The First Port
Trip Start Aug 26, 2008
26Trip End Dec 14, 2008
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
One thing I didn't realize until I got there was how many falls comprise 'Iguacu Falls.' It's actually miles of waterfalls, some small, most of them extraordinarily large. We started with dinner at the top of the main fall. We couldn't really see anything from our look out, but you could hear the water and you could see the formation of the falls. Then we started our hike about a mile away and every time we turned a corner we discovered another fall, each one with It's own unique beauty but at the same time progressively getting larger and more full.
The entire time we were hiking we were meeting new people which were cool.
When we got to the bottom of the main fall, which is called devil's throat, we all walked out on the platform for some more waterfall shot.
I literally took 600 pictures in the last 3 days. Many of them seem repetitive but each one is so awesome I can't bring myself to delete any of them. However, some of my favorite pictures came from the bottom of devil's throat. The water was actually super clear and there was one fall in particular connected to devil's throat that kept producing a rainbow at the bottom. It looked like something out of a movie, but as our journey progressed I probably got pictures of 20 falls all doing the same; this was just the first one.
After we got to the bottom of devil's throat our trip into the falls was done for the day. We rode an elevator up to the top, hopped on the bus, and headed to our hotel to check-in. The hotel was really nice and we each had a roommate except one of the life-long-learners that was on the trip with us. His name was Daniel and he was actually pretty awesome. He hung out with the kids each night before we went out and had a few beers with us and chatted. He also had a cooler/backpack that he brought with him the second day into the park so that we could each have a beer for the hike. Our chaperone was one of the nurse's onboard the ship and she was a blast. She was so much more laid back than most of the adults on the ship. As long as everyone was safe, she didn't care what we did. In fact she ripped a couple of shots with us at the pool at the hotel after dinner the first night.
Dinner the first night was basically one crazy party.
Shawn, Sarah, and Lara-Flynn were a blast to hang out with.
The next morning was surprisingly easy to get moving. After six bottles of wine and an unnamed amount of beers and a local drink named camperinas (which tastes similar to a mojito but is made with local sugar cane liquor and used with lime and sugar and has been a huge hit with us SAS kids) I didn't think we would be alive to head back to the falls. But we got up to a ridiculous breakfast at our hotel and got moving around 8 AM. This time we traveled into the Argentinean side of the falls and headed into the jungle to get to some falls. The jungle trip was cool, we all got onto old Argentine army trucks and were driving through some old military trails to get to where our boat ride would begin. We all got onto these little hybrid speed/whitewater rafting boats and took off up Iguacu river towards the falls. We actually took the boat under the falls, like 10 times. It was so much fun. You couldn't hear or see anything because there was soo much water gushing into the boat and soaking everyone and everything.
After getting soaked we hiked up the side of a few of the falls getting some amazing pictures. This is where my favorite rainbow/waterfall picture came from and it was just to the right of the waterfall that we ran the boat under.
After staring in awe at devil's throat we went back to the bus and headed to one of the most impressing situations I've ever seen. We visited a local village of a native tribe which has been displaced since the government took over the jungle for national park. The name of the tribe was the Guarani and they were the most prevalent local tribe before Portuguese and Spanish influence in the area.
They were poor by our standards, but rich in ways that most people don't understand or appreciate anymore.
That night just Shawn, Laura-Flynn, and me went out to dinner to some local restaurant. It was one of the best meals I've ever had in my life. We didn't wasn't to do another barbecue (we ate at two more before the trip was through) so we asked our guide Carlos to recommend a local favorite to us. So we hopped in a cab and took off for some restaurant I can't pronounce the name of to eat food whose names I can't pronounce either. We had two bottles of my favorite wines; one of Malbec, one of Gewurtztraminer. Malbec is a wine from Argentina and I figured since we were so close to the border I had to try it. Shawn and Sarah didn't like red so I ordered Gewurtz for them even though they ended up loving the malbec so we all shared. We shared all of our food too. Sarah is fluent in Spanish and French and so she was able to decipher large parts of the Portuguese menu. We ate calamari, a local vegetable similar to potatoes, some unfreaking believable seafood queso dish and some form of fancy meat. The dinner with two bottles of wine was still less than a Brazilian barbeque alone and we had a blast while we were there.
The last two things we did while on the trip were to visit a local aviary and the world's largest hydro-electric dam. Both experiences weren't overwhelmingly awesome, but were still worth the trip. I don't have a ton to say about either of them, but I did get some amazing pictures of some of the birds and a couple pictures that should put the dam in perspective.
After getting back to the ship last night the Igacu crew met up with all our other friends and headed out for our last night in Brazil. There had actually been quite a bit of security problems since we reached Salvador so most everyone was glad to be going out with a large group. Many students have been held up or mugged or robbed, one student even got bit by a kid trying to rob a girl he was with. Crazy city at night. We all headed to a touristy bar in the historic district and met up with a ton more SAS kids there. The entire place was just SAS kids and it was ok. I was pretty bored and wanted to do something more fun for the last night so me and laura-flynn and another guy we'd met decided to find a local samba bar for dancing. After talking with a couple of the locals we found one that was supposed to be safe for us and set off with a crew of about 14 by the end of it. We didn't get to the Samba bar until 1 but it was so much fun. There were a ton of locals all dancing to live music inside. A couple of the locals were trying to teach all the intoxicated, a-rhythmic, SAS kids how to dance. It was so much fun. I actually met a local who has lived in Salvador for the last 30 years but grew up on the north side of Indianapolis, literally three blocks from where I live at school. The world is a surprisingly small place. He thought it was hilarious and decided to buy me drinks for the rest of the night. So after a couple of beers with the Indianapolis native Terry and a few dances with the locals and SAS kids it was already time to go back.
The past five days have been a blur of just amazing experiences. I can't believe that this is what I get to call school for the next three months and that this is just the first port. I spent to much money but had more fun than I could have imagined. But now it's time to get back to schoolwork. I have two papers due and a ton of reading to do. Hope everyone is having as much fun as I am... but I doubt it ;)
P.S. I still can't upload pictures. Hopefully I can find an internet cafe in Africa or the internet on the ship gets better. Be patient cause they are worth it.