Here I stand counting the seconds. As each second passes, I become amazed by the immense beauty that stands in front of me. Each second 2.5 million liters of water rush down 80 meters in front of me. Each second could fill an Olympic swimming pool. As I stand here hundreds of swimming pools are filled. Here I stand surrounded by the most beautiful waterfalls I have ever seen in my life. Here I stand with thousands of other people snapping selfies and taking videos. Here I stand trying to take in the beauty through my own lenses, trying to absorb the vastness that is Iguazu Falls.
I decided very last minute to take a trip alone to Iguazu Falls, the largest waterfall complex in the world, lying on the border of Argentina and Brazil, and less than 20 kilometers from Paraguay. The falls are divided between Argentina which has the majority of the falls, and Brazil which holds a panoramic view of the Argentinean falls. The few days before I arrived the area had gotten one of their largest rain storms in months, filling the rivers to the brim and marking the skies with gorgeous rainbows. The parks were filled with thousands of visitors from all areas of Brazil and Argentina, and from around the world. No matter what language people spoke, they found ways to communicate with each other. A visitor would ask for tickets in Portuguese, and the worker would reply in Spanish, neither caring to learn the other’s language but happy with their mutual stubbornness. I never felt as if I was in Argentina or Brazil, but rather a place in between with no set currency, language or culture. The only thing reminding me, was my phone automatically changing time zones every time I crossed the “border.”
My first day was spent on the Argentinean side of the falls which included seeing the amazing Garganta del Diablo, which on that day contained a flow of 2.5 million liters per second, creating a mist that shielded the view of the bottom. I walked along the upper and lower circuit paths in my poncho getting soaked from the powerful waterfalls. I also took a boat ride that took us right up to the falls to get a better view and get completely soaked. The next day, I went to the Brazilian side and saw the most spectacular views accompanied by rainbows and butterflies (not kidding at all).
As I stood in front of these waterfalls with thousands of other visitors, I noticed how so many people were more concerned with getting the best selfie or snap story, that they did not even take the time to admire the natural beauty around them. I myself love to take pictures and share them with my friends and family, but I also don’t think that taking pictures of a place is the same thing as really being there. I focused on seeing past the views of selfie sticks and Gopros and soaking in every moment in front of the falls. I took the time to stare into the waterfalls, thinking about how colossal and unreal it was. I took the time to go as close to the waterfall as possible, not to take a photo but to feel the water on my skin. I took the time to admire the rainbows in all their beauty that couldn’t be captured on camera. My photos from Iguazu falls are some of the most beautiful I have taken while abroad, however, my memories are even more beautiful.