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Published: October 21st 2015
Up nice and close on the Brazilian side.
So there I was sat in my dorm, surrounded by my other eleven dorm-mates. After another night without much sleep and two flights, I was exhausted. From the 33⁰C heat of Brasilia, it was a relatively chilly 16⁰C here in Foz do Iguacu. It was raining. Hard.
I wasn’t feeling particularly sociable and I had administrative shit to sort out. I was feeling pretty miserable. I wanted my hotel room back.
That night, I was supposed to have a quiet, early one – but by that stage I thought it’d better to try and make some friends to feel a bit more comfortable in my new surrounds rather than moping around alone.
I got talking to two Brits in the hostel’s outdoor common area – Billy and Lloyd – and a Dutch guy, Siros. I didn’t particularly want to drink that night but I was enjoying the conversation so I thought I might as well get a beer from the hostel bar. Another Brit walked past our table and recognised Billy – turns out they had met before a couple of times in previous hostels on their travels. Tom was having a drink with his British travelling party which included
Even the tourists cant ruin this shot.
Elliot, Paige, Amy and Connor. Things were pretty quiet so Tom thought it be a good idea to play a drinking game.
“Early night Derek, early night”, my brain told me.
To play this drinking game you need two dice, a glass and a bottle of spirits. We were in Brazil so of course we had to have a bottle of cachaça
, which was just R$20 from the bar (just over £3 – I know). The first person pours (what is meant to be) a shot of cachaça into the glass and rolls the dice, hoping to get as high a score as possible. The way you calculate your score however isn’t conventional. If for example you rolled a six and a four, your score is 64. A three and a two makes 32. If the first person rolling doesn’t like the score, they can roll up to another two times. If you roll a double you are out of the game (which is a good thing), likewise if you roll a 41 or a 21. In addition to being out of the game, you get to pour another shot of cachaça into the glass if you roll a 21.
Just adds to the legend of the falls (did you see what I did there?).
The next person then has as many rolls as the first person to try and get out of the game or to beat the first person’s score (or to roll a 21) – so the more rolls the first person takes, the more rolls everyone else gets to try and beat that person’s score. If the second person gets a lower score than the first – that becomes the new lowest score. The person with the lowest score at the end of the round has to drink whatever is in the glass in one.
It has to be one of the best drinking games I have ever played. There is a tension and excitement to it in seeing who is going to get the lowest score or a 21, like a game of craps. And it gets people f*cked up quickly.
Two bottles of cachaça later and we had people barely able to walk and people falling out of bunk beds. And if you rolled a die off the table, that counts as “dice abuse” and your score automatically becomes the score the die left on the table – which means everyone else left is trying to roll a 21
The Devil's Throat
So much energy, power and noise...almost indescribable. The highlight of the falls.
to get you f*cked.
So much for a quiet and early night…
The main reason everyone comes to Foz is to see the famous waterfalls – Iguazu Falls.
There are two different places from which to view them – one is in Brazil, where the town of Foz do Iguacu is, and the other is in Argentina, on the other side of the river.
Not feeling to shabby given the night before, I still nevertheless opted to see the Brazilian side of the falls which is just a half-day venture.
Joining me for a pre-falls lunch at a por kilo
buffet cafeteria were Josh and Beth, a British couple who then accompanied me to the falls.
There is always a sense of excitement and anticipation before seeing a spectacular, world-famous sight and this was no exception. Such sights also tend to take your breath away on first sight as well – again, this was no exception. The thing that amazed me most was just how wide the falls are.
There is a one kilometre path that you follow on the Brazilian side so you get a complete overview of the falls, of which most of it is on the
Dare to get soaked by spray on the Brazilian side.
Argentinian side. At the end however is a chance to walk on a boardwalk that goes out onto the top of second tier of a two tier waterfall for a unique view and a fun experience – the spray from the first tier hitting the second tier is so intense that is completely saturates you. My ‘waterproof’ jacket perhaps wasn’t as waterproof as I thought it was and that left me soaked through for the rest of the afternoon. It was totally worth it though.
