four countries, four days
Hola from Argentina! It has been a crazy week of traveling, so unfortunately I haven’t had time to update my blog as much as I hoped — I did take TONS of pictures though! Probably too many if you ask any of my friends here These past two weeks have been the best spring break I could ask for. In just four days, approximately 100 hours, I saw four countries including Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay.
My first trip included going to the famous Igauzú Falls on the border of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. We traveled with UCA PALS, an organization at Universidad Católica in Buenos Aires that hosts trips and other nightlife events for international students. I heard amazing things about las cataratas, or waterfalls, but I never actually had seen pictures before. In my head I pictured it similar to Niagara Falls, but it was far more incredible!! The waterfalls were enormous, flowing with crashing red water that was colored by the nutrients of the river (and sadly pollution, too). We spent the first day of our trip — after the 16 hour bus ride… trying to forget that part — on the Argentina side of the falls. There are two main national parks, one in Argentina and the other in Brazil, and they both provide unique sights of the falls. We started by going on a safari ride through the jungle, followed by a speed boat ride in the falls. It was crazy!! One of my friends had a LifeProof case on her iPhone, so luckily we could take pictures and videos as we were going through the falls.
After we stepped off the boat, we were running through the rainbows (I am not kidding – there were rainbows everywhere!) alongside the waterfalls. I was laughing while telling my friends how I just received a serious email from my caring, loving, yet extremely worrying mom telling me to not fall in the waterfalls. Suddenly, I was walking on the wet stone, amazed by the view below, and I slipped! My friend said she was talking to me, and all of the sudden I was gone, just tumbling down the semi-steep rocky cliff. I luckily only fell about 5 feet down when my feet landed on a rock, and I although I had a little adrenaline rush, I realized I was absolutely fine. My knee was pretty cut up, but besides that I was in perfect condition. A woman kindly ran over to help me up from the hill, where I was laughing from this little incident, but she looked absolutely horrified. I kept trying to tell her “estoy bien, no te preocupes,” but she still seemed far more scared than I was. Anyway, I continued up through the waterfall, still laughing. Only this would happen to me. And I this is the last time I’d laugh at my mother’s emails.
After this water-fall (haha terrible joke…), we followed the paths throughout the park, and the sights were absolutely beautiful. We ended the day by going to la garganta del Diablo, or the Devil’s throat (frightening I know), which is one of the largest waterfalls with roaring water in all directions. Multiple times I couldn’t even move because I was so amazed. I also was trying not to move too much so there was no possibility of me falling in. Some friends and I returned to the park the next day to walk the paths again, and I realized that these waterfalls would never stop being incredible. We also saw a ton of monkeys (the tour guides promised me monos, and I was SOOO excited when I finally saw the furry creatures swinging through the trees. I swear one even smiled at me).
Besides going to the falls, we also stopped at las ruinas jesuíticas (also called las ruinas de San Ignacio) in Misiones, a northern province of Argentina. It was really interesting learning about the history of the region and witnessing the indigenous culture that still remains there today. So different from the primarily European influences of Buenos Aires, and I felt like I was experiencing an entirely new South American culture.
In general, the trip seemed like a vacation from my study abroad vacation. We spent our time laying by the pool in the sunny, 80 degree weather. The nights were filled with tropical fiestas, and it was great meeting other students from across the world.
Brazil and Paraguay:
Okay, so maybe I didn’t spend much time in Brazil and Paraguay, but I did see an amazing view of the countries and spend a few hours on the borders. On our last day in Iguazú, we went to el hito de las tres fronteras, or the point where the borders of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay meet. It was yet another amazing view, and we sat by a small stream that meandered through the woods, overlooking the mixing waters of Río Paraná and Río Iguazú. I also got to use my 15-word Portuguese vocabulary with the Brazilians we encountered. And surprisingly, they actually understood me! But I will definitely be studying before my next trip to Brazil, which I hope is very soon.
So I think I may be getting a little close to the word limit for these posts, but make sure to look at my next post to hear more about my Uruguayan adventures