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Published: January 16th 2019
Iguaçú Falls are on the border between Brazil and Argentina. Today we are visiting the Brazilian side and the Parque Nacional do Iguaçú.
Once I have transformed the bathroom into a Chinese laundry, we take a bus to the Park. Brazilian buses only have a few seats; for the majority it is a standing experience. Signs instruct you to give up your seat for elderly passengers, so when someone taps the old man on the back and offers him their seat, I laugh. A lot. Then I return my focus to trying to remain upright on a rickety old bus hurtling along rickety old roads. It’s quite a workout, requiring balance and core strength. And there’s no air conditioning so by the end of the 40 minute journey we’ve worked up quite a sweat.
We bought a multi attraction pass yesterday. We did this to save money, but when we reach the park and the enormous queue at the ticket booths, we feel rather smug as we skip one huge queue and head straight for the second huge queue to board a shuttle bus into the park.
An hour later, we reach the front of the queue where
a lady asks to see our ticket. Apparently we still need a ticket. She then very kindly closes her booth, escorts us to the front of the ticket queue, obtains tickets, returns us to her booth and lets us pass to board the bus.
This has put us right in the middle of Elsa Zimmermann’s tour group. Elsa does not take kindly to this logistical development and rather aggressively rearranges the queue with us no longer in it.
Once the charming Elsa and her group are on their bus, we board the next bus for the 10 mile drive to the waterfall. It’s basically a road through the rainforest surrounding by butterflies - hundreds and hundreds of butterflies.
We disembark at the waterfall trail and walk the final mile along the river ending at a walkway which overhangs the waterfall. It’s bit like Niagara on steroids; huge and loud and creating clouds of mist where a rainbow floats.
A slight dilemma; the walkway extends right into the mist and in order to validate our tickets, we needed our passports. To ensure our passports don’t turn to papier-mâché, we negotiate the walkway scrum one at a time.
It’s a spectacular sight, the highlight of our trip so far.
We exit through the café where lizards and coatis are competing for scraps and return to our hotel for a siesta before our last Brazilian outing.
In the evening, after a thunderstorm so violent it makes the hotel shudder, we go to Marco das 3 Fronteiras; a theme park at the point where Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay meet.
I have convinced the old man to skip the hotel’s organised tour at £20 a head in favour of taking the bus which costs £1 each way. It’s a lot further than we’d expected and we are on the bus long after all the other passengers disembark. I begin to wonder if we’ve been kidnapped by a rogue bus driver, but finally we arrive at our destination.
The park is awesomely tacky. We wander round the various 3 border themed installations; flags, murals, obelisks, signs. After dark there’s a sound and light show but we decide we’ve had our fill of tack and go in search of the bus back to town and the end of our Brazilian adventure. Tomorrow we head for Argentina.
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