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Published: February 5th 2009
And so she walks in the cool morning, having risen early before the others in her hostel room, hoping to catch one of the first buses to the boarder.
But she isn´t crossing. Like her life, she balances on an edge between worlds, in them but not of them. She waits patiently in line at the entrance, and after entering walks angrily for twenty minutes over the double price for foreign tourists. 60 pesos! She is angry, and complains loudly with other tourists around her.
The entrance is far away from the falls. She has no map. She follows signs. One points to the high falls, one to the lower. She goes to the high falls. No particular reason. She knows nothing about them. Boardwalk keeps her above the forest ground. She smiles and laughs at how easy we seperate ourselves from the natural world. We want to be in it, but not too close, one would not want to muddy ones feet or place their hand upon a biting ant. No. It would not be acceptable.
She walks on. Feeling dizzy as the water, so calm and shallow before the edge, falls suddenly in a cascade of
roar and mist. She walks from mirador to mirador, smiling at the few people she meets, asking for photographs of herself to be taken with her camera.
As the sun swings higher the world grows warmer and more tourists emerge from the trails like insects. She makes her way to the lower mirador, stopping to talk with a handsome Brit with acne who seems puzzled by her attention.
She takes a boat to the island, smirks at the tourists who paid over 80 pesos to be driven closer to the falls. She can see them fine from where she is. Walks among the trees and out into wet mist driven high by the power of tons of crushing water. She becomes damp and tucks her camera beneath her shirt for protection. People stare at her white belly.
Tired, she takes a boat back to the mainland. Is glad that she went early, because now there is a long line for the boat. She does not like to stand in the hot sun.
She gets lost trying to find the train. Where is it? Where do these trails lead? Where did I come from and where am
I going? She finds the train, but must wait thirty minutes in line. At least it is in the shade. She talks with a woman from Israel, listens to the pain that she feels for her country, for the hate that surrounds them. The woman leaves on a different train.
Her train takes her to the last mirador. At the turn of the century locals used to take tourists to the very edge of the falls in a rowboat, but that ecotour ended after six Germans plunged to their deaths. Now there is a boardwalk. She walks behind people. Annoyed at their slowness.
The mirador is breathtaking. Water falls forever, mighty, crushing, deadly. What if we broke and fell off the edge? What would I think before I died? She wonders, and takes her pictures. She waits in the shade before returning. Eats a package of cookies. Chocolate chip. She is tired of sugar and wishes she could have a steak. She is in Argentina after all.
She returns home by elbowing her way through tourists. It feels like Disney World, she thinks. She returns to her hostel to sleep, pleased that no one else is in
The token "I was there" picture.
the room to watch her climb, undignified, into her top bunk.
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