Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wet and wild in Brazil

"You will get 100% wet." That was Anderson, here at the Hotel das Cataratas in Brazil at Iguazu Falls, when we were preparing for our boat trip not just along the river but, disquietingly, "under the falls". These would be the falls where 1.4 million litres of water thunder over the escarpment every second. Images of boats full of water, disappearing under the surface, never to be seen again...

After more fuss and waiting about than you could imagine (apparently, it's a Brazilian thing; it's strangely un-mollifying to consider that it would be worse in India) we got settled into our inflatable and set off upstream over churning, moiling water and some actual rapids, for a view of part of this astonishingly long series of waterfalls. Then it was time to tuck our cameras away as we entered The Devil's Throat, a canyon obscured by swirling clouds of spray, where the boat flirted with some heavy-duty falls, skipping around the edge, close enough for us to feel the wind and be blinded by the spray - and then nosed up into the cascading water, which drenched us completely without - some skill here, happily - filling the boat.

It was fun, if silly, and the water was pleasantly warm; and then afterwards we zipped along fast enough to blow-dry our hair; though we were stuck with the historical sensation of wet pants for the rest of the afternoon. I was completely diverted, though, by a large family of coatis, busily looking for food up and down tree-trunks, on top of rubbish bins and inside people's bags left carelessly on the ground. Very sweet and cute, and the symbol of Iguazu Falls my brochure tells me, saying they "may occasionally be seen". Only everywhere we went.

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