Saturday, April 9, 2011

big water

at the corner of argentina, brazil and paraguay lies one of the world's natural wonders: iguazu - which in the native language of the area's local tribes means - appropriately "big water." 


i say appropriately, because i have never seen anything like this in my life. big water is an understatement. when eleanor roosevelt visited the falls she was reported to have said afterwards, "poor niagra." 


while i've never been to niagra falls, iguazu apparently dwarfs it by 3 times. it is not just one fall, but a series of them. more than 135 million years ago lava from a prehistoric volcano formed the plateau, then about 200,000 years ago a geographic fault created a cliff. the river flowing over the plateau continued to erode the surface, causing the top layer to fall off the cliff in huge sheets of rock. this erosion continues today, slowly moving the falls further and further upstream towards the river's source.


as we walked through the jungle (actually the whole area of 212 square miles is a national park bordering argentina and brazil) we could hear a thundering sound that got louder and louder. 


suddenly we turned a corner and saw this
the mist rose everywhere and rainbows glittered in the spray

we were able to get so close that you actually stood above the sheer drop at the edge -- (too close for my comfort as i have acrophobia) but my daughter wasn't afraid to take a look 

if you want to get up close and personal in a different way - meaning going directly into the falls, you can board a boat. we took note at other passengers covering themselves in rain gear.



we however, did not. we basically spent the whole day getting wet from spray, so what's a little more water?

but as you can see from this foto - the boat (that tiny thing in the middle of the river) goes directly into the falls. again and again. we got soaked but had a blast doing so. (cameras were safely tucked away in dry bags, thank goodness.)

the falls went on and on, seemingly forever. i can only imagine what it must have been like when the first explorers came upon them. the rising mist can be seen from miles away, even from the aircraft when we landed and took off, and as i said before, the sound of the water is ferocious. 


the granddaddy of all the falls is named 'devil's throat'. 

you basically get soaked by the spray, which can blow in at any moment. 

i kept my camera in a plastic bag, taking it out for a few seconds  to snap a shot and praying it didn't get caught in the deluge.


this sign greeted us as we entered the park

no sooner had we begun our trek, this was the first of the 'dangerous' animals we encountered! this little guy is called a coati, and i felt like he was showing me his best side for the photo.

ok, maybe this is my best side.....

....hey lady, aren't you going to feed me for being so cute?

the leaves were ginormous (i know, not a real word, but nothing else seems to describe their size)


such intense colors of flora


and butterflies, which were everywhere, sometimes hitchhiking rides on our arms and legs



we saw toucans in the trees

and jacares (also known as caymans, the south american alligator) in the undergrowth

big water calls for a big nap. at the end of the day, my daughter enjoyed the hammock at our hotel

while i listened to the squawk of exotic birds and took a moment to enjoy the novelty of opposites: 


wifi in the jungle.

30 comments:

  1. Mind you, I have an entirely ginormous vocabulary, but I'm left SPEECHLESS.

    WOW. That's about all I can say right now. WOOOOWWWW.

    ReplyDelete
  2. what an adventure. Thank you for this escape.


    daily athens

    ReplyDelete
  3. awesome post ... & adventure (i'm *green* with envy:)

    i was enchanted by the wonderful pictures!! thanks for sharing them with us ....

    noxy.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow!! Those falls do look impressive and I love all the flora and fauna!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you for "taking" us along on your adventure. These photos are so breathtaking! Such a rich ecosystem with vibrant colors.

    ReplyDelete
  6. That looks fabulous!...just the kind of place I would like to travel to. Might be time to see S. America.....thanks for the trip....mucho enjoyable.....

    ReplyDelete
  7. What a fantastic trip you are having! wow! it's so much fun coming along with you, your a great story teller Amanda!

    when we were at Victoria Falls we were the only ones without rain gear too (but desperate to keep our camera gear protected!)

    travel safely my friend

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a place, fantastic... The fall is great, certainly not poor niagra... The name is apt too big water!!
    Must have been quite a sight, have a nice day:)

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a fun amazing trip! Those falls are really something definelty the granddaddy of all falls.

    Keep safe and stay away from hungry alligators

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh, I had to catch up with your posts from Argentina! What a fabulous, diverse place... I would have known instantly with the shot of the Chatwin book. I hope that you were able to walk through Recoleta Cemetery in BA -- amazing!

    The falls are fabulous and so glad that you three had this trip together!

    Bises,
    Genie

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm finding it hard to wipe the smile from my face - thank you so much for taking us with you on this adventure. What an incredible place!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh my! Irresistible. Amazing. And wifi? You're a lucky girl, Amanda. I'm looking forward to more and more....

    (thanks!)

    ReplyDelete
  13. oy.my.word. Spectacular. And Beautiful. And gorgeous ... I could go on but I won't.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Amazing! I really, really want to go to South America but "traveling" with you is the next best thing. Thanks for taking us along. I love your action blogging shot and the waterfall is beyond spectacular.

    I still have snow in my backyard but we got out the bikes today for the first time.

    ReplyDelete
  15. The general outlook is similar to our Niagara Horsesshoe but much higher and the vegetation is not as luxurious. Some part seems to resemble the U.S. side Bridal Veil in another ginormous dimension.
    Wonderful pics.
    By the way, my son is also an archaelogist he digs in Northern countries such as Finland and our own Nunavik.

