My first official weekend out of Asuncion was the weekend of September 20. Twelve of my closest friends and I rented 2 vans, and on Friday after school drove about 270 miles, which took at least 8 hours, through 3 countries and 4 border crossings, to Iguazu Falls. So why did we go to one of the 7 wonders of the natural world on a measley 2-day weekend, when we had a 4-day break the very next week? Well one of the planners of the group found out that there was a 10k/half marathon there that weekend! Almost everyone in the new group of teachers is a runner, so it was a good excuse to check it out.
Friday we just drove and drove and drove. The border into and out of Brazil is hilarious because stopping is totally optional, and no one bothers you if you just drive straight through without stopping, so that's what we did. We were slowed down a little by a road closure and none of our phone/map apps working in Brazil, and a little more by a hotel that was hard to find. It would have been really easy to find if the town of Puerto Iguazu had more street signs, but seriously. How the heck are you supposed to find ANYTHING without street signs? Plus Argentina time is an hour later. So we arrived between 1 and 2 a.m. We warned the hostel that we were going to be late, but the guy who was supposed to be waiting up for us had fallen asleep. The place had a fence all around it and no doorbell to be found. What to do? The smallest in our group climbed over the fence, scared the crap out of the guy but at least woke him up, and we went in, wound down, and crashed. After all, the run was the next morning!
On Saturday we got up and early as we could and all got ready to go. There was some complication with paying and what currency to use, so unfortunately we hit the road a little later than we were hoping. This was bad because WE DIDN'T HAVE TIME TO GET COFFEE. Yep, you read that right, I was expected to run 6.2 miles on hills in the humidity with no caffeine in my system.
But I did it.
It was hard, but I'd been warned that it was a tough course. Either you were running uphill, or running down a hill but just thinking about how you'd have to run up it on the way back. So the run was okay, but truly, it was nothing compared to the rest of the weekend! After the run we all cheered on our friend Ali, the only one who ran the half marathon, then entered the park in search of COFFEEohmygodineedsomecaffeine oh and food would be nice too. We ate and drank and set out to see what was the big deal about this place anyway.
Now seems like a good time to tell you some facts about Iguazu. Niagara Falls is 1/3 shorter than Iguazu, and when Eleanor Roosevelt saw Iguazu Falls, she said, "Poor Niagara!" Not to dis Niagara Falls. Iguazu is the 2nd widest falls in the world, after Victoria Falls in Africa. I haven't been to those places. I've also read that Niagara is nice but SUPER touristy, and Iguazu less so.
Anyway, we took 2 trains up to the "Garganta del diablo" or Devil's Throat. We walked on the longest ever walkway across the widest river I've ever seen. It just kept going. And then...
really... what is there to say after that?