Friday, April 12, 2013

Travel Log/Another Day in Paradise

I'm a slacker. It's been 3 months since my last confession, er, I mean blog entry. So much has happened. I have been accused by two different people of being on a continuous vacation. And, I'm sure there are others out there who are thinking the same thing, but aren't brave enough to point the finger. This actually makes me laugh. This has been the hardest year of my life! But, truthfully, I have been able to see and experience some amazing places and things, and I am truly blessed to have this privilege.  I won't pretend that I am living a life of poverty and deprivation, but, I am without a lot of luxuries to which I have become accustomed, I find myself lost in a sea of unfamiliar words and traditions, and most importantly, I am without my (extended) family and dear friends. The special trips that we have been able to take have definitely eased my discomfort. :) So, I will write about one of those trips today:

Last month, my parents came to visit. What a treat!!! I have never before fully appreciated how much I love and appreciate them until now. Isn't that sad? I vow to try from here on out to truly value special people and relationships-- in the moment-- not just when I am without those people and relationships. Another lesson learned from this wild adventure!

Anyway, we had a wonderful time! (At least, I did!) We took a road trip to the Iguassu Falls. (I can't insert the little c with the squiggly thing on the bottom here. So, I spelled it with "ss". Spelling Freaks--please forgive me.) This was a 15 hour drive on---let's call them, "interesting"---roads. We had to take two cars to facilitate all the people. This means that I had to drive one car, following Tom. We had a few close calls, but, thankfully, we were not separated. And, I might add here another example of Brazilian generosity: Our neighbors, Daniel and Patricia, insisted that we take one of their cars, instead of renting a car. Who loans their car to a neighbor for a 30 hour road trip?! We are very grateful!!

The drive was beautiful. But, the Falls were SPECTACULAR! I will post some pictures here: (These pictures don't even do it justice. It was absolutely incredible!)

That's my mom in South America! Who woulda thunk?

There are 275 falls that stretch over 5 kilometers! This is only a small portion.

Devil's Throat? I'm not sure...
This is why you don't wait for a month to write about your experiences. Let that be a lesson to all you young'uns!

We got to walk out on a platform and experience the "mist" (more like a driving, pelting rain) from the falls. Our flimsy "ponchos" were no match.
The wind created by the falls was powerful!


After hiking around the extensive falls, we got to take a thrilling, high speed (I'm not even exaggerating here) boat ride right up underneath the falls!

Tessa holding her poncho, like it's going to offer some protection. haha

Nobody was able to keep their eyes open to take a good picture... It was awesome!
These little critters were all over the place. Tom told me (after we were all inside the park with my backpack full of snacks) that there was a warning to not carry food inside the park, because these animals are very aggressive, and have been known to climb up a person, grab an unopened bag of chips right out of your hand, and rip into it. They were swarming our lunch spot, and actually climbed up on our table and stole Jaden's hot dog. (Thankfully, he was finished with it.)
While we were down by the Falls, we were able to go to a bird sanctuary. It was really cool. We were able to walk around in some of the enclosures, up close and personal.

Parque das Aves

LOVED the toucans!

These guys liked to buzz our heads.
We all got a chance with the McCaws:

We went to a dinner/dance show with typical dances and music from all over Latin America and with a delicious buffet and churrasco: (Tom's favorite dance was the Samba--Carnival style--complete with string bikini and Vegas-style headdresses) ;)

Overall, it was a really fun trip, made even better by our new/old friends, Paini and Admir. Tom served a mission with Paini 20 years ago, and she and her husband welcomed our whole family into their home like we were family. (Brazilians!) Paini recommended and set up all of our tours and experiences and Admir took the day off of work to guide us around the Falls. Their hospitality and graciousness were unsurpassed!
Awesome trip, made even better by new friends and "old" family. (There's no one older than my dad!) Iguassu Falls--definitely a Bucket List/Must See wonder of the world!

Stay tuned for an exciting adventure to Sao Luis do Maranhao, Brazil...

1 comment:

  1. It's about time, my friend!!!! I'm so glad you got your mom and dad there. I miss mine so much to and would love to see them. You look great. Miss your face!:)