It all started with my 1st work trip to Argentina in 2013. I added a week of vacation to the end of the trip so I could explore Argentina a bit. I asked my Argentinian coworkers what I should see and Marisol jumped in to tell me what I will do and that she would help me arrange the whole thing. I asked a lot of questions and Marisol told me “It’ll be fine” and to go with it. Thanks Marisol.
The plan was to send me off to Iguazu, to Salta, then back to Buenos Aires. At this point I didn’t know the home of yerba mate in Argentina is Iguazu. Marisol and my other friends convinced me that hostels are the way to go in Argentina. I was hesitant because all I knew was what I saw in the “Hostel” movies that didn’t end well for tourists. I just went with it though. It was one of the best trips of my life and made me fall in love with Argentina.
I flew up to Iquazu and made it to the “Hostel-Inn” and was pleasantly surprised. It looked like a cheaper hotel with a pool, big lobby, etc. I checked into my shared room that had 2 bunk beds. My first night reminds me of an easier version of the 1st night Andy is in jail in the Shawshank Redemption movie. I slept in all my clothes (including my shoes), with my passport, wallet, keys, and phone in my pockets. My back against the wall (another thing learned in movies). Pointy part of my keys between my fingers ready to defend myself. Throughout the night people would come in and out of the room packing/unpacking and I just had to trust that none of them would take me captive. No one did, I survived, and learned to trust humanity a bit more. Now that I think back to it, they were probably more afraid of me, the guy sleeping in all his clothes.
The 1st day in Iguazu was like being in Jurassic park. It was one of the most unbelievable places I have ever seen. Everything was so green and I could see through the greenery these awesome waterfalls. You could walk across these metal walkways that were directly over top of the falls. My safety first US attitude had me staying in the middle of the walkways, hands on the railings. Meanwhile others were bending backwards over the railings taking selfies down the falls. I chose not to partake in backwards selfies. A lot of parks in the US are so safety oriented that you lose the intimacy with nature. You need to stay so far away that you don’t feel part of it. Iguazu let me experience the pure power of the falls from the top and sides.
The 2nd night I hung out with some other hostel guests and like any random night in Argentina, a lot of fernet and cokes were finished. I remember going to bed very late and hearing music out the window, looked out, and saw it coming from a bar next door with people wearing heavy jackets and winter hats. An IceBar in tropical Iguazu. The music and fernet helped ease me to sleep. No murders or torture occurred that night either. I think I even took my shoes off.
I spent the entire 2nd day with Graciana, a fellow hostel guest, Argentinian, and overall awesome person. This time we took another perspective in the park spending more time in the lower part of the falls. We took a boat tour which gives you a whole other perspective of the power of the falls when you aren’t even under the falls yet getting absolutely soaked and getting your contact lenses bounced around your eyeballs. No contact lenses were lost, a small success. We then went to the Iguazu city center to walk around and to see the point where Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina all meet. She suggested I buy some yerba mate from the home of yerba mate so I did just that. When I drink my mate today, it transports me a little bit to my Iguazu adventures and the people I met along the way.
The following day I flew out to Salta to start my next adventure. In Salta, I learned that a power breakfast could consist of sugar and a piece of bread. Also that a shower could serve multiple purposes…