Published: March 28th 2011February 25th 2011
Fear is contagious.
An early morning saw us enjoying a wonderful breakfast before heading to the bus station and jumping on the bus to the falls.
We knew that there wasn’t as much to see on the Brazilian side as there is on the Argentinean, so we went with fairly mild expectations. After the 45 minute bus trip to the falls we paid our entrance and jumped onto a park bus which took us to the start of the paths that take you from one viewing platform to the next. Once again it is a spectacular sight. The major difference is that you get a panoramic view of all of the falls. So we wandered around the path and took various photos and enjoyed getting wet and after a couple of hours it was time for lunch.
I don’t like wasps and bees. My first impulse when I see one near me is to try and shoo it away, or to move. However I usually restrain myself and just ignore it, and usually they move on, and I can go back to whatever it was I was doing. In Bariloche I wasn’t so lucky, there had been a
number of wasps around at one point and one of them happened to decide that my ankle was a wonderful place to have a rest. Unfortunately for me I didn’t realise it was a wasp and tilted my foot up catching the wasp between my ankle and the tongue of my shoe. Well the shot shape pain in my ankle quickly identified the insect as a wasp. However it was all my fault, if I hadn’t of moved I wouldn’t have been stung.
So back to lunch, we had taken with us some buns, ham, cheese, tomatoes and some peppers so that we could make some sandwiches and have a nice picnic. No sooner had I started cutting up the tomatoes then a number of friendly bees came by to say hello and check out what we were doing. This put Anna right on edge. While I can fain a nonchalant attitude towards these visitors, Anna cannot. She was up in a heartbeat and walked a few feet away, returning briefly to grab her sandwich when it was ready. Her reaction, while completely understandable raised my own anxiety levels a fraction.
I had just finished preparing my first
sandwich and had taken a wonderful bite out of it when all of a sudden a wild shout went up ’The coaties are coming! The coaties are coming!’ Coaties are animals that look like racoons. We had seen them on the Argentinean side, and watched as one of them had jumped up onto a table and tried to steal some food from a tourist who had, until that point, been happily eating. These coatis have fierce looking nails and teeth to match. So when Anna called out a quick glance at my picnic confirmed my worst fears. I was sitting on a concrete bench, my bag was open and there was food everywhere, how was I going to pack everything quickly? I stuck the sandwich into my mouth so that I could free up both hands and started shoving food back into my bag. Half a tomato got squished between my fingers before being tossed into the bag, I made a grab for a pepper only knocking it further out of my reach, everything was a mess. At the same time I looked around but I couldn’t see an coaties. Panicked because I couldn’t see them, I looked at Anna
and saw her jumping up and down looking at me and calling out ’The coaties are coming!’ I figured they must be right on me, I was going to be attacked any second, the fact that I couldn’t see them only made the situation worse. I could hear my heart beating faster and faster, the sandwich that I had in my mouth was beginning to fall apart as the food continued to fly into my bag faster than I thought my arms could move. The heat, the adrenaline, the speed in which I was moving, all of this had sweat rolling off my forehead and falling into my eyes which only made the panic worse. Finally after what could only have been 10 seconds, but felt like months, I had the bag packed and was backing away from the bench and towards Anna. All of a sudden I saw them coming, it took me a moment to make them out, as they were so far away and I didn’t have any binoculars, but they were coming. I stood next to Anna and put my bag down and then finished eating my sandwich in peace as the coatis got closer and closer and closer. Eventually they arrived and did indeed jump up onto the bench where I had been preparing our lunch. However the panic I had felt was quite unnecessary. It is strange, interesting, and kind of cool, how emotions, both good and bad, are contagious.
Well after that little experience, and the fact that bees were still following us everywhere, we decided to call it a day. We’d seen everything that we had wanted to and so jumped back onto a bus and headed back to the hostel where we decided it would be a quieter and less stressful place to finish our lunch.