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Friday, December 4, 2009

Niagara On Viagra

Dear DanYilin,

This is the Niagara Falls leaving a comment on your blog, all the way from Canada/USA.

I have been a faithful follower of your fantastic travel blog ever since we met (and got wet!) earlier this year in May. I remember that the both of you, especially Dannie - who had never visited me before, were really excited to be here. We had a gentle ride on the Maid of the Mist - you looking so funny and alien-like in your blue souvenir ponchos - and that night, I put on a spectacular light and fireworks display just for you.

I hear from certain water sources in the river network that you were on the edges of Argentina and Brazil recently - no doubt visiting my arch enemy, the Iguazu Falls!

Photo proof that you were there!

You were here, standing on the edge of Argentina and gazing over the Rio Iguazu to Paraguay (left) and Brazil (right)

You had already witnessed me, the famous Niagara Falls - the most powerful waterfall in North America. What else were you hoping to find in the Iguazu Falls? Something bigger and better than I? You even visited Iguazu twice - once from Argentina, and a day later, from Brazil. I distinctly remember hosting you on my Canadian side only, and not from USA! :(

A little brown water droplet told me that you, Dannie, asked y
our wife while looking over Iguazu, "So what's so great about Niagara Falls again?" You even cracked one of your lame corny jokes that Iguazu is "Niagara on Viagra" !!!! Well you are just like that First Lady of ours - Eleanor Roosevelt, who reportedly exclaimed, "Poor Niagara!" upon seeing that big brown Argentinian-Brazilian monstrosity!!!! HUMPH!!!

Poor Niagara, poor Niagara. I'm so sick of hearing that. Maybe I'll just go drown myself. Just like the Guaira Falls in 1982 - the largest waterfall on earth - which disappeared totally, flooded and silenced by the building of the Itaipu dam, and is now virtually unheard of. Maybe then the constant comparisons in size, height and volume of flow will finally stop.

So what if the Indians in South America gave their waterfall the name "Iguazu", meaning "Big Water"? My Indians called me Niagara, meaning "Thundering Waters"! Now which one sounds more grand? You tell me.

In terms of height, my claims can jolly well hold water against Iguazu's. In fact, both of us aren't very tall. Iguazu's drops average at 65m while my largest cataract, the Horseshoe Falls, drops only 53m. To help you put things in perspective, each of the 3 hotel blocks at the upcoming Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort already stretch 55 storeys, up to a dazzling height of 250m - practically dwarfing me! I can't believe that I, a great natural wonder, am a mere one fifth of a hotel block in your country!

But comparing Iguazu's biggest cataract - the Devil's Throat, and my Horseshoe Falls, I admit that I need to swallow my pride - just like how that devilish waterfall seems to swallow up the earth.

You walked a pretty long distance across the metal broadwalk to get to the Devil's Throat.

Accessed from the Argentinian border, the Devil's Throat plunges to a depth of 82m, so deep that to you tiny human beings, it might as well be a bottomless pit that ends in hell. Each time the Devil releases a bellyful of mist that rises 150m to almost twice it's height, visitors lining it's mouth get soaked to the skin. From the shrill shrieks and screams emitting from you squealers, you would think that people were being swallowed by the devil himself, and not just being treated to a good much-needed midday shower!

The gargantuan Garganta de Diablo

BURRRRPPPPPP!!!!

Look what the devil coughed up!

In terms of the number of individual falls or drops, I'm sad to say that I don't measure up to Iguazu. In fact, it is a rather paltry comparison. I have an embarrassing grand total of 3 drops in my name (the Horseshoe Falls, American Falls and Bridal Veils) while Mr Big Water has a whopping 275 falls stretching across 2.7km. Too many even to name *SULK* Not fair.

I believe that you must have enjoyed walking along the lower boardwalk that stretches across the foot of the falls, bringing you face to face with Iguazu's flowing white curtains.

Standing where the falls meet the river

You walked across some of the smaller falls located at Iguazu's lower tier

Iguazu offered you the experience of walking through a lush tropical rainforest - something that I could not

From what my river network told me, you guys got a tad lost on the winding lower trail when you went in search of the embarkation point for your speedboat tour of the falls. Yeah, I guess you could highlight to the park administration that they need to put more directional signs pointing people to the boats, but where's the explorer in you? Methinks getting lost in the jungle adds to the sense of adventure! In any case, the winding path lead you to some pretty spectacular vistas of the falls. Right?

