So, the following Friday and Monday were feriados (holidays). Friday was the “100th anniversary of an important figure” (the answer I got when I asked), so it was a one-time thing, and Monday was Día de la Bandera (Flag Day), which was actually last Thursday, but they decided to put the holiday on Monday (strange, right?). So, my roommates and I embarked on what we thought would be a 17-hour bus ride (it was actually 18) to Puerto Iguazú. I slept most of the ride, so it wasn’t bad at all. When we got there Saturday afternoon, we were determined to make the most of our time, so walked about 2 miles to Hito Tres Fronteras, pictured below.
Although this may look like a sunset landscape, if you checked out the link above, you’d know that it’s more than just that.
Standing at the edge of Argentina, I am, indeed, overlooking Brazil (on the right) and Paraguay (on the left). It felt like the Cumberland Gap (where Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia meet), but better.
Given that both countries were this close, you are probably wondering if I went there. Well, let me tell you about it. The following day, we had plans to visit the Cataratas del Iguazú (Iguazú waterfalls). The waterfalls are on the border between Argentina and Brazil, so we could visit them from either side. Because we wanted to go to Brazil, we considered going to that side. Remember that I’m from Mauritius? So, I went online to check whether I needed a visa for Brazil, and according to visaHQ, I did. However, we had talked to a bunch of people back in Buenos Aires who had told me I did not need a visa because Brazil had lifted the visa requirements for all countries due to the Rio 2016 Olympics (Lies! The visa requirement is only lifted for the US, Canada, Australia and Japan). Someone even told us that there was a 50km (~31 miles) grace period for non-visa holders (More lies!). You see where this is going, right? So when we got to the hostel in Iguazú, I asked the lady at the reception desk whether I needed a visa, she said no, but that she was not certain, and that I should ask before I buy my bus ticket there and that they’ll know for sure. We head to the bus station, and before making the purchase, I asked the lady whether I needed a visa, since I’m from Mauritius. “No, you only need your passport,” she assured me (all in Spanish). Therefore, I get on the bus, out of Argentina, and into Brazil. Right after we passed the border, the bus driver collects all of our passports to get them stamped, and guess what? Yes, he comes back with mine, and says “Necesitas visa” (You need a visa). At this point, I laugh to myself and get off the bus. My roommates, with whom I became really good friends, refuse to go without me, and get off too. Together, we wait on the border for the driver to pick us up on his way back (I can now cross off getting deported from my bucket list).
After that, we went back to Argentina and checked out the falls from that side. We hiked about 10 miles that day, and I saw the most beautiful sight ever.
At sunset, we took a boat trip in the river and under the waterfalls, and although scary, it was also exhilarating!
On the ride back, we met a couple who had been to the US before. The woman who did not speak any English told us how she thought Americans were positive because she kept seeing ‘exit’ everywhere, and believed it had something to do with being successful (in Spanish, success = éxito).
That night, at the hostel, I met a French girl and a German, whose name was Hanz (doesn’t get more German) and who spoke about 5 languages.
The next day, we walked around downtown Iguazú, before getting on the bus back. On the way back, the DVD system was working so I got to watch a movie, all in Spanish, and it felt great ’cause I understood everything! We were also stopped by the police in the middle of the night who checked the bus for Paraguayans trying to enter Argentina illegally, and also for human trafficking, I was told. I’m not exactly sure how they do that, but they went through my stuff extensively, and I’m inclined to think it was due to my skin colour since no one else was searched that thoroughly.
I got back home the next day, ready for my last week in Buenos Aires!