You know when you have a puppy and you’ve left the puppy all day to go to work and you come home and open the door and the puppy is waiting for you and it’s really excited and it’s trying its hardest to contain its excitement but it doesn’t know what to do with itself so it gets so excited it wees on the floor? Well that was me today on the way to Iguazu Falls, or Cataratas Del Iguazú. Minus the weeing bit. Although I did succumb to a little hop and a squeak when I thought no one was looking my knickers stayed dry, for the minute anyways. I was gonna get wet and… wait, no, mind out of the gutter you filthy bastards, not that kind of wet! K… maybe a little…
Both sides of the falls, the Argentinian and Brazilian offer boat rides that take you right underneath the falls for a drenching but apparently the Argentinian side is cheaper so me an a woman from the hostel got ourselves onto the boat for the ride. The first glimpse of the falls as you round a corner is breathtaking. I mean, you see the photos and watch the videos but there’s nothing like actually being there and as you get closer and closer and the spray reaches your face you can’t help but shiver, half with cold and half with excitement. I’ve always loved waterfalls and I can’t even tell you why, I just do.
But the energy coming off this one, the sheer force of the water trying to push the boat away, the roar as the falls meet the plunge pool, it stirs something up inside you, the kind of giddiness you haven’t felt since you were a kid at Christmas, and you can’t stop laughing as the boat takes you right underneath this amazing force for pretty much the best fucking shower in the world. If you weren’t awake when you arrived at the park you certainly would be now and what a way to wake up. Usually, if someone tried to wake me up by pouring water on me they’d be spending the day removing their teeth from the back of their throat but in this case I totally didn’t mind paying for the privilege.
There really is no point in a raincoat or one of the ubiquitous plastic ponchos you can buy everywhere here for this side of the falls, no sooner have you dried off then there’s always another part of the falls to get up close to as you walk around the parque nacional. I’d dumped the usual half can of Fuck Off Insect spray on myself before I entered the park but most of that just ended up in my mouth after the boat ride, I did try applying more but there was no point as I got myself drenched again underneath Salto Bossetti. This wasn’t the miserable kind of soaked like I was in Paraguay, this was awesome and fuck, we were so lucky with the weather. Blue skies and sunshine all day, we couldn’t have hoped for better weather if we’d sacrificed a virgin to the Sun God himself.
The most impressive part of the falls is right at the end (or the beginning, depending which way you want to do it), Garganta Del Diablo or Devil’s Throat. You have to get a little train to this part and, of course, at each end of the train ride there’s a little overpriced cafe selling lots of things you don’t need but want. Why do they always put these impulse purchase stores at places where you have to wait for stuff? And why do they always have things that aren’t good for you that you purchase knowing full well you shouldn’t? You tell yourself you don’t need the pastry goods and the beer, even as you hand over the money. Is it bad for my health? Fabulous, I’ll have four. Will the plastic, clear pyramid with the little model of the falls take up unnecessary space in my backpack? Great, give me the biggest.
We spent the whole day wandering from platform to platform, viewing the falls from every possible angle and taking more photographs than is probably necessary and not just of the falls with the sun shining through the spray and creating huge, stunning, rainbows. There were so many butterflies too especially at the Garganta Del Diablo end. We ended up loitering for about 20 minutes watching them flit about.
I have no idea how people coped at these falls before digital photography. Even by the end of it, over 100 photos later we were wondering if we’d really taken every single photo possible or had we missed one? They’re just so fucking beautiful, especially in the sunshine, I can’t put it into words and the photos and videos, like I say, they just don’t do it justice. All you can do is stand there and drink it in as the falls throw up wet mist and rainbows and let the constant, thunderous roar just envelop you and take your thoughts where ever they want to go. This is it. This is what is all about. This is happiness and happiness is butterflies, rainbows and a shit load of brown water.
Cataratas Del Iguazú, Argentina
Stayed at: Che Lagarto, Puerto Iguazú