May 4th, 2007

Iguazu is awesome. The mighty Iguazu river comes charging over a vast assortment of high basalt cliffs and crashes down into the basin below, showering everything in clouds of fine spray.

Interestingly, the river also forms the boundary between Brazil and Argentina, and nearby it joins the Parana river, which forms the border with Paraguay, so the whole region is somewhat international. I´ve so far been to Brazil on two day-trips, which is beginning to fill my passport with stamps!

I´ve seen the waterfalls from both sides – the Argentinian side is more extensive, showing a huge number of individual falls, whereas the Brazilian side allows you to walk out on a catwalk into a bowl where falls crash down around you on two sides. Both are a great experience, as is the little boat from that takes you right up and under the falls, soaking you to the skin in the process! You dry off soon enough…

More pictures of Iguazu
Continuing the aquatic theme, we also went up to Itaipu, which is a vast dam on the Parana river just north of here. It´s on the Brazil-Paraguay border, and is so huge as to defy description. Suffice to say that it´s the world´s largest electricity generation plant – just one turbine produces 90% of all Paraguay´s power. The whole plant can produce 14GW at full capacity, although normally runs at between 12-13GW as two turbines are offline for maintenance.
Throughout the site you can feel the vibration of the rushing water, but whilst we were in the control centre a generator started up and the whole place shook like a minor earthquake, followed by the sound of surging water. Our guide had to swiftly reassure us that this was normal!

turbine hall
Ags and Lowri in the turbine hall

More photos of Itaipu

Tomorrow, Bruce and I are heading to Rio de Janeiro, to meet up again with Lowri and Ags. Only ten days left now until we have to be in Montevideo…how time flies!

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