19 December 2007

My trip 3

I finally have a little time to update you (I assume you've already read parts 1 and 2). Isn't this beautiful? I actually saw that with my own eyes. It is AMAZING. I cant even begin to explain to you the wonderful day I had. This was taken on our first day in Iguassu. We went on a raft ride, which took us under the water fall, or as close as one can safely get to underneath it. The water was falling off the rocks and onto us. needless to say, we were drenched at the end of that adventure, but it was a rainy day, so that was bound to happen anyway. The rain was nice and warm too. From the raft ride, we hiked along the side of the river--right through the wilderness! It was beautiful and lush and green. It is a protected forest, so there aren't too many people who get to go deep into the wild. Just the rangers, (and probably really rich people). as we were hiking our guide pointed out some interesting plants (like the monkey's ladder), and told us about the red mold growing on some trees. Random Fact of the Day: Red mold will only grow where the air is clean, so red mold=good mold.

I don't know if you can see it in this picture, but there is a walkway that allows you to walk out to the edge of one set of falls, and look up on another set. It is quite an experience. One of the great things about going here on a rainy day was that there were very few people there. And maybe that's why I liked the Brazil side better. It was like a personal adventure, rather than a tourist zoo. There were still people around, but we didn't feel like sheep being herded through the corral, like on our day in Argentina, which was bright and sunny. And by the time we got to this point, it was after quite a hike, and there were only a handful of us who were willing to continue in the rain: my friend and I, the couple we met from Orange County, and a Spanish speaking family who were leaving as we arrived....that was about it...another group arrived shortly after us, but we were almost alone. I don't know about you, but I'm not really a big fan of groups of people...they kinda irritate me. (Don't get me wrong, I mean, I love to people watch, and I like meeting new people, I even like parties, but...) So it was wonderful to be able to focus my attention on my surrounds, and not on the avoiding the annoyances.

We also went to the Bird Zoo. It was just a regular zoo, but it was pretty cool to think that these birds could be seen wild there. At home we see...seagulls, pigeons, and crows...that's about it. and they aren't the most attractive birds. But while I was in Brazil, I heard parrots in the trees in the parks, and saw lots of colorful birds flying around. It was also fun to meet Alex the Bird Guy. He is a biologist who works in the cage where you can walk. He was kinda like the body guard for the birds. at first we were told that we couldn't hold the birds...but after a bit of convincing, (aka flirting) Alex let me take a picture with the birds that are on his shoulders. It was kinda exciting. :-)

Oh ya, and you cant forget the
random footbal--I mean, soccer team we saw running through the streets. I'm sure that the locals know who they are...but since I'm really bad at recognizing celebrities, and even worse at knowing who players are...I have no clue. but hey, it was a real Brazilian experience, because they are soccer fanatics!

12 December 2007

my trip 2

As I was thinking about my trip, I realized that it is pretty unexciting to talk about. It would be full of "On my mission..." and "This one person..." and "...bus ride..." only to end with "I was in airports/airplanes from 8 pm on on Saturday, till almost midnight on Monday, eastern standard time--that's over 2 full days!!!" So, I really won't bore you with all the mission-related visits we did. It is enough to say that while it was wonderful to see everyone, they were bitter-sweet days, depending on the decisions people have made in their lives over the last few years.

The beginning was fairly inexpensive (aside from the plane tickets) because we stayed with friends, and they took good care of us. It always amazes me how generous people are down there. Even though they don't have much to offer, they gave us the best they had. They even abandoned their rooms to allow us to use their beds, such that the entire family was left with only one room.

The end of the trip is what proved to be most expensive. It was the part of the trip when we were tourists that we emptied our bank accounts. 4 days were spent in Foz de Iguaçu/Iguassu/Iguazu--depending on what country you are in. It is near the point where 3 countries meet: Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. since I don't have my pictures yet, I just grabbed this one from the a site. From this view, I believe the green on the bottom, with the brown/red hut is Brazil, then the green in the upper left is Paraguay, and upper right is Argentina. Here is another picture, from a different site that shows the 3 countries a little better, but I'm not sure about the angle of the picture...it looks like hut shown in the first picture is in the land in the top left of this picture, making that Brazil, the tip right Paraguay, and the bottom left Argentina....but again, I'm not positive.