There are a fair few tourists to negotiate – many of them rude, selfish, Latin American ones – as well as cute looking, but aggressive animals called quatis
, which I saw for the first time. They’re like massive racoons and are agile and smart enough to get into trash cans and to jump people’s plastic bags. A few tourists got chased, which was quite funny to watch.
The wildlife highlight of the day however had to be the spotting of a toucan
. Their beaks are a brilliant shade of orange and at the right angle, the sun shines right through them, creating a stain glass window effect. So cool.
That night we played the
View From The Brazilian Side
The Brazilian side give you a nice overview of the falls while the Argentinian side gets you up close.
dice game again – of course – introducing it to new players. I ducked out early this time however because…
…I had an organised tour of the Argentinian side of the falls the next day which had an early start.
While the Brazilian side of the falls is easy enough to do with public transport, I opted for to do the hostel-organised tour to avoid the hassle of the border crossings which our lovely tour guide Vivian would organise for us. As well as guiding us all over the national park where the falls reside, Vivian also provided us with interesting information about everything we were seeing.
After two and a half weeks in Brazil, it was nice to hear and practice Spanish again once we got over the border into Puerto Iguazu. Our first stop was where the Parana and Iguazu Rivers meet and where the borders of Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina all merge – meaning you can fit all three countries in one (panoramic) photo.
There are two trails on the Argentinian side that you can walk – the lower trail and the upper trail. We start with the lower trail from where you could get
on an optional boat tour of the falls which almost takes you right underneath them. Without wanting to get myself and my camera absolutely drenched, myself and German couple Felix and Laura opted against the boat tour – instead we took in the simply magnificent view of the falls from the boat departure point.
The upper trail then takes you past some waterfalls that would normally blow you away – but because we were at Iguazu, one of the biggest waterfalls in the world, we were a bit ‘meh’ about them.
We saved the best for last however and I am glad we did – everything else would have been a let-down had we seen the Devil’s Throat first.
The biggest falls at the falls, the Devil’s Throat is just something else. The sheer natural power, noise and energy is something I have never experienced before. So much spray was being created that it looked like smoke and you almost couldn’t see the bottom – it was as if the water was merely falling into an abyss. No wonder it is a wonder of the world and no wonder tourists flock here in droves – it is one of the
Pesky but cute animals that are all over the park.
most breath-taking things I have ever seen…and I have seen a lot.
That night we celebrated the only way we knew how – by playing the dice game again. We went through two and a half bottles this time and I got more hammered than I had been the previous two nights. The next day, everyone was commenting about how much I could put away and how much I did put away. I took it all as compliments but I didn’t remember actually drinking that
much? There were a couple of other things I was told about the next day however, that I didn’t remember from the previous night so maybe…
My final day in Foz was a hot one as the mercury doubled from the previous two days. Perfect for getting over the hangover by the hostel pool. I managed to catch up a couple of blogs too.
The hostel was a good one. I have stayed in some pretty cool hostels in my time – including a train in South Africa
– but this is the first time I have ever stayed in a shipping container.
Tetris Container Hostel is as the name suggests, comprised of a few shipping containers stacked
Tetris Container Hostels
One of the more unique hostels I have stayed at.
on top of each other. Architecturally it is pretty cool to look at and a great and cheap way of using shipping containers. As well as character, it also had vibe, accommodating staff who got drunk with you, and a funky and social common area including a pool – not many hostels have one of those! There isn’t much to do in Foz apart from visiting the falls so the bar definitely came in handy and it was a great place to meet people. The only downsides were that the dorms were a little cramp and the bathrooms could have been a little cleaner.
While most of the crew I met at the hostel were off to continue the party down in Buenos Aires, I thought I’d go off the gringo trail a little to a place little visited and skipped by many on their tour of South America – Paraguay.
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