In the first grade, my class spent a few weeks learning about the rainforest. We even successfully executed our own production of The Great Kapok Tree—I played a very convincing bumble bee. Sixteen years later, my siblings and I decided to round off our Argentinian adventure with a visit to the exotic, semi-remote Iguazu Falls.
Based on my extensive knowledge on the South American wilderness, I knew how to prepare for our hike through the jungle. The morning of our expedition, my sister and I donned athletic gear and packed my North Face backpack with vittles and survival essentials. We shamelessly piled our plates with chocolate cake at the hotel’s breakfast buffet (carbo-loading.) We even mentally prepared ourselves by engaging in a freestyle smack talk rap battle. Yo. If you can’t handle the heat, get out of the jungle! We were ready to conquer this waterfall. My brother, on the other hand, did not share our mindset. I mean, he wanted to wear flip flops on the trek. How are you going to outrun a jaguar in sandals? Amateur.
When we arrived at the park, I realized that we were not actually in the Argentinian heart of darkness—we were at Disneyland. First of all, though we left Buenos Aires to seek refuge from the city’s hoards of people, the crowds found us here in Iguazu. (Evidently, the national park isn’t a secret!) The other tourists, sporting heels and sundresses, did not seem to be taking the hike that seriously. Plus, despite the natural surroundings, the park itself felt artificially rugged, like a jungle-themed amusement park.
Where were the exotic flora and fauna? Pathways to danger? Excitement? Instead, all I could see were colorful signs, paved trails and food courts, selling overpriced concessions.
Oh yeah, and amazing views.
Two thumbs up! Fun for the whole family.