Saturday, January 21, 2006


Back in the saddle! That´s right, I finally pulled myself away from the comfortable life that I had managed to create in Buenos Aires, and am back on the road. Wasn´t easy to leave good ole Bs. As., but as of now I´m just thankful for the great experiences I had there...who knows what the future holds.

That being said, I got through the aforementioned 18 hour bus trip without problem and have now been in Puerto Iguazú for two days. Yesterday, lacking time and motivation to do much of anything, I decided I would head over to Brazil to have a looksy. The thing with Brazil is that for Americans, it costs $100US just to cross the border. Only one reason for this: reciprocity. The U.S. decided we would charge Brazilians and now I won´t be visiting that country (other than yesterday). When the U.S. started taking pictures (and fingerprinting) of every person who enters the U.S., Brazil followed suit in blatant mockery, only taking pictures of Americans when they crossed the border. You have to admire their sense of humor. (On a side note, I find it amazing that I´ve met round the world ticket travellers who avoid stopping in the U.S. because of the ridiculous hassle they encounter at the border...among other reasons, of course)

Anyhow, so the deal is that you can "illegally" go in for a day to see the Brazilian side of Iguazú Falls and you don´t go through customs, don´t have your passport stamped, and subsecuently, don`t pay. This seems like it might be a pretty grave security flaw, but I didn´t mind employing it to my advantage. So, in total it was only an hour and a half in Brazil (the falls were closed, didn´t feel like buying Reals). So, a stamp in my passport for leaving Argentina, then one coming back...but none for entering any other country. Mysterious. But really, even in an hour and a half it is obvious that Brazil is very different from it´s neighbor(s) (the language, for one) and has a strong culture well worth another visit.

After a big night out, I was up this morning as the clock struck 7am to head out to see the world-famous (if you haven´t heard of you have!), can´t miss it(!), "worth the Odyssey of a bus trip," Iguazú falls. They were right. (Begin tourguide voice) Another UNESCO site, Iguazú is a crescent shaped serious of waterfalls (275) that is over a mile long (2km) and falls 450ft in its highest spot (so says my website informant). This incredible landmark and the river that creates it form the borders of Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil.

Some very brave men built the catwalks that take you to the very edge, over, and under these impressive falls. At the top of the Garganta del Diablo (Devil´s Throat) the mist from the crashing below rises all the way back up soaking everyone on the platform...then continues upward to form a cloud of mist that can be seen for miles. I`m pretty confident that descriptions don´t do it justice, nor will this photo, but you can see it was an impressive sight. Or just take my word for it.
And, right, as for future plans...I head out tomorrow to Salta, a mere 26 hours in Bus. Good thing I have an affinity for long periods of time sitting or I´d really get sick of these busses! Salta is in the north of Argentina and said to be completely distinct in it´s own right, another landscape, culture, etc that Argentina has to offer. I´ve got a friend who lives there and will be fun to catch up with for a little bit. There´s also a very slim chance that I could head to Paraguay tomorrow to visit some friends from Vanderbilt...but I managed to forget that they were there and already booked the bus to Salta. We´ll see.


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