Stepping up to the brink of a downward zig-zagging path, your eyes meet a far off, distant wall of water. Endless stripes and streams of white team down amidst carpets of Brazilian green. You cannot grasp the scale of this natural wonder: its vastness, the amount of water it gargles and consumes, the distance over which it stretches. It is too big to fully appreciate.
Butterflies hover playfully about your hands and feet, landing momentarily on your fingers and hair. Friends grapple for their cameras, fumbling with switches, as wings beat too quick for the focus. Minutes pass as you steal mere blurs with the lens until finally – finally! – you capture solid colours of brown, white, orange, black, red and blue.
Walking down the path closer to the wonder, you begin to make out the details of the rock face – all its crevices and moss and foliage and stones and greenery – and you glimpse the river below. It opens up beneath you, a greying turqoise supplied by currents moving too to fully gauge from this height, an ethereal mist standing above its crown.
Once you reach the bottom of the path resting at the foot of the wonder, you finally realise Iguazu’s scale. A rusted bridge juts out across one of its vast ledges where water pools about the rock before careering down into the river below.
Stepping out across the metal bridge a waterfall is huge and white beside you, pouring water down in torrents (and you realise that you never fully understood the meaning of the word ‘torrents’ until this moment), misting you in its spray. You jostle once more for position on the bridge amidst the poncho-attired crowd to peer down off the edge of the path. ‘What would happen if I fell down there?’ you wonder as you glance down to your right and beyond where that famous greener than green Brazilian grass gives way to the river. And then, just when you thought no more wonderment could be added, in true Brazilian fashion, the sun shifts and you see a perfect rainbow as you have never seen one before – almost every colour is visible.
You return from the path, kicking people in ponchos as you go, and queue to take an elevator to the top of a building where you can stand above the waterfall. And there at the top of the waterfall sits its source: a cool blue expanse of water yawning calmly between green, green forest and green-covered rock, before dropping off the cliff face in a foaming white stream, hammering the ledge below. Your eyes follow the white and out to the river, and the river out to even more distant green, where the sun finally begins to burn out in the late afternoon, holding all of this together in yellow gold.