his bag was soaked and his phone did not survive the rain. I think I had one too many showers that day.