Monday, July 13, 2009

Foz do Iguacu

One of my favorite television shows back in 1966 was "Tarzan" on NBC starring Ron Ely. The show had a very impressive opening with Tarzan standing a rock outcropping before many spectacular waterfalls giving his Tarzan call. This was a truly inspiring opening to a show that often failed to meet even modest expectations. Perhaps it is only fitting that the opening was based upon a lie as well as ignorance of geography. The opening scenes of each show were filmed in Brasil and not Africa.

Tarzan in the Edgar Rice Burrough's novels as well as films of the late 1930's and 40's lived in Africa and not South America although I distinctly remember a movie where he did visit New York City - which some people refer to as a concrete jungle.

Ignoring history as well as geography, the opening scenes were filmed at Foz do Iguacu or Catarates de Iguassu at the conjunction of Brasil, Argentina and Paraguay. The raw majesty and beauty of this natural wonder of the world was too great for the director to ignore.

Foz do Iguacu is the world's largest waterfall. Various sources list the number of individual waterfalls located there as ranging from 234 to 275. I have been fortunate to have visited the falls on two separate occasions while I was working in Araucaria, Brasil. The exact and specific number of waterfalls depends upon the season as well as rainfall conditions for the year. I visited in April and later in the year returned in order to photograph the falls under a full moon. I have been fortunate so far in my life to have had the resources as well as determination to fulfil my whimsies. Although my attempt to photograph the falls under the full moon was not successful, walking out and along the falls under the guard of Park Rangers was memorable and worth the trip. Just as I had returned to Machu Picchu a second time to take some missed shots from my first trip but with a new camera, I returned home fully satisfied.

Foz Iguacu is a unique location. The mists generated by the waterfalls creates a rain forest micro climate that is home to many exotic flora and fauna. The falls are surrounded by lands reserved as a national park. The highest fall is called "Garganta do Diablo" (The Devil's Throat). The Devil's Throat is 1-1/2 times higher than Niagara Falls. Speedy tour boats take people to the base of the falls. The power of the falls experienced up close is thrilling - the roar of thousands and thousands gallons of water plummeting 266 feet to your location on the river is memorable. Hundreds of sparrow type birds live in cracks, alcoves, and recesses on the rocky cliff behind the falls.

After initially being introduced to this natural marvel through the magic of television, it was a treat to actually visit the falls and totally experience the location.

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