What is it about waterfalls that fascinate people? We flock to the large ones, making them into tourist destinations. We hike into jungles and take long drives on vacations to find the prettiest pool at the base of falling water. If there's a waterfall at the end of a hike we'll keep going just to make it there no matter how hot or tired we are. As I came to my first site of Iguassu falls from the Brazilian side, I thought, hmmm, is that it? I instantly caught myself and berated my mind for having this thought. People dream of seeing these falls their entire lives. I came so far to see them, and I was here. Maybe I just needed a nap and that's why it wasn't wowing me.
But the first time I saw Victoria Falls its majesty brought tears to my eyes. What was wrong with me? I followed the other people as we walked the paved path. I felt a little like I was in Disneyland since I had to take a bus into the park and follow the crowd. But as I got further and further along the falls became closer. The pounding water soaked everyone in mist and the massiveness of the falls changed my perspective. This was phenomenal.
The next day I went to the Argentina side of the falls. Tired of long bus rides, a new friend and I took a taxi to the border, walked across the three mile stretch between countries in the heat, and then caught another cab to the center of town, where we took a bus to get to the falls. We were separated at this point and I had no choice but to follow the crowds once again to the base of the falls. This time, my first glance was a bit different.
Where the Brazilian side has the major part of the falls at a distance, on this side I was immersed in the power that is Iguassu. The pounding of the falls felt like the earth's heartbeat. It's not a constant sound but a swooshing every half second. The mist soaked my hair and clothing as the wind picked up, but I didn't care. These falls were the essence of nature's power and beauty.
I hiked for hours around the falls never tiring of their beauty. At the end of the day I met more friends and that night we went for dinner, had drinks, and I realized that I was ready to leave South America and head home. It was the perfect way to end two months of travel.