14642480_10104965880442617_157458357076724053_n
Absolutely worth the wonder of the world name!

So like, a word of advice 0 if you are traveling alone, especially as a woman in a foreign country, and you need directions somewhere, 10 out of 10 don}t ask the cute guy at reception. 10 out of 10 don{t let him practice his English on you when he gives you the directions you{re too distracted to hear properly, let alone understand. Because what will happen is the actual distance you need to walk will get lost in translation, and you will end up wandering down a dirt road, slip in mud, fall, meander onto indigenous property, startle some horses (your worst nightmare!), and get a sunburn before you even get close to your destination.

At some point, on this endless dirt road, you will realize you have all your earthly possessions on you, that no one knows where you are or where you are going, you don’t have a phone, you’re muddy from the waist down, and you should probably just bite the bullet and get in a cab to your destination.

look at the baby monkey on the mama monkey's back! k lindo
look at the baby monkey on the mama monkey’s back! k lindo

Anyway, after enduring the emotional and mental weight of my careless and probably dangerous decisions made in the name of saving money, I stood at this bus stop for a full 20 minutes. And then, muddy, sweaty, wanting to live another day and clutching all my documents and money to my chest, I ran across the highway, stood in the sun, and finally hailed a cab. And God bless people. I was seriously praying ‘ God give me a grandpa in this taxi.” And I got one. He was the sweetest naturalist ever, basically giving me a tour for free on the way to the park.

{Note: I began this in Argentina, where the keyboard was wack. I am back in Brazil (small miracle) and continuing on an American keyboard, but keeping the errors, because they make me giggle.}

I have traveled alone a few times now, and I always rely on the kindness of strangers, particularly cabbies, to help me out. I am getting better at saying things like “Oh, my husband is back at the hotel for a meeting and will meet me there,” and you know, flexing my biceps under my dri-fit clothes so these guys know exactly what they are dealing with. And I don’t want to push my luck, but I have only ever had cabbies that display avuncular tendencies towards me, go out of their way to help, call me “luv” and tell me I’m too pretty to be single, offer themselves or their sons in marriage, etc. I just wanted to shout out to all the nice cabbies. Anyway, back to story.

eeee coatis!
eeee coatis!

So Grandpa opens the door for me, kisses me goodbye and good luck, and I go to buy my ticket to enter the Argentinian side of Iguaçu. It was adorable from the beginning – tons of touristy trap things if you want to fall for them, but mostly you just walk to a train and begin your journey. I love a good tiny train. First freaky thing – coatis. These are satan’s helpers. I saw them rob the old and young alike. Don’t let their cute faces fool you! They are super rude and can give you rabies with just a lick. One touched my leg and I said many bad words, several of which were unfortunately repeated by the small Argentinians around me. My bad.

Then I just followed the crowd through clouds of butterflies (everywhere!) onto metal bridges to walk cheerfully for about a mile towards something called “Devil’s Throat,” or “Satan’s Mouth Hole,” as I like to call it, because me.

SONY DSC
Devil’s Throat

As I said in my previous post, although I have wanted to visit this place for a long time, I booked the trip in the heat of a desperate moment, so I had done little to no research. I didn’t even know what I was going to be looking at. I am a bit scared of bridges, and there were several birds (another completely unfounded fear) flying all around, so I was super distracted. But you hear Devil’s Mouth Piece before you see it – the mist flies up in the wind and the water is loud and rushing in your ears. Walking up you’re not quite sure what you’re about to see, but standing on the edge of a bridge looking down into nothing but crazy amounts of water moving at crazy speeds was breathtaking.

I started crying on the spot, and stood there for a long time, just thinking “wow. wowowowow.” I get pretty emotional over nature sometimes. Also sometimes my body freaks me out because I feel like it wants to fling itself over the edge into the abyss for kicks? Anyone else get those feelings? So I finally backed away from the edge and made the next train to continue the journey.

the waterfall alley down from Devil's Throat
the waterfall alley down from Devil’s Throat

I overheard a group of hostelers talking at the train and slyly became a part of their group. Dutch, Spanish, Swedish, Italian, and probably more, they’d just banded together and started walking. Through them I learned about some boat that would take you to an island in the middle of the waterfalls, and I scurried along after them. We made the last boat and hiked into Jurassic Park. A million rainbows, waterfalls everywhere, fish inexplicably living on top of this very tall island, huge iguanas, ginormous spider webs stretching in the mist and sunlight. It was incredible.

At this point I had hiked about six miles, after not being able to work out for three months because of my stress fracture on my foot. I was in a lot of pain, and ended up sitting on a rock and just watching the water and listening to the water. I have very little ambition beyond watching and listening to water. I ended up next to a Turkish guy I’d met the day before on a bus. He was meditating and an iguana was practically in his lap. And I got him to take one of the two non-selfies of me on this trip on the rock of thinking of life.

14657326_10104965883750987_8535606431423349772_nI also want to take this moment to apologize to all selfie-stick users I have ever teased. I TRIED to use mine and I couldn’t get the hang of it! It is harder than it looks. I abandoned it, but then pics are just my face and a blurry water background. Oh well. Perils of solo travel. I know I was there. On that note – please always offer to take pics of people you see traveling alone. It’s so hard to ask for some reason.

I ended the day buying postcards I will probably never send, and useless knick knacks, a Quilmes, and watching monkeys and coatis fight over scraps. They are shameless at these parks and it just smelled like rabies. I took a few daring photos and then skedaddled back to the hotel.

After the best shower of my LIFE I posted up in the hotel restaurant, ready for some Malbec, some steak, and some quality time with the internet. I nearly brought my ipod to listen to, but I am so glad I did not. Because yes, this was the infamous racist relatives at Thanksgiving night.

SONY DSC
stunning.

But I will leave that story for tomorrow. For now, if you need to hear it and you haven’t, I do like to travel alone, but I would let you come with me and pay for things if you wanted.

Advertisements