The first time I had heard of Foz do Iguacu (Iguacu falls) was from Chris, after he had returned from a trip from Brazil with BA. I remember exactly how I found out about this wonderful place as it was a bit of a shock. I was in our apartment in the UK, and I had been up very early as I had been worrying all night about an exam that I was taking that week for my degree .I decided instead of lying there worrying, to get up and revise and await returning to bed as Chris’s flight was due in early. We could catch up with each other and I could and hear how Chris trip had gone. I looked up the BA246 flight which I knew he was on, and sat at my computer studying. I had heard a weird scratching sound at our front door about 7.00am; I ignored it thinking it was some bird or animal outside. But the scratching noise, which at first was very faint, began to get louder and turned into a banging sound at the front door. I ran to our vestibule and saw through our glass front door Chris struggling to open the door with a blooded hand, as he returned to unload his car I noticed a huge gash to his head, he was limping, and when he threw his jacket off his shoulder to grab his flight bag his other arm was in a sling!!!! I was really taken aback and thought OMG he must have been mugged on his trip. But even before I had chance to open our glass front door I noticed he looked surprisingly happy!!!! He beamed as he said “Corrine I have had a brilliant trip, I went to one of the most amazing places in the world, Iguacu falls!!” He then began to jabber on excitedly about what a great place it was and how we must go there together one day. When I pointed out his injuries he laughed and shrugged it off saying “no problem, we had a few Caipirinhas with dinner and we decided to go down and look at the falls at night, but unfortunately the falls were not lit, so I tripped, lost my balance and fell head first down the stairs, don’t worry it looks worse than it is, I have only cracked my collar bone!

So I have a very clear memory of this place, and remember how desperate Chris was for us to see this place together. The flight seemed very long and a blur today, but I think it was due to the stress of both our family issues. We were about 10 miles out Chris immediately spotted the falls in the distance. He asked the air traffic controller if we could circle the falls and to my surprised they agreed. Chris went wild and for about 20 minutes or so he clicked away at every angle he could, shouting at me to bank the plane this way and that, and lift the wing so he could frame the shot better or have more sunlight. I was stunned at the spectacular sight of these huge falls. We both agreed that we had seen Niagara, Victoria and Angel Falls but this was our favourite.
In arriving at our hotel I was VERY impressed!!!! This was an Orient Express hotel, one of the best, prestigious, old colonial stylish hotels. We were greeted by Patrick who escorted us to our room, gave us our complimentary Havaianas (Brazilian trendy flip flops) and showed us around our plush hotel. We were blown away at the wonderful manicured grounds of the hotel, and the pool was a full size with an elegant lounging area surrounding it. We did a nature tour and boat ride on the river and down and under the Iguacu  falls(literally).We got thoroughly soaked but loved every minute of being in an inflatable under the falls!!We a met a pleasant friendly couple called Judy and Billy from Alabama on their 25th wedding anniversary, and what a great way to spend it in a luxurious hotel seeing incredible animals and nature up close and personal. In the morning we had the most remarkable breakfast I have ever had. It was a buffet style but there was every kind of fresh fruit juice and fresh fruit available. Much ham, sausages, bacon, salmon, and assorted meats were available. Also eggs done in different many ways with various added flavourings such as eggs mixed with cheese, or potato or meat or simply plain. The thing that bowled me over was there was also on offer for no extra charge champagne, and although I was very tempted I could not see myself climbing the falls in a 100 degree heat after partaking in alcohol at breakfast. Times that I have done this (which is not often) is when I have gone out with a group to celebrate a birthday or I have been in a top hotel in the world and it is a “must do thing” with the BA crew. I can remember arriving in our hotel Sydney, having smoked salmon and eggs with Champagne, but then waking up 7 hours later missing the whole day because the alcohol had knocked me out!! I definitely did not want this to happen on this trip!!  At breakfast we got to see many animals and birds parrots, coati mundi and all kinds of lizard types. There was a full moon on our second night so we were able to see the lunar rainbow over the falls at night which is only seen 4 nights per month.

I was still very worried about my sister; I woke in the night having had a couple of panic attacks and told Chris I needed to get back to the UK. Not impressed with me spoiling this adventure, baling out on our mission, and abandoning him, he convinced me to call my family before either taking a 15 hour bus ride to Sao Paulo or flying there for 5 hours, staying in a hotel for the night and then getting a BA flight home. Chris would then have to continue the rest of the route alone.  I called my brother Jamie and he was very supportive, he assured me that Belinda had improved and she was up and saying she wanted to go home. We still did not know what the results of her test were but we were awaiting and hoping for good news, the doctors had said and they would let her go home if this was the case. This is the thing about under taking a trip like this, although it is for an important cause, and our mission, it is also a fun, once in a lifetime experience exploring amazing faraway places. But when you need to get home in a hurry, or “when the shit hits the fan” it is a long way from home and a pain in the neck!! After a long debate/conversation we both decide that I would not leave for London until we hear the doctor’s result of her test. We go down to breakfast and see several parrots and a dozen toucans flying low over the breakfast area, Chris of course grabs his camera but alas they were too quick for him to get a decent shot. We proceed to the remarkable breakfast buffet and wonder at the fresh pineapple, mango, and guava jam. Chris stands up after serving his self with a hot breakfast and screams in agony!!It turns out that the fancy chandeliers have metal leaves hanging way too low over the food area. No one comes to our aid until they see blood pouring out of his head. I look at the leaves and realize they are really sharp like a knife edge. Chris now has a couple of cuts and a deep inch incision in the top of his head. The hotel staff finally gets a first aider who rushes around, gets bandages and swabs Chris cut and calls the manager. He comes and talks to us and apologizes but all he can say is that it was a clean lightening fitting and this is the first time it has happened. Not impressed we how they handled the incident we return to our room to pack and get ready to leave for the next stop. I am not really in the mood to carry on I feel deflated I email my family and I am reassured by my sister in law they will contact me when they hear any news about my sister. I tell Chris I will carry on with him to the Pantanal but if necessary, I will return to Sao Paulo so I can get back to the UK to be with my sister. We are heading for a nature lodge recommended by a friend of a friend in the Pantanal/ Amazon jungle, but first we need to refuel on the way.

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