There is just something majestic about water. It’s power, it’s fury and it’s dashing humid spirit. I have never been to see the great Niagara Falls but I imagine it must also just steal the breath right out of you. These falls however, like distinguished water curtains standing defiantly in their natural mold were simply awe striking. Alone one evening I stood there staring, my mind playing tricks as though it were a painting. The colors of the sun dipping into the Jurassic park scene glowed in stunning silence.
One of the benefits of staying in the only hotel within the park are the evenings and early mornings. The park opens at 8am so if you are an early bird you can run down and catch the fresh light peeping over the falls without being pushed and crammed. At five o’ clock the park closes and all the tour buses scamper away like mice retreating to the walls. While Alex and his mother enjoyed the sunset perched atop the terrace with a glass of wine, I wandered down the gentle slope with my camera and spent the sunset in silence. Not 30 minutes before there were thousands of people trying to squeeze their way to the front for the perfect picture where I later stood solo.
I checked the weather the morning we arrived and the first day seemed to be the best so we dropped our bags and headed out for a day of adventures. First stop, a boat ride down the river past the Argentinean side of the falls for pictures and then literally straight into them for a Disneyworld like experience. Fortunately for us we hadn’t read that just three weeks before, a similar boat flipped as it went into the falls killing 2 Americans, one my age and the other my mother in law’s. We were a bit freaked out when we found out a few hours later, but were glad we had gone because had we known before we never would have. And well… it was really fun! A few hours later we headed for the heliport to discover the area from above.
A quick 10 minute tour seems like plenty but once we were up in the air I could have stared down for hours. We shared our helicopter with a very attractive French family of 5 boys so when I say we could have stayed up there for hours/days I’m not kidding. MIL and I were gawking and poor Alex wished they’d had sisters.
The next few days were spent relaxing and to our luck the weather was perfect and the beautiful French family was staying in our hotel. Friday was spent at the pool and for the first time since Christmas it really felt like we were on vacation. I chased butterflies with my camera and Alex and his mother soaked up some much needed sun. Alex may live in Brazil but he sure doesn’t look like it.
Saturday was our day to see the Argentinean side and by morning it had chilled down to the low 50’s and was pouring rain like the dickens. We fought the good fight against the terrors of wind and rain and stayed true to plan, insisting to see this magnificent place from both sides. Soaked through, you could have poured a bucket full of water over my head and I wouldn’t have noticed. We trudged on across what felt like a mile of steel platforms exposing multiple tributaries each gaining more vigor than the one before and it was actually pretty scary. By the end it literally just dropped below us, more than 300 feet and witnessing the strength of the water so close below was soooo worth the pain. I have no idea why I brought my nice camera, poor Alex carried it like a baby all the way there and then I was too afraid to even take it out at the end. All in all Argentina has the more dramatic view whereas the Brazilian side is more beautiful. Both however are breathtaking in their own unique style and if you go, you must see each.
Alex and his mom
On our way home to the hotel we had to make one important stop, a wine store. It was so incredibly cheap we stocked up for the plane home. Apparently you are allowed twelve bottles per person carry on. Back at the hotel we had a wonderful lunch of hamburgers with one of our new bottles while the rain still pelted on outside.
For her first time to South America, MIL had only been in Brazil for a few days and she had seen one of the most beautiful places in Brazil and I think on earth. By the time we hopped back on the plane she had dipped her foot into Argentina, tried agua de Coco, a churrascaria, a few Caipirinhas, picanha and farofa and of course a good bit of the fabulous brazilian sun.
Like sugar on my lips, this trip was divine.
view from Brazilian side