“Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it.”

I turned off my AC this morning just to bring in some fresh air. The cats immediately gravitated to the sun streaming through the front door. Fern sprawled. I heard the dog down the street barking and barking and counted two cars driving down my road. The house temperature rose from 68˚ to 74˚ in a little under an hour. I figured fresh air is over-rated, and my street is far too noisy. I’ve closed doors and windows and turned the AC back on. If I really want fresh air, I’ll step out on the deck for a bit, take a deep breath, exhale then hurry back inside the cool house.

Today is shark day on the scyfy channel. It should be dedicated to Cape Cod as a man in Truro was bitten on the legs by what is presumed to be a great white. It was the first attack since 1936. People on shore saw the fin, and I’m thinking visions of Jaws danced in their heads. No one jumped in to help except the man’s son, and I suspect no one wonders why, even the victim himself. Nine great whites have been tagged on the cape this year attracted to these waters by the huge seal population. For the sharks seals mean dining al fresco. For beachgoers, sharks mean wading in shallow water and scanning the horizon for fins.

Asunción, Paraguay was our least favorite stop. The city seemed poor in comparison to the bustling capitals of the other South American countries. Keep in mind this was 1976. We stayed in a hotel, a middle of the road hotel, which looked over the river. We sat on the porch and had breakfast each morning. In the center of the town was a park and a restaurant with outside tables. We were having lunch at the restaurant one day when a man approached us and asked if we were Americans. When we told him yes, he asked to join us. We said sure. He said he seldom saw Americans in Paraguay and was glad to sit and speak English again. Come to find out he was the PanAm chief of South American operations and was going to every country to say good-bye as he was retiring. He told us great stories about the 50’s and particularly the Eisenhower trip. It seemed some airports did not have long enough runways to accommodate the president’s plane. That man’s job was to oversee the construction of lengthening those runways. We sat for quite a while. He thanked us for the company and bought lunch.

The hotel where we stayed was owned by a Chinese family originally from Taiwan. The son worked at the front desk. He spoke with us often as he wanted to practice his English. One night he invited us to a midnight movie. We said sure. It was a Kung Fu movie dubbed in English with Spanish subtitles. Everyone in the audience took part in the movie yelling and screaming and making appropriate death rattles when a Kung Fu master dispatched his enemy. It was the funniest screening of a movie I’ve ever seen. The young man walked us back to the hotel, thanked us for our company and went home.

We left from Asunción for the Iguazu Falls on a bus. We had to pass into Brazil to get to the falls which lie on the Brazilian-Argentinian border. The bus dropped us at a magnificent hotel across from the falls. It was cheaper than we expected given it even had a casino, beautiful gardens and was a three-minute walk across the road to the falls. We were there a couple of days. The first day we took the cat walk around the falls which were so beautiful they almost defy description. The water ran so quickly over what I found out later was Devil’s Throat that the picture I took looks impressionistic, not real water at all but dots of color forming falls. We got soaked every walk we took.

We returned to the city after a couple of days to the same hotel and wandered around looking at the statues and the small parks until we could leave. I had read of a three-day trip down the Parana River to Argentina, and I was hoping they had empty cabins as the boat had originated in Buenos Aires and this was their return trip. Luckily, they had space, and we boarded a day later. Our cabin had two bunk beds but just the two of us. Come to find out only one person on the entire boat spoke English so they were kind enough to sit us with her. She was from England and married to an Argentinian. It amazed her that my pidgin Spanish had gotten us so far. The boat was an old one made of wood. I loved that cruise. They had a movie, The Producers, one of my favorites, in English with Spanish subtitles. We went on a couple of shore excursions. On the last night was the gala. It was the night when people wore costumes. We managed shawls and wore hats we had bought. The most handsome bald man was chosen as was the best costume, the best dancer and on and on. The food was delicious, and we laughed and enjoyed ourselves the whole evening.

The next day we arrived in Buenos Aires.

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13 Comments on ““Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it.””

  1. Birgit Says:

    The Iguazu Falls are gorgeous. Please, beam me up there, Scotty!

