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Tuesday, September 21, 2004


The Iguacu Falls

I´d heard that the world´s biggest waterfall was the Iguacu Falls, but that´s not strictly accurate.

It turns out that the world´s biggest waterfall is one of the Iguacu Falls. On the border between Argentina and Brazil, the river Iguacu (or Iguazu if you´re in Argentina) hits a series of cliffs and produces some waterfalls.

About two hundred and seventy waterfalls, in fact. (Not all of them are very big waterfalls, it´s true, but still - two hundred and seventy)!

Argentina got most of the waterfalls, and seems to have named most of them after its generals (one got named after General Belgrano, which is a name that springs to mind when you think of churning water...). Brazil got a nice view of Argentina´s waterfalls. And they both got to share the biggest one: the Devil´s Throat.

I have one word for the Devil´s Throat: awesome. And I mean it in the classic, not the mallrat sense. To see, to hear the Iguacu Falls is to be struck by awe. The sheer volume of the waterfall is amazing: it throws up a cloud of vapor that you can see for a mile, hanging like woodsmoke over the fall. There´s the incredible roar of the water, there´s the spray hitting you in the face, but what I remember best is the swifts. Hundred of these little birds wheel above the falls, and every so often one of them breaks out of the flock and dives into the spray like a Stuka, to pluck a bug out of the air. There is the rest of the park, with the other 269 waterfalls (on the Brazilian side you get the panoramas, on the Argentinian side you get up close and personal). And on the Argentinian side, there are speedboats that will take you under some of the smaller waterfalls. (They´re not kidding about that either. Wear cheap shoes and bring a change of clothes. But you´ll be glad you stuck around for the ride)...

The parks themselves are so-so; Iguacu is sub-tropical and, frankly, not as impressive as the interior of Phuket as far as jungle goes. But hey, you´re not there for the jungle, are you? You´re there for the waterfalls. And they´re worth the trip: certainly the trip from Rio, and possibly the trip from England.

And, partly in honor of this magnificent sight, I have decided to rename my blog-

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