I was seriously dreading leaving Paraty. I liked the city and I could (almost) find my way around it without getting lost. That plus leaving meant a 6 hour bus ride to Sao Paulo followed by a 16 hour bus ride to Foz Iguacu. Not ideal. My first 6 hours were totally fine. It could have been way shorter but the bus stopped for 30 minutes every 2 hours. Such a waste of time! I made friends with some old man that would talk to me in Portuguese and I would respond back in Spanish. I think we both got about a ⅓ of the conversation but he was very excited to talk to someone from NY. I arrived at Sao Paulo and I was a little nervous because I couldn’t tell what bus station I was suppose to leave from – there are 3 in the city. Sao Paulo is the biggest city in the all of South America and the traffic is known for being especially bad. I lucked out! The same bus station I arrived at would be the one I left from. Two hours to kill at the bus station, NBD. I found a little cafe with big comfy booths and an old man playing piano. At first I thought the man worked for the cafe but it turned out that is was just an open piano. I spent the next hour or so listening to three different old man – the youngest probably 70’s and the oldest probably late 80’s play piano. It was adorable. I loved it. At one point a little girl who was probably 7 went up and played BINGO – the old men gave her a standing ovation. Too adorable for words.
My next bus ride was quite nice. The space was huge. I was comfy. I took a Tylenol PM and slept for almost the entire trip. The next day I arrived at Foz do Iguacu – the Brazilian side of the falls. I checked into a hostel called Favela Chic. It was interesting – lots of cool art but it was a little down on it’s luck. Fit the name I guess. I spent the majority of the day wandering around the falls. It was beautiful. It is a national park and very well run. Once you buy your ticket you get in line for a bus that takes you to various attractions of the park – waterfall trail, safari area, eco school and a food court area. The first thing I noticed was that there were so many butterflies that it looks like leaves are falling from the trees. Instead it was hundreds of little yellow butterflies just floating past the bus. It was really neat to see. I walked along the waterfall route and at each lookout the views got better and better. I was totally in my own little world when I felt a tap on my shoulder. My Swedish roommates from Paraty! It was fun to run into them again. That was right before the Devil’s Throat which is biggest of the falls. It was gorgeous. I got pretty soaked but the views were absolutely worth it.
While walking around the falls I saw a kid in a coati hat! Coatis are a raccoon like animal that Courtney, Katie and I saw in Guatemala. While we were in Guatemala we saw them in their natural habitat and it was really cool. Here the coati were mean and dirty and would steal your food if they saw it. How rude. But, I mean, a chance to wear a coati hat… who says no? I ended up playing dress up in the gift shop! The women who worked there clearly thought I was nuts.
The hostel must have had 50 beds but there were only 4 of us staying there. Me, two Dutch girls and an Italian guy. The night manager, Pedro was a crazy man. I think he was lonely and really wanted tell us about his dream to live in the forest and eat berries. I don’t think it was just the berries drawing him to the forest, he was clearly high. The dutch girls and I decided to leave and go find some dinner. After that we made it an early night. Pedro seemed a little bummed.
The next day the rain started. Rainforests live up to their names. When it rains, it pours! I didn’t want to waste the day though so I headed out for the bird park. The birds didn’t disappoint – there were still out and about for the most part. The Parque de Aves is a bird sanctuary that has a ton of different kinds of birds. When I first walked in their habitats didn’t seem too special, just big bird cages. The park was huge though and there were some giant habitats that you could walk through. I got to the first big one which was the Amazonian habitat. No one was around. It was raining. The metal doors said you had to open one, go inside a short caged walkway, close the first door and then open the second door – for safety. The whole time I was thinking.. OMG, I in Jurassic Park. It’s pouring rain, I’m surrounded by metal gates and a giant dinosaur is about to rip some man off the toilet. Whatever you do – do not flash the light in T-Rex’s face! It was so creepy! Obviously it turned out fine and was actually really cool. The toucans were probably my favorite. The macaw aviary was also really cool but seemed almost staged with all the feeding areas. Holding a macaw was cool as well! I spent about 3 hours. I was totally soaked and super beat. Back at the hostel everyone ended up huddled together under blankets in the common area. Pedro showed up with movies – Wolf of Wall Street and Saving Mr. Banks. Score one for Pedro!
It was still raining the next day. Maybe even harder then the day before. Oh the joy. I waited in the rain for the bus, said goodbye to Brazil and crossed over into Argentina. I decided rather than getting another crappy hostel to just but my backpack in a locker area, go see the Argentina side of the falls for the day and take an overnight bus to Buenos Aires. It was a good decision but between the rain and the time crunch I was pretty rushed seeing the Argentine side of the falls. The Brazil side have grand views from above and from far away. The Argentina side has catwalks that take you right up close to the falls. There is a train that takes you to the three different trails. The upper trail to see the falls from above. The lower trail to see the falls either from below or pretty close up. The third trail was the one I was most excited about – the Devil’s Throat trail. Unfortunately all the rain had flooded the trail, the water was too high so it was closed. That was a bummer but the two trails that were open we impressive. The lower trail was definitely the best of the two. Even in the pouring rain it was cool to be walking along the waterfalls.
After all that nature I was ready for some city living! That night I took my nicest bus yet from Puerto Iguazu to Buenos Aires. We were served a hot dinner. Airplane style but slightly better tasting. We also got wine with the meal. After that there were cookies and champagne for desert. The bus had movies – Fast & Furious 5 (particularly cool watch having just been in Rio), a dubbed movie of Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez (name??) and finally 12 Years a Slave. I cannot handle movies about slavery so that part was awful but I tried to just put in my headphones and block it out. Overall the bus ride was really was nice. I have another bus ride coming up tomorrow but I’m not even dreading it after that!
Buenos Aires has been amazing and exhausting – lots of updates to come! Thank you for reading and I love the comments!