Iguazu Falls, Iguazú Falls, Iguassu Falls or Iguaçu Falls? On one side of the falls the Brazilians call them Cataratas do Iguaçu, on the other side the Argentenians call them Cataratas del Iguazú. I had decided to adopt the Brazilian way when I discovered we would be staying in Foz do Iguacu, then we arrived at our accommodation, Iguassu Eco Hostel. Hell, if even the locals are confused, what hope do I have?
Ginger, a former resident of Brasil, commented on my blog today how she loved the people, their warmth, friendliness, eagerness to please. I'm so thankful that a 5 day stay at the Eco Hostel, gave me the opportunity to get to know some of the local staff quite well. Bernie enlisted the help of Fatima, our dinner waitress, to procure a birthday cake for me. She went out of her way to oblige. She was so unassuming with a gentle manner and soft smile, the best thing about dinner each night. (The food was mediocre at best.)
I felt a bond with little Elizabet, the maid and breakfast assistant. She didn't speak English and knew I didn't speak Portuguese but that didn't stop her from trying to chat. Sometimes we even managed to understand each other! Other times I'd wave a hand in the direction of our room and say "Filho" (son) and wait for Bernie to interpret for us.
The day we went to Itaipu Dam I hung clothes on the outside clothesline. It rained while we were away, I expected to have to put the clothes through another spin cycle but a good fairy had moved them from the outside line to a line under cover. The clothes were still wet when I went to bed, so I left them there. When I went to move them again in the morning before breakfast, they were already back on the line in the morning sunshine. I asked at Reception who the good fairy might be but the dopey receptionist was on duty (he was the only staff member that wasn't consistently helpful). I checked again later in the day and got an answer. It had been Elizabet. I really wanted to thank her myself and not rely on Bernie so I translated a message on the tablet. That didn't work, (Bernie discovered later she was from Uruguay) but I think she eventually got the message.
The morning after my birthday Elizabet kept asking me the same thing over and over. I knew she was asking how something and thought it was how many but figured she couldn't possibly be asking how old I was. I mean, a waitress would never do that here and I have no idea if that is acceptable in her culture. This time it was her who indicated she would wait for Bernie to interpret. Yes, that's what she wanted to know - how old I was. I didn't notice her chatting to other guests as she did with Bernie, he does have a way with people. He found out she has never been to the falls that morning and we were leaving later that day. Otherwise I think he would have found a way to take her there. He has kind heart.
When Bernie had made the booking for us he had another hostel in mind but I think he stumbled upon a real gem of a place when he booked us into the Eco Hostel.
They told us it was a five minute walk to the falls entrance and I thought yeah right, how long for someone my age? It was 500 metres down a dirt road from the main road then a few metres to the park entrance and even I could do that in five minutes. So close yet a world apart. Its inside the national park, surrounded by jungle-like forest and feels remote and private.
The grounds are tranquil, peaceful, lovely to wander around in the evening when the birds noisily swooped down into the huge trees. It was great to relax beside the pool as the daylight faded and listen to the night animals kick off. And, oh boy, whatever they were, they made a racket. After dark little fireflies dance around in the darkness outside the restaurant. That's the simple outdoor restaurant in the background of the shot below.
Loved this place and loved its people. I will long remember the kindness of Elizabet and Fatima.
He aha te mea nui o te ao?
- He tangata! He tangata! He tangata!
- What is the most important thing in the world?
It is people! It is people! It is people!