The BYU women's volleyball team in the safari truck before heading into the Iguazu jungle.
May 6 by Marisa Vandersteen
If today was not in your definition of awesome, then I don't know what else is. Today we woke up, ate breakfast at our hotel in Buenos Aires and then went out in the city to grab something for the road for lunch before we left our hotel for Iguazu Falls. Our flight to Iguazu was just about an hour and a half. The airport at Iguazu Falls was very small, and it looked as if it was in the middle of the jungle. Upon arriving, we met our tour guide, who told us of the adventures which were before us, such as going through the jungle on a zip line and repelling down a waterfall! We got to our hotel, dropped off our bags and then boarded an awesome safari truck, which had huge wheels and was wide open all around the sides and back.
As we started going, everyone started laughing, smiling and 'wahoo'ing. It seemed surreal; it was like we were going on a safari in the middle of the jungle in Argentina! The four-wheeling ride was bumpy but felt like we were on horseback. We drove through the towns and villages of the people who live here. It is a totally different kind of life here. They have so little but seem so happy. Most of the houses we saw were one-room wooden houses with dirt floors. Most of the people also had fire pits out front and were also growing some crops.
We arrived at the zip line greeted by some kind Argentine men who gave us harnesses, helmets and gloves. We climbed several floors of steep rickety, handmade steps up to a large tree where we were attached to the zip cord. It was absolutely beautiful to be above the trees, an incredible view. I felt like I was flying; it felt so free. We continued on the zip line to two more platforms, where we would have to stop, get released from the harness and then climb up some more steps and let go again! Wahoo is all I can say; it was truly an experience of a lifetime.
After the zip line, we loaded back on the safari truck and headed to the waterfall we would repel down. Upon arrival, we hiked down a little ways to the top of the falls. It was a bit chilly because the sun was not shining on us due to the dense trees around us. The same Argentine men met us there, set up the ropes and gave us a brief instruction. We were to turn around backwards after getting attached to the rope and lean back off the cliff, keeping our legs wide and straight. If was very slippery and most of us got very wet being so close to the waterfall. Some of us got completely engulfed in the fall especially at the bottom where you had to cross it in order to get to the bridge. It wasn't too cold anymore though, maybe due to the adrenaline rush! Once again, it was amazing, a once in a lifetime chance and totally beautiful. The view from the bottom was just about equally as fun as we watched our teammates, coaches and administrators repel down after us. We got back on the truck, put on some warm sweats and once again enjoyed the views of driving through the jungle and towns as we headed back to our hotel.
We were all pretty hungry and were excited to shower and get ready for dinner at our hotel. It was a buffet of authentic Argentine food, all very good. Most everyone said their favorite was the ravioli. Mine was the mushroom salad that had a really tasty kind of nut in it. And of course the dessert was great too. Carpe (Christie Carpenter) still wins the exotic food tasting contest -- she ate cow tongue tonight and said it was spicy and chewy.
We closed off our eventful day with a devotional given by Casey on Alma 7:23, reminding us to have patience and to express our gratitude more often, especially as we are traveling in a foreign country. Tomorrow we wake up early to spend the entire day in the jungle and at the falls! We are pumped! Shay said to be ready for one of the most memorable days of our lives. Dyer said, "you mean more awesome than today?" I think we all felt the same.
The team waits in the regional airport in Buenos Aires for their flight to Iguaza Falls.
A view of the Iguazu jungle from the front of our hotel.
Aboard the safari truck ready to head into the jungle.
Bryn Porter (left), Gaye Merrill and Rachel Dyer are ready to zip line across the jungle.
Chelsea Goodman demonstrates proper zip-line technique.
Many of the players considered the rickety stairs leading up to the zip line platform to be the scariest part of the experience.
Christy Payne (left), Janvier Beaumont and Stephanie Lau are all smiles after the day's adventures.
A beautiful sunset over the Iguazu jungle.
We definitely worked up an appetite with our adventures ... We hope they have more food!