Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Iguazu Falls, Brazil, Argentina,

So after my fun, lawless/carefree border crossing from Paraguay to Brazil, I ended up at my hostel in the city Foz do Iguacu around 10am. There were only two other people there, who had also just arrived, 2 girls from Tasmania. They were getting ready to go to the falls at that instant, so pretty much I dropped my stuff and we walked to a bus station to maximize the day. Caught a local bus to the bus terminal, switched busses there, and about an hour later, we were at the entrance to the Iguazu falls, on the Brazilian side.

Basically, we spent 2 or 3 hours walking some trails for different view points of the falls. The falls are as impressive as the reputation that preceeded it. They just keep going. On the Brazilian side, there was a catwalk that basically went into the middle of a large group of falls, so you could get a better sense of how intense they are. There is a large island in the middle of the falls that houses thousands of vultures. Aside from that, it is basically in the jungle. Pictures speak for themselves.

Brazil Side:

Brazil Side:

Brazil Side:

View from Brazil:

Falls Brazil side, overview of one 'part' of the falls:

Since the falls border Argentina and Brazil, both countries have a park which they have developed to see the falls. They say you should really go to both sides because they present a different vantage of the falls. More or less, it is true. Since I needed to cross the Argentinian Border to get to the other side, and taking busses would have taken 2 or 3 hours, I paid the hostel owner to shuttle me there. Got my exit stamp from Brazil, entry stamp from Argentina, proceeded to falls.

On the Argentinian side, you get up close to lots of the falls. They have catwalks that hover basically above the falls, at the point at which they are dropping. I think I preferred the Brazil side. It gave a better overview yet still got to get close. Anyways, spectacular indeed.
Hostel owner picked me up in the afternoon to head back. Head to Argentinian border. Get exit stamp. Head to Brazilan border. They won’t let me in! We explained the situation for a good 20 minutes. The silly officer told us that the Visa was valid for 90 days from the day you first arrive in Brazil. I landed in Brazil February 11th, so 90 days is up. They told us to go to the consulate. No remorse.

That left me with my bags in Brazil, and just my day pack on me. We tried to go to the consulate in Argentina, but it was closed and wouldn’t open until the morning. So we went to a hostel a few blocks away. Luckily, the hostel owner (of the hostel I had been staying at in Brazil) was nice enough to have his son come back about 3 hours later to bring my stuff. Although, I also had to pay my bill to them.

So then I got up early the next morning and made sure I was at the consulate when it opened. Nobody in line, great. Went in, started talking about what happened. This guy seems to have a different opinion and tells me he wont give me a visa and that my visa is valid. Tell him to give me a paper or something in writing, but he says no, and tells me to explain to the border people that it is valid (which is what I did the other day!).

So decided to give it a second go. Took a bus to the Argentina border. Got stamped out. Continued to Brazilian border, got off bus. This time, went inside the office instead of going through the pull up drive stalls. Not too crowded, always a good sign…hopefully the border officials will be nice. Hand over my passport (not the same official as before), she spends about 5 minutes doing whatever, and stamps me in. Great! Conclusion: Brazil has no clue what their policy is. Quite the contrary to Paraguay, who just doesn’t give a crap.

In the end, basically cost me a wad of cash for all the extra hassle, plus some stress. I was still able to make it in time to catch the bus I am taking to Brasilia. 27 hour bus ride here I come!

Mona Lisa is hiding in Paraguay, the sign says so:

Argentinian side:

Argentinian Side:

Argentinian Side:


Creature in tree:

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