I arrived in Puerto Iguazu on Wednesday at 5pm. I happened to book a bed in a party hostel - not quite my scene - which is in fact the largest hostel I have ever seen. It's called the Hostel Inn Iguazu. There are easily 300 people there. It has a large pool, pingpong, fussball, two pool tables, 7 computers, a small soccer field, and who-knows-what-else. That night I joined in on an asado and a buffet followed by a samba show. A bit of seminudity to start off my stay in Iguazu...
The following day I decided not to hit the falls because I was waiting for a couple of friends to arrive in Puerto Iguazu. I figured that I would wait to see the falls with them and share in the amazement. So instead I gave the town a quick visit and then caught a bus to the mines of Wanda. On the way to the mines I met a Peruvian gypsy and a traveling preacher, both of which lightened my day considerably (not that I was in a bad mood to start off with). The preacher accompanied me on a bus which took me
along a red, bumpy dirt road to the entrance of the mines. After I bid him farewell I made my way into the place. Six pesos bought me a ticket and a tour. These mines extract exclusively semiprecious stones, among which the most commonly found in Wanda are amethyst, quartz (which they call "cristal de roca"), and citrine. The odd rhodochrosyte and rose quartz are found here as well. The mines also have a manufacturing section where beauty is fabricated. They don't limit themselves to their own stones, but also import stones from other areas of the country. Sheer beauty.
In the evening I was able to hook up with my friends, the Schmidts. We went to an all-you-can-eat pizza place and followed it with a quarter kilo of icecream which we shared. Then we picked a suitable time to meet in the morning and were off to our beds. At least they were... I had a soccer match to play with the employees of the Hostel Inn. It was Admin vs. Kitchen staff. Since the former were short a player, I played for them. It was tons of fun. When we finished I was drenched in my own
sweat and had many red dirt stains. So when I walked into the main area of the hostel to do some internet work I was launched some quizzical stares by the more chic tourists wondering who this strange gringo is and what got into his head.
The following day, early in the morning, I met the Schmidts on the 7:40am bus to Puerto Iguazu. Eighty-five pesos had us inside, where we took one of the many trails to see the falls. You can feel the excitement right from the get-go, when you feel the mist even at the entrance, so far away from the actual falls. The falls themselves are seemingly endless. There is a long row of waterfalls, and in the distance you can see the Devil´s Throat, the most thrilling part of the falls. From the Devil´s Throat you can see a long plume of mist rising high in the sky like a column of smoke from a chimney. At about 10am Mike and Kelsey set off to take a boat ride that they had bought a ticket for; somehow as the moment arrived I convinced myself that it would be worth it (it´s quite expensive for
15 min of entertainment). Sure enough, that boat took us straight into the falls - so close that the force of the water made it extremely difficult for us to keep our eyes open! They took us even into the most massive of the waterfalls in the first section, not the Devil´s Throat (to boat into the Devil´s Throat would be asking for it big time), but still very impressive. The rest of the day was spent exploring the falls and some nearby, smaller falls, one of which had a swimming hole. We were able to see some neat wildlife such as monitors (I think), cappuchin monkeys, toucans, a capybara, and a very large number of butterflies.
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