Friday, February 22, 2008

Day 15: Falls, Fauna, and Fun

Iguazú Falls continues to impress. Our morning view from the room was a pink sherbet delight.

This morning we crossed the border into Brazil to see the other side of Iguazú Falls.

The Brazilian side of Iguazú Falls is even more impressive, at least in my opinion. The park is also less crowded. If you ever make it down here, the short trip to Brazil is well worth it. Plus, most people on the border speak Spanish, so don't worry about not understanding Portuguese.

We started off with what seemed to be a calm little jeep ride and hike through the rainforest. This sign welcomed us. Well, duh.

Then we happened upon these signs. We turned right.

We boarded a zodiac and were told to put our cameras and valuables in the provided plastic bags. We drifted a bit on the calm water. The calmness didn't last long. We were soon navigating up and down, side to side, and everywhere else in roaring rapids! My prissy self was disappointed to get a little wet.

Then the water got calm again, and we were able to get an awesome view of Iguazú Falls close up.

Our zodiac guide turned out to be a decent photographer.

I thought this was it. We'd gotten pretty damn close to the falls. But then our zodiac guide told us to put everything away in the plastic bags again and to make sure everything was totally sealed. The zodiac kept chugging along, closer and closer to the cascading water.

Then we went under the falls.

Under. The. Falls.

I was screaming and ducking and closing my eyes, trying not to swallow buckets of water, but Mr. Monkey was happily whooping and hollering with his hands in the air the whole time.

How do we know this?

The zodiac guide was filming all of this with an underwater camcorder! We watched the DVD afterward -- drenched -- and laughed so hard. I can't believe I was worried about getting a *little* wet. We ended up looking like we'd gone swimming in our clothes!

After braving the downpour, we were given the opportunity to unsheath our cameras to capture the falls that had just rained on us.

Just awesome. I can't believe we went under that!

Sopping wet, we explored the Brazilian park further and saw more beautiful views of Iguazú Falls. Brazil had more spectacular panoramic vantage points than Argentina.

We found a really cool butterfly. As I was taking pictures, another butterfly flew right into my shot.

We spotted a gigantic spider, too. It was the size of my hand.

As we waited for our driver to pick us up to take us to our next destination, we found a dove and her babies nesting underneath an awning.

The dove was only a precursor to all the avian life we were about to see.

As many of you know, I don't like birds (with the glaring exception of penguins), but this park was really something. We really enjoyed it.

My second favorite bird was this toucan.

My favorite was this toucan. He was so sweet, and I loved his orange and blue.

Back at the hotel, we saw a wild toucan not far from our room!

Our hotel was surrounded by wildlife, including small capybara-like rodents called agouti. In layman's terms, they are wild guinea pigs.

Really early the next morning, Mr. Monkey took my camera and went for one last look at the falls on the lower trail while I slept.

Mr. Monkey ran into a bunch of coati, which are raccoon-like creatures that travel in bands of 20 or so. We had seen some coati yesterday, but they ran off before we could take any photos. I was so jealous when I clicked through Mr. Monkey's pictures! He said he followed them around for about 15 minutes and then sat with them as they foraged in one area for another half hour.

Later in the morning, we met at the spa for my facial and his massage before we went to the airport. We were both really glad to squeeze in a little pampering before our 11-hour flight.

This concludes our 2008 vacation pictorial!

When we got back to LAX, Mr. Monkey's luggage was nowhere to be found. It liked South America so much that it decided to stay there. We still haven't heard from it yet. We are sad about this. We wish it would come home.


  1. your photos are beautiful, mama. you inspire me to be a better photog.

    UNDER THE FALLS????? I would have pooped! dying to see the video :)

    love when mr. monkey tracks funny animals while you sleep in.


  2. no more stray dog pics?!?! At least you posted one of a stray butterfly and alligator! :)

  3. Those waterfalls are to die for!!!! So beautiful! I'd be jumping and whooping with Mr. Monkey. I love going under falls.

  4. dear monkey,

    next time you plan to feature a close-up photograph of a spider, please provide some sort of warning. i damn near jumped out of my skin.

    signed, your "w" counterpart who is extremely arachnophobic

    p.s. i am sad for mr. monkey's luggage.
    p.p.s. i wish i could have watched you freaking out under the waterfall.

  5. love these gorgeous pics. the falls, the butterflies, the toucan, and the cutie guinea pigs... i can't pick a fave subject!

  6. beautiful! i hope mr. monkey's luggage comes home soon.

  7. So, so beautiful. So, so funny with your falls story. So, so excited that you actually documented all of it for folks like me to enjoy. Welcome home!!

    P.S. I hope the luggage has been found by now. That's no bueno.

  8. wow, your trip looks so amazing!!! i want to go. and thanks for the fotos of las tortugas. me gusta mucho.

  9. i am *the worst* at getting wet when i don't expect it. i was pissed for several hours after going on a water ride once and being soaked. (um, duh, what did i expect?!) i would definitely not have been whooping and hollering had that been me, but jim would have been hysterical with laughter. hysterical

    i hope mr. monkey's luggage makes it home soon. :(

  10. The waterfall pictures are seriously awesome, and the story was pretty great too! The rodents however are another story...yick! ;)

    Sorry to hear about Mr. Monkey's MIA luggage...hope it comes home soon!

  11. The butterfly photo is amazing. You can go pro :) Urgh, that sucks about Mr. Monkey's bag. Hopefully it returns home soon.


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