The Argentinian falls, as seen from the lower broadwalk. Two thirds of the Iguazu Falls are within Argentinian territory.

Magical - a white egret in flight through the mist

Time to get really really wet!

Plus, the spray from the falls were to prep you for what was to come on the river adventure! And I know what an adrenalin-filled ride that was - I could hear Yi Lin screaming all the way from Argentina! I hear that she was freaking out because the little boat was being tossed around by the force of the flow and huge waves (waves in a river eh?!) were dumping load after load of cold water over her head. How roughly Iguazu treated you! I, on the other hand, graciously hosted you on a ferry and gently floated you down the river, and let my waters rain on you for just a bit. And Iguazu didn't present you with big blue ponchos? Tsk tsk! No wonder people just run amok within the national park with their clothes plastered wet against their skin - or worse, only wearing their bikinis!

Speeding towards the Devil's Throat

Totally wet from head to toe - like how you Chinese say, "like a chicken that fell into soup"

I presume that after getting completely soaked on the speedboat ride, you guys headed for the upper broadwalk that stretches high across the top of the falls, right at the point where the river hurls itself over the edge and dives down down down into the plunge pool. The view from the top must have been magnificent, and the experience of peering over the edge and yelling to each other over the thunderous roar must have been an unforgettable one indeed.

I remember how impressed you were, standing at the top of my Horseshoe Falls as I threw unimaginable quantities of water over the edge every second. You stood watching in awe, realising that I have been doing this every second of my life for centuries, long before man discovered my presence; realising that I was Power, Heft, Speed and Grace all rolled into one; realising that it was impossible to stop me from running my course; realising that it was impossible to freeze time - that once a single drop of water sailed over the edge, it could never turn back. Realising that life too rushes you by, never once turning it's head to look back at you. That every second that ticks by is gone forever. (Oh, don't mind this silly old waterfall gushing and babbling away!)

Sad to say, Iguazu beats me hands down when it comes to prowess and volume of flow. On the average through the year, Iguazu dumps 6,500 cubic metres of water over its edge every second. During the rainy season of November to March, the rate of flow doubles to more than 12,000 cubic metres per second. I can only manage an average of 2,800 cubic metres! Puny :(

Looking towards the horizon, the falls stretching on as far as your eyes can see, bathed by mist rising from the plunging water.

A beautiful sight to behold: mystical waters rushing through a verdant jungle

I guess all these make Iguazu and its two national parks deserving of their UNESCO World Heritage Site status, bestowed upon them in 1984 for Argentina and 1987 for Brazil.


Alright, so maybe Dan was right. The Iguazu "Big Water" Falls wins this competition hands-down. The Niagara needs to get on Viagra!

Sigh!

Signing off,
Your Faithful Fan
Niagara Falls
USA/Canada

4 comments:

Jacqueline said...

Hihi..That was an interesting post! =)

Anyway would like to ask how did u do that effect on the last photo?

Yi Lin said...

Hi Jacqueline,

Thanks! We try to find new writing styles and angles. We don't want to bore people with day-to-day narratives of our lives. But we want to retain the personal nature of our blog and not just feature the tour highlights like a travel guidebook. So we explore ideas like this (at the risk of revealing our schizo tendencies.)

Google "light graffiti" and you will find some tips on how to write using a light source (like a torch or handphone) and capturing it in an image. Basically you need to set a slow shutter speed. Press to open your shutter, write your message, then release the shutter. Have fun!

TK said...

Dear Yi Lin and Dan, Lovely pics and video of the Falls. I heard about Iguazu falls from a colleague who just returned from a trip to the antartic. She also went to argetina and told me about the falls. Am glad that both of you look well and still so pretty/handsome. Did mum tell u that Yuj has gone to Vietnam? He flew to Ho Chi Minh city and is roving around with his frens. Take care. Love.

Yi Lin said...

Thanks Dad! You HAVE to bring Mum to see the Iguazu Falls - from both the Argentinean and Brazilian parks. Amazing experience that you both will love. Yes, we are well - it's all the traveling that's keeping us healthy! Yups, heard that Yuj is in Vietnam. Glad that he's out there exploring the world too.

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