I think we appreciated this vacation so much as it almost didn’t happen.  The Buenos Aires city airport, Aeroparque, is the airport for all domestic flights and it is currently under construction, as they “planned” to extend the runway.  They decided to move all domestic flights to Ezeiza, the BA International Airport, and it has been entertaining to watch the transition.  The politics and internal fighting is humorous from a distance, however the day prior to our trip, I was not laughing.  LAN Airlines – our airline to Iguazu – decided they could not go on under such stressful conditions at their temporary location, so in the tradition of Argentine conflict resolution, a strike was born.  Some of our friends who were scheduled to go to Iguazu on Wednesday never made it.  Their flights were canceled due to the strike and they could not reschedule without missing school.  Somewhere in the wee hours of Thursday morning and after a little payola under the table to the unions, LAN airlines determined they were able to endure the hardship once more and resume operations.   However, in addition to this strike, Lyndsey was doubled over in pain on Wednesday evening after skating, she came up from a sit spin and was wincing with pain barely able to walk.  We were on the phone with the doctor at midnight, who by the way, was going to come to our home at 5:00 am to check on Lyndsey as we were leaving at 6:00am.  Can you imagine, these are the differences we love.  We feared she had torn something, but after filling her with Tylenol and finally getting her to sleep, we woke her at 4:00 am and she was very happy to be pain free. We phoned our doctor, threw our bags in the remise and headed to the airport hoping for the best.

What I love about Argentina is absolutely every single day is an episode of the Amazing Race!  Everything is a mystery and nothing is ever easy.  So we get to the airport not even knowing if our flight will actually even take off, and we see across the way two other X-pat families who we know are on the same flight, we soon realize we have all been dropped off at the wrong terminal as evidentially a major change was made and no one bothered to provide any signage or communication…shocking !  Immediately my competitive race instincts kick in and The Amazing Race begins, I must be the first to figure out the right terminal.   We all eventually figure it out and end up in the same terminal. But of course when we get there our ticket says one gate, the flight board says another, and the “agents” are telling us a completely different one.  What’s most amazing, this does not even phase me, this is my life in Argentina.    I get a major pat down from security, and after a while a man comes in yelling Iguazu and we follow the herd.  With no notification or explanation, the flight finally takes off one hour after it was scheduled.  We are just so relieved it actually took off and we are on our way, we are all smiles.  We have all learned during our time here to keep our expectations low and hope for the best.  What a terrible way for a society to live, I prefer to keep my expectations high, but this can only be done in a country as free as ours, God Bless America.

We had a few minutes to relax on the plane then we are off looking for our next clue to continue the race.

There is one lucky hotel inside the national park and it does not disappoint.  From the minute you walk up to the door you are one with the falls.

We had an  incredible boat ride that took us right up to bottom of the falls.  We all recognized this would never be an option in the US.  Not even if there were lawyers and notarized waivers involved.  This is one of the things we love about Argentina.  It was hard to get the full impact as there are around 250 falls in the entire national park, but I managed to capture a few perspectives.

I have to admit, I was missing our strict codes and regulations during our zipline and water repel adventure.  We managed to get a few photos but no video. We drove about 40 minutes deep into the jungle and ended up at our destination.  There were 12 of us in the group and within a few minutes of getting off the bus, I somehow was the first of all of us to go screaming into the trees. There was never any “here’s how this is going to work”, “here is what you are going to do”, “you need to sign this waiver before you go up”. It was climb this “ladder” that sways as you are climbing 50 feet to the top of the tree line, where this Spanish speaking dude will hook you up and push you off the tiny platform where we need all 4 of you to stand and not fall off . The plan on the ground was I would go first and wait for Lauryn at the end so I could help her.  I did not know we zipped from on tree location to the next and had to climb an even flimsier ladder at each platform!  After the first zip I saw what they wanted us to climb and I was reaching for every Spanish word I knew to say, “no way in hell I am I letting my daughters climb that on their own”, in which he told me in perfect English “move”.  I was yelling and praying to Lauryn through the trees to hold on tight and be careful.  Once again the Parker family makes a great impression, I imagine they are still talking about me! When I got to the bottom and removed my gear, I looked up to see Lauryn zipping at the highest possible speed yelling yahoo!!!!!!!!!  I learned quickly after my initial push how to make my zip line go slower and I used that technique often. Lauryn hit the guy at the last station at full impact and she was begging to do it again.  I said maybe we can find one in the states that is a little more regulated.  I never got to see Lyndsey take off but Doug says she was quite brave and she was all smiles on her way to the finish.   The adventure went on to the waterfall repel.   Once again we were fuzzy on the details, and as we all came to the realization that we would be repelling backwards down the face of the falls , our reactions were mixed, but we all did it!

On our way to the airport, our driver surprised us by suggesting he take us to the Triple Border, which is the  junction of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil, where the Iguazu and the Parana rivers converge.  I am not usually in agreement with foreign taxi drivers suggesting that we take an alternative route, but in this case we were glad he did.   It was very cool!

We can’t wait until our next adventure, thank you for letting us share our journey.

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