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Monday, July 8, 2013

Foz do Iguacu – to me the best waterfalls I have ever seen in my life


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Firstly we had taken a 6 hour bus ride from Paraty to Sao Paulo.  

We had not booked our next bus, as we have found most times a 4 hour bus journey can soon become a 7 or 8 hour bus journey.  So we just take it step by step.  I had organised back up accommodation in Sao Paulo – in the event we were too late for the last bus.  On the bus we met Francisco, and he had been like an angel to guide and help us on our way.

When the bus stopped I was quite shocked to find a terminal bigger than the average airport.  So he helped with our bags, took us to a place to use wi-fi, found out where the buses went, and then helped us through 2 sets of trains (even buying our tickets) and helping us get the last 2 seats together on the bus.  He was such a help to us, and we could not thank him enough.

We ended up with ½ to get something to eat, and go to the restroom. The restroom at the station proved quite a problem as they refused to let me take the luggage in (it had a skinny turn-style too) and they wanted my son to go alone into the men’s room – which I refuse to do.  So in the end when the staff were not looking I snuck him into the handicapped toilet at the front.  It was difficult for me as I was not going to leave him or the bags unattended, so had to hope there was a toilet on the bus.

Indeed it turns out there was a toilet on the bus.  In fact we were seated next to this smelly room.  The lights and air-conditioning vents were broken and ripped out, so it was very hot and hard to breathe.  Then there was two very loud men drinking in front of us. And a drink fridge at the back that had a clackety-clack motor.  The seats would not lie back as it was the back of the bus, yet the people in front could lie theirs back.  All in all it was a pretty horrible time – a total of 27 hours on 2 buses.

But a positive point was that on the bus we met Ricardo, a lovely Peruvian guy who is now living in Spain.  He has been working in Brazil, and was seeing the sights before leaving back to Spain.  So when I first had some problems on the bus from Sao Paulo to Foz do Iguacu, he was able to assist me, as he spoke English. 

We talked about accommodation, and he had booked a hostel I had as my 2nd choice, so when we got to the bus terminal he was able to go to the information booth and get them to call and reserve a room for us at El Shaddai Posada and Hostel.  A total of 27 hours on the road - my goodness - was I tired!

So next morning when we saw him at breakfast (and it was a good, big breakfast too) it seemed the natural thing to do – visit the falls together.

We caught a local bus for about ½ hour.  At first my son was shy and would not look or talk to him.  But soon he got to know Ricardo, and he was having fun with him. 

I must say I was immediately impressed with the entrance fee to the waterfalls and national park – way more reasonable than Christ the Redeemer, and Sugar Loaf Mountain.  It was well set out and buses took you to various parts of the falls where you could participate in adventure sports, boat rides to the falls etc.

We hopped off at the first entrance to the falls.  I am so glad we did, as immediately we had a glimpse of some of the levels of the many waterfalls.

Rainbows appeared.
 

We walked on and raccoon ? smelled my sandwiches, and attacked my back-pack.  

He clawed at it with his sharp muddy feet.  
Ricardo came to the rescue and held it up high. 

 We walked on and saw birds and butterflies.

We wandered along the side path of the falls - several areas to stop and take photographs.


The path leads on to over Devil’s Throat.  A few days prior this had been closed.  When we had been in Paraty a hostel owner (from another town who was staying there) kept telling us the waterfalls were all closed and we should go to Sao Paulo for a few days.  My gut instinct told me this was not true, so we had headed on.  Good thing we did, as the water had receded on the Brazil side (but walkways on the Argentina side had been broken and are still closed).

We had an amazing time.  It was so much fun.

The force of the water; the spray soaked us, and we were wet, wet, wet.

We danced, jumped and mucked around.  We really had a great day!

 I have never been so up close to such a powerful water force.

Here my son sits over the falls.  This is why un-schooling is fantastic.
This is why the world can teach you way more than any school book or project you have to do.

We finished off with our picnic lunch. Butterflies landed on us. 

My son spent ages chasing them, having them land on him (there are small ones on his t-shirt below), and generally having a fabulous time with nature.  We just didn’t want to leave.

We took the double-decker bus back to the entrance, and another bus back to town.  Finished off with a soft-serve ice-cream.

This is a day I shall always remember fondly.

Tomorrow we leave.  We have to try to get into Paraguay – but an Australian girl got rejected at the border today – they choose what to charge you by looking at you - or so we we are told.  We are also told it is an honour system and we can just go in and not pay, but if we are caught within Paraguay we risk a fine of $500 US or more.  Or we may go to Argentina – but that is $200 to get in, and more expensive, and then we would also have to go to Chile – another expensive country.  If this fails, we will have to head back through Brazil and Bolivia.

So I guess it is a wait and see.  It is kind of stressful as I have to triple plan and research. But it is kind of exciting as I believe we will end up where we are meant to be.  I wonder where that is?

We stayed at El Shaddai Hostel and can recommend this hostel

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