20 October 2008 – day 18 - Monday

Today is our last full day of this vacation and that's very sad. Still, it's been a very fun trip. So what did we do today?

After breakfast, we got on a bus and went to the Brazilian park for Iguazu Falls. Our bus took us across the border from Argentina to Brazil, so all our passports were gathered and validated with the authorities, and that took a while.

Of course, the park is near the border, so once we crossed, it didn't take long to get to the park.

We got out and walked a path along the river that gave us fantastic views of the waterfalls.

Yesterday, the Argentinian side of the falls was incredible. I couldn't see how the views could be any better from the Brazilian side. But it was. It was just amazing.

Every place we walked, we saw a different set of waterfalls and incredible beauty.

Around every corner, we would stop and say, “Wow!” We would wonder how it could get any better.

There were rainbows everywhere.

There weren't as many butterflies

or wet T-shirts to look at. Maybe there were but I didn't notice because I was just overcome by the sheer beauty of the place.

When Kathy and I were in Africa, we saw Victoria Falls up close and personal. It was very beautiful. But believe me, Iguazu Falls is ten times better. I'd have to say that this surpasses both Torres del Paine and Machu Picchu as the most beautiful place on Earth.

The view from Argentina is great because you can get right on top of the falls. It's in-your-face. You're surrounded and engulfed by the beauty. The view from Brazil is great too because you can see the entire spectacle. You're face to face with an enormous landscape of incredible beauty painted by the Grandmaster who will never be surpassed; call him God, Yahweh, Brahma, Tao, Allah or whatever else you choose.

Naturally, we took hundreds of more photos.

After we left the park, Kathy and I went on an optional tour. The only other couple who took this tour was Dave and Roddy; the rest of them went back to the hotel. But Kathy would never stand for sitting around at the hotel. She would go crazy. So off we went.

In the optional tour, we rode on an electric cart through the jungle and then on a half-hour ride on a rubber raft with huge motors.

The raft had two huge motors that zipped us up the rapids of the river, and we saw the waterfalls again from the river below. This was yet another vantage point. Going up and down the rapids in this raft was quite a rush.

We opted to leave my camera on the docks because the boat got right up next to one of the waterfalls and splashed water on us. We were completely soaked. But it was a hot day and the water was quite exhilarating. It was great. Fortunately, we were smart and planned ahead: we packed Kathy's camera inside multiple layers of plastic bags, inside the camera bag. Nothing was damaged.

We were driven back in a jeep that had a bright green cover, and it made Kathy's face look green.

When we got back to the hotel, we visited the hotel's zoo. It was actually quite nice. There were peacocks in heat, so the males were displaying all their feathers.

There were also other birds, including toucans.

They even had tortoises.

Kathy kept trying to take photos of the Rheas, but there was one in particular that kept bothering her. At one point, it pecked at Kathy's camera, nearly damaging it. Luckily, she moved it just in time. I stood by, amused, and took photos of the two of them.

This has really been an outstanding vacation, and now I've seen the most beautiful place on Earth. I think it will be hard to choose the next vacation, but I told Kathy I would let her choose, since I picked out this one. I think I picked wisely!