Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Feb 1-3 - Iguazu

We left Wade and Rena in Santiago and headed to the airport for our flight to Buenos Aires (from now on 'BA'). Tanis' parents (Gary and JoAnn) had flown into BA a couple of days before hand and we would be meeting them in the airport and then all of us flying up to Puerto Iguazu. We had two hours of connection time, so we thought we had all sorts of time. Except that our flight left from a different airport(the domestic one), which was about an hour away. But we made it in time and met up with Tanis' folks and made it to Iguazu with no problems. We spent the rest of the day relaxing and figuring out our plans for the next two days.

The big attraction in Iguazu are the Iguazu falls. The falls are on the border with Brazil and are massive. We took a bus into the national park in the morning and spent the day walking around the various walkways, bridges and paths to view the different sections of the falls. I think there are about 200 hunderd separate cascades.

It was very hot, and after walking around for 4 or 5 hours We decided to then take the 'Grand Adventure' tour, which consisted of a boat ride in the falls, a boat ride down the river, and then a 4x4 ride through the jungle back to the park entrance. Perfect.

We had watched the boats going up to certain sections of the falls all day, and you could see that everyone was getting soaked by the spray.

So everything of value had to go in the dry bags. But they took us up the entrance of the Garganta del Diablo (throat of the devil) to start with and basically backed the boat right under one of the falls. Gary and JoAnn were sitting in the last row and were just about washed out of the boat.

We were in the row ahead of them so it wasn't quite as bad, but you couldn't see anything there was so much water. Needless to say, we spent the rest of the tour in wet clothes.

For the 3rd, we decided to rent a car and drive a ways to see some of the ruins from the Jesuit Missions. The Jesuits had a number of Reducciones in the area in the 15th and 16th centuries where they would house large populations of indigenous. In return for their labour, they would be housed and educated (to some degree). The ruins we saw were at San Igancio, which used to house a few thousand people in its hey day. We were lucky enough to tag along with an english tour so were actually able to learn a little about it. The settlements were eventually abandoned, as apparently the Spanish were quite jealous of the Jesuits success with the indigenous populations and eventually banned them from the area. There's a movie called The Mission (with Robert de Niro) that is about the Reducciones, but I think it might be more to do with when they were driven out of Brazil into Argentina, but I haven't seen it (although I may rent it now).


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