I hopped on the bus towards Iguazu Falls, identified mysteriously by the sign as ‘Kilometer 5’, rather than the actual destination of Iguazu Falls. I’ve come a cropper from this type of thing on more than one occasion.
The Falls are very spectacular and very popular with tourists. ‘I’m a bit devo’ed’, said an Australian woman in a line behind me, referring to the view of the Falls on this side compared to the Brazilian. ‘What’s an em-pan-arder?’ bellowed a British woman. ‘Like a Cornish pasty’, one of her group explained.
I love independent travel and not feeling constrained by big groups. Long may this continue, even when infirm and senile. I see the benefits of convenience and support, but it makes me feel crowded, and crowded is an apt word for today’s blip. My cynicism levels reached new heights at the Garganta del Diablo (Throat of the Devil) viewpoint, pictured, arguably the highlight of the National Park on the Argentinian side. Thank goodness I’m tall. Shortarses stood no chance of enjoying the view. I was obviously one of the visitors so this isn’t a comment on sheer numbers, although of course for most people it would be a more special experience in solitude. It was that I watched enough people to see that virtually no one was simply appreciating the wonder around them, even for ten seconds. Crowds would be much more bearable if they were behaving less brainlessly. As a human race we have attained strange new vortexes of behaviour if we can approach somewhere like this and ‘experience’ it without taking our eyes off the camera in photo mode affixed to the selfie stick that we’re clutching. That is the reality of where we are and I just don’t know what it’s doing to humanity’s connection to the world around.
A delicious pineapple slush drink distracted me from the cynicism, briefly, and I reverted back down the trail. Erlyn had recommended the boat trip so I duly booked the last one of the day, hoping for some nice light and some cooling spray on a very hot day. The health warnings advised people with ‘preternatural anus’ not to participate. In the Spanish version this was ‘ano contra natura’ (anus against nature). I wondered how violent was this boat trip but decided I qualified to proceed.
It didn’t disappoint. The scenery was incredible. Incrível. Increíble. Multiple languages warranted. At one point the boat parked under one of the lesser waterfalls, and the water cascaded over everyone. If I wanted a cooling mist, I’ve rarely been so drenched. It was liberating and exhilarating. There followed a moist trudge back up the hill, a soaking of the bus upholstery and a naked drying off period in the hotel with wet garments strung around the room.