Monday, September 19, 2011

Bouchercon Hiatus: Iguaçu

For this, my second and final contribution to our 2011, Bouchercon Hiatus, I've chosen a post from the 5th of July, 2010.

It's all about a place which plays a major role in Perfect Hatred, scheduled to be released in North America in 2012.

There was a time when I was constantly shuttling back-and-forth between São Paulo and Buenos Aires. In those days, there was (probably still is) an Aerolíneas Argentinas flight between the two cities that always got my preference. It wasn’t the fastest, because it wasn’t direct, but it was the most convenient. It left at a reasonable hour in the morning and still got me to BA in time for meetings in the afternoon.

But convenience wasn’t the only reason I preferred that flight. I preferred it, too, because it made a stop in Iguaçu – and, from the aircraft, I always had a spectacular view of the waterfalls.

There are 275 of them, stretching over a distance of three kilometers. 

The average height is eighty meters. (Niagara’s average height is 53.)

At one place, the Devil’s Throat, 13,000 cubic meters of water, per second, flow over a horseshoe-shaped 90 meter cliff. (About five times what flows over Niagara.)  You can rent a helicopter, if you like, and get really close. It’s an adrenaline rush to be surrounded by tons of falling water on three sides.

August through November is the best time to go. That’s the period of heaviest rainfall, when things are at their most spectacular.

As you’ll note from the map, part of the falls are in Brazil and part in Argentina. Which side should you go to? Well, actually, you should go to both.

From Brazil, you get the best general views.

From Argentina, you get closer to the action.
The tripartite border between ArgentinaBrazil and Paraguay is only about twenty kilometers from the falls. 

To get to the Paraguayan city of Ciudad del Este all you have to do is walk across the Friendship Bridge.
Why would you want to?
Well, aside from the unique opportunity to chalk-up a visit to three South American countries in a single day, it’s because you get to visit the greatest smuggling center in all of the Americas.

You can get anything in Ciudad del Este.
Had enough of the sleaze?
Return to the falls to cleanse your mind.
Brazilian side, Argentinean side, it doesn’t matter. Rainbows, spray, roaring water, parrots flying over green jungle, they’ve all been wowing visitors since 1541.

That’s when the Spanish Conquistador Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca (pictured above) first set eyes on them. And it was an Indian burial ground for untold centuries before that.
The waterfalls of Iguaçu/Iguazu. (The Argentineans spell it with a “z”.)

They’ve waiting for you.

Leighton - Monday


  1. You say adrenaline rush; I say stark terror.

    I can't imagine being in a helicopter, another name for flying insect on skies, and being, for all intents and purposes surrounded by water, the most powerful force on earth. The reason the water falls is because it has carved a place for it to fall into, slowly but steadily probably since time began.

    That they are magnificent is without question. That they are extremely dangerous is also without question. They attract desperate people who do desperate things, perhaps mesmerized by the power of the falls.

    I think Brazil wins in the view contest. It looks, based on the picture, that someone on the Brazil side can be led to believe that they are alone with God's sideshow.

  2. Just breathtaking. Nature made such beauty and we tend to surround these places with so much junk.

  3. I can't wait to visit this place this coming December for Christmas vacation.

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