Thursday, February 8, 2007

Second day in Iguassu - Brazil

Today we explored the Brazilian side of the falls. We hired a driver for the day and he took us through the border and helped to make everything go smoothly. First we did the standard walking tour, which is about a third the size of the tour on the Argentinian side and took about an hour. Although there are fewer falls on the Brazilian side, it actually provides a better view of the falls on the Argentinian side and has a platform that extends out into the middle of "Devil's Throat" which is the name for the biggest group of falls. From the end of the platform, you can pretty much turn around 360 degrees and see waterfalls and rainbows everywhere. Our best pictures all came from the Brazilian side.

After the walking tour, we went out on a steel platform jutting off the side of the cliff and free-rappelled down to the canyon floor. The entire platform had a steel grate as the floor so you could see straight down the entire time. The rope dangled straight down a good 10 feet from the rock wall face, so as we descended all we were touching was the rope. You didn't need to hold on that tight, but my arms were locked in a death grip on the rope. It was quite a workout on the arms to get down, and then we had to climb a steep spiral metal staircase (also with see-through steel grating as the floor) to get back up - which was a serious workout for our legs. The stairway going up was just as intense as rappelling down.

Then we ate lunch at a buffet restaurant at the top of the falls, with a nice view overlooking everything. The food was decent and there was a nice shop where we picked up some souvenirs. My arms were so tired from rappelling that it was hard to cut my food.

After lunch, we left the park and headed to the bird sanctuary. Here they had a huge variety of colorful and rare birds such as parrots and tucans and even eagles. They also had snakes, lizards, monkeys, and even a tarantula.

I swear Amy had a deep conversation with every bird in the park, telling it how pretty it was other things in birdspeak I couldn't understand. She didn't talk to the reptiles... although at the end she did hold a small boa constrictor "for Jackson".

Then we went back to the hotel for a siesta. Amy laid out by the pool to work on her tan and I went to the spa and got one of the best massages I've ever had (shiatsu and it hurt so good). I've had lots of massages, but this one was different from all others I've had. Besides squeezing all of the tension out of me, she also twisted me up like a pretzel in some good stretches as well. Side note - massages in South America are not for shy people... both in Peru and here the masseuse stands there and expects you to strip right in front of them. My modesty was sacrificed but my sore legs and arms were saved!

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