Sunday, May 8, 2016


This week we were able to take a little break to visit Iguaçu Falls. Seven of us went: the Burkes, the Harts; Sister Cox, and the two of us.

We left Wednesday morning and flew to Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil.
Foz do Iguaçu airport
We arrived in the afternoon and caught a city bus that took us a few blocks from our hotel. We were a sight walking those few blocks with our luggage. We had enough time to take a tour in the evening to the Ipaitu dam, the largest dam in the world, which was built by Brazil and Paraguay.

Ipaitu dam
On the way back we took a catamaran ride on the lake formed by the dam to see the sunset. It was a nice relaxing ride and a beautiful sunset.
Our catamaran 
Time to relax a little 
Sun sets over Paraguay
The stickers are for the tour, not campaign buttons
The San Juan hotel was small, but comfortable, with a good breakfast.

Thursday was our day for Iguaçu National Park in Brazil. 

The group: Burkes, Cox, Wheelers, Harts
 Before we went into the National Park we visited the Bird Park, right outside the National Park. It is a nice peaceful park (except for the squawking birds, of course). The birds are caged, but in several of them we can walk inside the cages to be closer to the birds.
Yellow-headed parrot
Yellow-headed tropical flower
Yellow-beaked toucan
Yellow-shirted beauty and a banana plant
Yellow-winged parrots
Our first activity after entering Iguaçu National Park was a jungle walk and a boat ride. The jungle is actually part of the Atlantic Rainforest.

Walking through the rainforest
Waterfall in the rainforest
 The boat ride took us out on the river below the falls to see them from below. It was a good view until they took us right under the falls. All we could see was water as we hunkered down in our light ponchos to keep dry (it didn't work). It ended up being more of an adventure tour (let's see how wet we can get you) than a scenic tour.
Five of us went on the boat
Ready to get soaked
Iguaçu Falls from the river
The Iguaçu shower
 There are double decker buses to take us around the park. We arrived at the Iguaçu hotel too late for lunch, so we got very hungry before the day was over.
Iguaçu Hotel
The Brazil side of Iguaçu gives a grand panoramic view of the falls. You walk along a trail that gives one beautiful vista after another. Just as you think you have seen everything there is another view.
Iguaçu Falls
The falls without people
There are more than 250 falls
Approaching the Devil's Throat
Yes, you get wet from the spray
More of the falls
Many of the falls come in two layers
One of the wild animals that are commonly seen are the Quatis. They will grab any food available and even attack and bite if you are not careful. One tried to tear into my bag before I could even see it.

On Friday the van took us across the border to Iguazu Falls National Park in Argentina. This gave us a view of the falls up close and personal.
Iguana National Park
 The Argentine side uses a train to get from one site to another.
A train ride
We first went to see the Devil's Throat where a lot of water rushes down a small circular cliff.
To Garganta de Diabo
To get there you go along a pathway over the river for about 1.5 km. The water is very calm over a great expanse.
Crossing the river
 Suddenly the speed of the water picks up.
Water at the top of the falls
 And rushes down the Devil's Throat.
Sides of the Devil's Throat
 The spray is so great you can't even get a picture of the fall itself.
Missionaries in the lesser spray zone
We returned by train to a trail that took us to the tops of many falls. The views were spectacular.

Upper falls trail
View of the upper falls
A waterfall close up
We were able to experience the great power of flowing and falling water

A view up the river
A view down the river
Imagine standing on that rock
 Another trail led us between the upper falls and lower falls. 

The lower trail
There were many smaller falls, each contributing to the overall spectacle.

Combining falls
More water
A wonder in the jungle
 We finally made it back to the visitor's center. At least we were able to find some lunch.
I don't think I will take up chimarrão
We were able to get back to the hotel in time to get some rest before our big night on the town. We went to a churrascaria with a show of dances from Latin America. There was a lot of food as well as music. It made for a good cultural evening.
Dance from Chile
It takes two to tango
 Saturday was our last day. We only had time for a morning activity so we decided to visit Paraguay.
Foz do Iguaçu from our hotel window
Ready for Paraguay
 We stored our luggage and checked out of the hotel then took an 8am van ride to Cidad del Leste, Paraguay. The city is known for shopping.There are booth after booth full of clothes and other goods for sale along paved and unpaved roads. There are also stores along the streets selling electronics, perfume, and everything we don't want. They each have their representatives handing out ads and trying to get us to follow them to the store.
One of the market streets with booths and electronics stores
 Then there are several upscale malls and department stores. The Mona Lisa department store had many floors of merchandise, very expensive even on sale, but not as much as in Brazil because of the high tariffs.
The Mona Lisa
The top floor has chocolate
 The roads are in various stages of disrepair, but there are some nice murals along some of the roads. The center of town was really crowded with visitors and vendors.
A mural in Paraguay
 We were able to get a bite to eat at the hotel before going to the airport. We had a wonderful time, but it was good to get back to our own apartment.

Sunday - Mother's Day. Last year we were in Ribeirão Preto. I was able to find a little flower for Diane that goes along with our table top. Thank you women and mothers who do so much to make our lives better.
Happy Mother's Day

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