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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Butterfly Factory

From Buenos Aires, we were supposed to have gone to Uruguay after applying for our visas. But after finding out that the embassy that it is going to take them 10 to 14 working days to process our visa, we dumped that idea.

Unfortunately, dumping that idea also meant that there was no point hanging around in Buenos Aires anymore. So even though there was a free tango lesson organised by the hostel on a Wednesday evening, we decided that it paying for one extra night stay was not worth the free tango lesson. So while the rest of the people in the hostel checked out the tango, we were ensconced in the front seats of a double-decker coach, on our way to Puerto Iguazu on a dark and stormy night!

Now, the Iguazu Falls is one of our main checkpoints for this trip, much like Yellowstone National Park, Pittsburgh and Machu Picchu. The main attraction is naturally the Falls. But I was seriously amazed that the people I know who have visited this place have never, ever mentioned the proliferation of butterflies to me.

These fluttery-buttery flies were all over us, from the moment we got on the in-park train to get to the area of the Falls known as the Devil's Throat. I guess while us normal people tend to get butterflies in the stomach, the Devil just plays around with them in his throat? Anyway, these winged insects were flitting all over us, and had no qualms about landing on us to taste our sweaty skin.

Incredibly brave butterfly just landed on my hand. I felt like Snow White!

Check out the proboscis!

We were at first quite certain that butterflies sorta mistook us for giant walking flowers, but once they realised that we were salty from sweat instead of sweet from pollen, they would fly off. But noooooo.... these little buggers literally hitched a ride with us for as long as they wanted, happily probing us all the way.

Thumbs up for the bold and the beautiful!

Thumb butterfly just wouldn't go away!

Since they were so tame, we practiced the art of transferring butterflies

There was quite a variety of butterflies too. Here are a few more that we managed to get relatively good shots of.

The Yellow Mudlicker

The Veeisforvaterfall Butterfly

The Clownfishwing Butterfly

The Stupidmetalballsinaplasticmazepuzzlethingy Butterfly

There were a couple of other varieties that we failed to shoot, because these butterflies were moving around a lot, making it extremely difficult to get a nice, sharp picture. They seemed really undecided whether they wanted their wings opened or closed while they were at rest. You can't really jam a super macro lens up to their feelers and expect them not to fly away. And there was also the added complication of hundred of other people stomping along on the boardwalk, making it vibrate just that tiny bit. So much so, that (and I am ashamed to say I did this) I grabbed an unsuspecting butterfly by its wings just so that I could take a super macro shot of it.

Thankfully, the story of butterflies dying if you hold them by the wings is only a myth

The macro shot was obviously no proof of my camera skill. Not with the thumb and forefinger seen pinching the wings. The little insect was also scared out of its wits. I felt so bad immediately after doing this.
I decided that, as a form of penance, I shall let the butterfly 'catch' me and stare right in my face in return.

Butterfly taking a very, very wide-angle shot at my face

But nooo... that wasn't enough for Mr Butterfly. He had to walk all over my face and stick his little proboscis into my eye! Yikes!

It's the same butterfly. It's wings are blue on the top and brown on the bottom!

Ah well... I guess I deserved it! Sorry, sorry!


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