Wonder of the World

Excited about the opportunity of getting out of the big city of Buenos Aires once again, I packed up my backpack and headed to the bus station to go to Puerto Iguazú, home to one of the wonders of the world – Iguazú Falls.

After about a 17 hour bus ride I finally made it to my hostel mid-day Thursday. With no time to do much else, I took a hike to a place called “Tres Fronteras”, or “Three Borders”. From this point in Puerto Iguazú, the Paraná River splits between Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina, and you can see all three countries from this point. Made my way back, showered up, and decided to head out for some dinner…alone. As I dined on gnocchi and beer, surrounded by laughing families and young couples, I was serenaded by the live band who generously dedicacted a song “to the girl sitting alone in the back”. I got the rest of my meal to go.

Friday I was up early and on my way to the falls. At first I was quite disappointed, it felt like walking around Disneyland alone, minus the awesome rides. Long lines, screaming children, and huge crowds of tour groups. Later in the day things calmed down a bit, the sun came out, and it turned into quite an enjoyable afternoon walking amongst some of the most gorgeous waterfalls I’ve ever seen. On my way home I made sure to make a stop in the market to buy food supplies for the next two days – no more restaurants for me! I dined, drank, and shared stories with 5 other study abroad students from Iowa in my hostel. Small world.

Saturday I visited an animal refuge, and then headed back to the falls. Today’s agenda: Garganta del Diablo. As I made my way along the walkway elevated over what appeared to be a calm, slow moving lake/very wide river, I spotted the Garganta. At first, it appears to be a huge, gaping hole in the middle of calm water. The mere sound of the falls was mind blowing – so loud! Watching the Garganta was a breathtaking experience, and unfortunately is very difficult to put into words. After this, I headed to Iguazú en Concierto, an annual concert held at the falls with children from all over the world. It also happened to be the inauguration of Iguazú Falls as an official wonder of the world!

Sunday I hung around the hostel until my bus was scheduled to leave. After boarding, I decided to try and score some good karma and traded seats with a girl in the back of the bus so she could sit with her kid. As the bus pulled out the station and I was settling in, I tried to recline my seat. Panic set in as I realized that not only did my seat only go back about halfway at most, but that I was in for a 20 hour bus ride in this position. I didn’t have much time to dwell on my bad luck before Migrations pulled over our bus and began checking everyone’s passports. Because I only had a photocopy of my passport, I was escorted off the bus with an officer and taken into their office for some questioning. Thirty minutes and thirty questions later, I was able to return back to my overly air conditioned, half reclined spot on the bus. As I began to settle in for my trip again, the passenger in front of me reclined his seat a full 180 degrees, pinning my knees to my seat. I was on the brink of tears. Life lesson: good karma does not exist so don’t ever trade seats with anyone.