The most amazing part of that area are the waterfalls. That is why we wanted to go to that city. the largest waterfalls in the world. Think Niagara falls + AMAZING. Part of what's cool here is that there are two sides. There is the Argentina side:
Which includes the "Devil's Throat." It is horseshoe shaped with falls all the way around. There is a walk way that takes you out over the river (it's probably like a mile long) to look into the Devil's Throat. It is amazing to see the power of the water rushing over the cliffs in such great quantity! According to one Indian legend, this water fall was created by M'Boy, the serpent god. The tribe's leader had a beautiful daughter named Naipi, who was to be sacrificed to M'Boy, but one of the tribe's men, Taroba, fell in love with her, so during the ceremony, while everyone else was drunk, they ran away. As they were canoeing down the river, M'Boy got angry, penetrated the earth, and created the throat falls which swallowed the canoe. That's just one tale. I'd like to know more about how that story evolved into what it is today. Was there really a great earthquake in the midst of young love's rebellion?Or was it just a chief trying to scare his people into obedience? Either way, thanks for the amazing waterfall!!! Oh ya, and also--it's like 80 meters high!!! Know how that converts, but I figure it's pretty dang tall.

I'll post tomorrow about the Brazilian side, which was my favorite!

11 December 2007

Not gonna think about it.

I know I owe you all an update on my trip, and it was my intent to post at least something each time I was able to access the net...but obviously that didn't happen. There are a few reasons for that:
a) I didn't always have a lot of time online,
b) I wanted to post when I was able to include the pictures, but I kept forgetting the camera cable,
c) The posts would have to be fairly long to include all the background info,
d) The trip was an emotional roller coaster, and I've never been good at expressing emotions or telling stories.

...And now that I'm home I'm even less inclined to write about it because I don't want to believe it's over. I don't want to believe it's all in the past....and most of all I don't want to believe that I might not ever make it back...
I know I can go back, as long as I'm willing to work hard to do it. And I am also planning on visiting the rest of that beautiful country. But I also know how lucky I was to be able to visit even once. My father finally planned his trip (to return to his mission area) a few years ago, and even then it didn't work out for him to go. How blessed I am to be able to return after less than 3 years!
...And then I start thinking about how I'd have to work for another 3+ years to make it back...and I realize how much will have changed...and how much harder it will be to save money when I have to pay rent, and food, and a car loan, and grad school...and I still haven't given up on the dream of marriage and a family--if that happens soon, how would I be able to leave?

It's hard to think about, because I've been home for a day now, and I already feel a void for the completely different lifestyle that place offers. Don't get me wrong, I love it here, and I love all that I have...but...that's a part of me too. A huge part of me. A part I don't want to lose. But at the same time, I dont want to think about it because the throbbing anguish is almost unbearable. The tears are almost inevitable.

And so you will remain another day without stories from my trip. Maybe when I get my pictures back (a friend has my memory cards so we can put them all online) and can see everything I miss I will not feel such a loss. Maybe then I will write some stories for you all to read. Maybe.

New Map

So, after my recient trip, I can update my world map--So exciting!!!

...Now, if I could just make it to the eastern world...

06 December 2007

Igudesman & Joo

Ok, so, I know that you are all waiting for an update on my current adventure, and i had every intention of writing a blog about it...until i checked my email inbox today... a little while back, Liz gave us a giggle. and from that comes today´s entry. i dont remember whether i comented with a letter or not, but i did send one. this is what it said:

"> A friend of mine recently introduced me to your...entertainment. I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate it!!! So Funny!!! But you already know that, because obviously you wouldnt do it if you didnt enjoy it, or have an audience that does. I am wondering--will you be touring around the USA anytime soon? I hope so. I also hope you will be in the LA area because I'd truely like to attend your show! Thanks again! Heather"

well, good news to all--they do exist! and they have replied!

"Dear Heather, thank you so much for your mail!Right now there is no US tour planned, but we certainly will come tothe States in future time.We will add your email address to our addressbook so you will beinformed when we come and perform in your area and updated to new DVDreleases and youtube clips.Thanks for your support! Aleksey Igudesman & Richard Hyung-ki Joo"

I love that they reply. it totally made my day!!!
...although my yesterday was pretty amazing--I´ll have to show you a video later!!!!