Iguazu Falls, Brazil & Argentina
I arrived at the Iguazu airport in the early afternoon (it was a quick 2 hour flight) and the shuttle driver was there to pick me up from my hotel. I had booked an expensive resort hotel as I wanted to treat myself and it was right next to this bird park that I wanted to go to that afternoon so I checked in quickly so I could make it in time to go check out the big bird park "Parque das Aves." As the shuttle dropped me off at the resort, it felt amazing to be in such an elegant place coming from Sao Palo and in a more suburban area with not much around. As I walked to the bird park 10 minutes down the road, I was amazed by how few people were around but maybe it was just the time of day. I got to the park just in time to be able to explore and see all the exotic looking beautiful birds (143 different species from flamingos to parrots); I loved every minute walking through that park. I thought about my grandmother, Nana (dad's mother) the entire time because she loved birds so much, brought some warmth to my heart. When I got back, I was able to talk to the manager at the resort and change rooms as I had booked a double room and they put me in a room with two twin beds and the Wifi wasn’t great. So I changed rooms after using my negotiating/front desk agent experience skills and went to get dinner at the hotel bar. There was a gym so I felt like I should take advantage and did just that after digesting my food - I was so happy to have a gym/treadmill finally, it had been months since being in a gym with a machine and weights. Afterwards, I did some computer stuff and then went to bed since I had planned to meet up with Chantel at 10:30am to go to the Argentina side of the waterfalls (we booked a safari boat tour to go close up to the falls). First I went to get the buffet breakfast which hit the spot and then Chantel arrived to the hotel to drop her stuff off right on time and then we Ubered to the Argentina side entrance. It was interesting having to cross the border in the Uber - waited in the car line and just showed our passports and faces to the gate person and then were off - simple and only took about 30 minutes to get there. As we walked through the park, there were many people and animals around and then we were ready to board the train to go to the boat tour. As we approached the humongous falls on the floated speed boat with about 50 other tourists, I was amazed by how beautifully big and powerful they were. It was so much fun, boating basically under the waterfalls, we got completely soaked. I made sure to hide my phone from the water but it got a little wet and then wasn’t working properly when we got off the boat so I turned it off right away. Then we walked to get to the main attraction, Devil's punchbowl, which is this section of the waterfall where you can look at it from above, but had to take another train there which included waiting in lines and such. There were stray animals everywhere trying to eat our food and it took a while to get there, but it was totally worth it in the end. The same Uber driver picked us up and we finally got back to the hotel and I immediately put my iPhone in a bag of rice to hopefully soak up my so-called "waterproof" iPhone. I was so upset about my phone we went straight to the hotel and ordered a bottle of wine and huge cheese platter, and then went to have a big meal in the hotels fancy restaurant with a screaming baby next to us. Chantel and I got into talking deep conversations over two bottles of wine and sat out by the pool - it was a fun girl night. She slept over and we got up early to check out and go drop off our luggage at her hostel and then went to the Brazil side of Iguazu, which was not as good and you had to take a bus far away from the entrance to get there, but the views were still beautiful. That afternoon, I had to leave for my flight to Buenos Aires so I had the hotel arrange a taxi since I wanted to keep my iPhone in rice (there was definitely water damage). The border crossing for Brazil/Argentina seemed the easiest from my experience so far in South America because you can just park and go into the office section if you need to get your passport stamped - or if you're just going to see the waterfalls, you just show your passport to the booth person (and they only check inside certain cars). Anyway, it felt pretty cool to be in one area of the world that was on the border/surrounded by 3 countries including Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. The airport at Iguazu was old and small and took forever to do anything, and I still couldn’t use my iPhone so had to communicate with my family through my MacBook iChat (thankfully the airport Wifi was strong enough). It was a bad feeling without my phone working because I really needed it to figure out my next moves, etc. but hoped that when I got to BA that it would start working again since it would've been in rice for a couple days...fingers crossed as I boarded the plane.