    ReplyDelete
  16. What a great place to visit! I have been there in 2006 and I know how amazing place it is. Stunning pictures! Congratulations for this excellent post! Love it.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Your photos gave me chills. I can't even imagine standing next to the big water. Holy cow. Your pictures didn't disappoint.

    ReplyDelete
  18. That is one power shower! The trip through it must have been both thrilling and daunting. Loving the colour of life in all its shapes you are capturing and showing to us*!*

    ReplyDelete
  19. Absolutely breathtaking Amanda! Gorgeous...exciting and thrilling sceneries and images..wow..thanks for sharing this inspiring post!
    Beautiful!
    Victoria~

    ReplyDelete
  20. I guess you visited the Brazilian and the Argentinean side as well ? While In Brazil you have the the amazing views, in Argetina you have a contact with the nature, walking on those endless iron trails above water.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I have never ever seen such a waterfall...amazing!
    And the pictures of nature are just super-lucky you to see it all!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Oh amazing Nature! Those falls! I can almost hear the roar, feel the spray! Truly astoudingly beautiful! The Coati! What a cutie! (Love the claws!) And that Butterfly....like something out of a Fairy Tale....an enchanted butterfly! The Iguana is cute! (I love Lizards...)

    I know you all are having a joyous time....it shows on all of your faces! Looking forward to the next post!

    Love,

    ♥ Robin ♥

    ReplyDelete
  23. very impressive place. scary, but wonderful. great photo shots. have an exciting life. Thanks for sharing them. The next adventure, journey, eagerly waiting for your photos.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Muchas gracias, Amanda. Too bad you and Lorenzo did not get to meet! But thank you for the wonderful pictures. I had not known that bananas grow upwards! Live and learn! I saw the Niagara Falls and the Victoria Falls, always so fascinating. The sound and the spray and the excitement!Iguazu seems even larger. You took amazing shots and were quite daring! Ah, that hammock looks good. Have a safe return and go back another time!

    ReplyDelete
  25. jo - haha - ginormous is a funny word but soo accurate pertaining to anything in the jungle...

    robert - you're welcome - glad you enjoyed ;-)

    noxy - green is definitely the operative word with all this water!

    halcyon - it seems waterfalls like these attract lots of critters!

    farmchick - so true - it's hard to imagine an ecosystem as complex as this....

    susan - it's my first time in s. america -- hope you get to travel there soon!

    lori - i would love to see your fotos of victoria falls - i have heard they are also breathtaking -- maybe you will post them sometime? xoxo

    arti - thanks so much for dropping by my blog!

    ReplyDelete
  26. mim - haha! just the sight of that poor old caiman in the underbrush gave me a scare!!

    genie - you know a lot about buenos aires! my next post will be about recolata!!! xx

    nancy - you are so welcome - it truly is one of the most stunning things i've seen......

    rosaria - i did feel lucky to be able to see such amazing natural beauty (and yes, wifi in the jungle was a nice perk ;-)

    loree - i feel the same way. even now that i'm far from the place....

    sarah - you are intrepid - riding bikes in the snow! i imagine i'd barely get any traction ;-)

    potsoc - i would enjoy reading about where you son works, if you are willing to share his name i will look him up!

    philip - you have been absolutely everywhere! now i want to see your fotos of iguazu!

    ReplyDelete
  27. julie - believe me, i was a big scaredy cat - i could barely bring myself to look over the edge!

    annie - i love that and it describes it perfectly: a power shower!! xx

    victoria - thank you so much for your kind words♡

    ana - ah so you have been there! we only saw it from the argentine side, as they charged a lot of money (around $140 US) to enter Brazil and see it from that side, so we didn't. But the argentine views did not disappoint!

    ola - i did feel very fortunate to be able to witness such natural beauty. still gives me chills to think about the power of all that water.....

    robin - i loved the claws on that little critter too!! i still laugh at how he was 'posing' for me, showing me all his good sides hehe!! it was truly a waterbaby's paradise - could have stayed in the boat all day getting soaked! xoxo

    jsmn - it was a little scary, but not enough to keep us away! thanks so much for visiting my blog and for following♡

    geli - i am sorry, too, that we did not get a chance to meet lorenzo - i got the email right as we were leaving :-( but we liked argentina so much that we would love to go back - lucky you - like lori you have seen victoria falls......i will put that on my list and dream about visiting there some day ;-) xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  28. Panda-thanks for all the lovely fotos. Looks like you guys had a blast. Can't wait to hear all about it.
    Famous

    ReplyDelete
  29. Stunning reportage of the Iguazu spectacle! The boat you were on looked to small compared to the majestic falls.

    And the wildlife!! Fantastic. Except for the coati's fangs, which were a little scarier than the caiman (kidding). Hope you were using a telephoto lens.
    I've never actually seen a live tucan before, it must have been quite an emotion to meet one up close.
    I love how you find the energy, time (and wifi connection) to post such wonderful images and stories of your trip. Keep it coming girlfriend.

    Lola xx

    ReplyDelete
  30. famous - looking forward to seeing you this weekend!!
    xoxo

    lola - the boat is tiny compared to the falls - and the foto shown was actually of the smaller falls!

    i didn't use a telefoto for the coati, but thinking about it after the fact, it might have been a good idea ;-)

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for visiting♡