    Couldn’t find a nice fitting album, so just 3 links to single photos:
    Vista panorámica del centro de Asunción:
    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Paraguay_Rory.jpg
    Rio Paraná, Paraguay-Brazil border:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/gijlmar/3325936530/in/set-72157614601592887
    Iguazu waterfalls:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/tal_/2213496154/in/pool-31267193@N00

    • Kat Says:

      Birgit,
      Rainbows were everywhere. The spray from the falls soaked us. We spend parts of the two days we were there just wandering and looking probably with our mouths opened in wonder.

      It was amazing!!

  2. Zoey & Me Says:

    Enchanting and the party at the end could be no better to the end of a long trip. Keep this for the Coffee Book.

    • Kat Says:

      Thank you, Z&Me!!

      You’re right about this trip as the next few countries paled in comparison to the falls and the boat.

  3. Bob Says:

    The Producers, the original version with Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder, is my favorite movie of all time. Who could ever forget ‘Springtime for Hitler, A Musical Comedy with Adolf and Ava at Berchtesgaden’. This could only come from the crazy mind of Mel Brooks.

    Another 104 hot one again today in North Texas and the great draught of 2012 continues.

    I was under the impression that Paraguay has a large German population and was a popular destination for Nazi war criminals to hide. I think they were ruled by a dictator for decades named Stroessner.

    What a wonderful way to travel to Buenos Aires on a river boat. I have never been to Argentina, but a friend of mine who is a retired American Airline captain told me that whenever they were in Buenos Aires on a layover they stayed in a downtown hotel. At lunch time the streets would be full of office workers going to lunch and he said that every woman they saw was gorgeous. I can’t wait to hear your recollections of Argentina.

    • Kat Says:

      Bob,
      I love that movie, and I can sing all of Springtime for Hitler and Germany!

      The paper today had an article about the great drought and likened it to the dust bowl.

      You are right about Paraguay and the Nazis. Mengele was supposed to have been hidden there by Stroessner who kept a strangle hold on his country. He was supported by the US until Carter who refused to support a country which violated human rights through use of torture and executions. The country was slow to grow as so much money was used for the military though Stroessner did improve the country’s infrastructure.

      That was the best trip. I almost want to sing Up a Lazy River though I think we were going down.

      I had planned so much for this trip including our route and what to see and do, and I was thrilled when all my plans, except for the cable car in Venezuela, came through.

      • Bob Says:

        Actually, Henry Kissinger, under Nixon, happily supported the military junta in Argentina and helped to over throw a democratically elected President in Chile to install Pinochet, another dictator. I wonder how old Henry, a German Jew, would have felt if his parents had not come to the US as refugees in the late 1930s. The US was so focused on keeping perceived socialist or communist governments out of South America that we would support the worst kind of dictators everywhere. Old Fidel really set a terrible precedence in Cuba.

  4. Kat Says:

    Bob,
    I’m not sure how Kissinger and the juntas in Argentina and Chile are related to Stroessner who was in power for so long, but you’re right about the US supporting anti-communists, like Stroessner, despite their abuses of power.

    • Bob Says:

      We support lots of bad guys when we feel it’s in our national self interest. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq under Saddam against Iran, Pakistan, Bahrain and other small countries that either supply us with oil and or are so called partners in the war against terror. Prior to the fall of the USSR the bad guys were all Communists and now the bad guys are all terrorists.

  5. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    Now I’m suffering serious envy. Iguasu Falls and a trip down a South American river in a wooden boat. Yep. Envy.

    Another triple H day here. I had to go out. It was awful. There’s thunder storms to the north of me but they aren’t headed here. I need some coolth.

    Enjoy the evening.

    • Kat Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      I as spent an entire winter planning that trip and was thrilled when the planning came together so well.

      We were in the city a bit too early for the boat so the trip to the falls was perfect timing. I remember seeing that wooden boat at the pier for the first time then finding out no one spoke English, but we still survived quite well as we had since the beginning. I could hear Spanish well but couldn’t speak it as well.

      I didn’t go out as we had the same day here today.

  6. olof1 Says:

    We never get Great Whites here but the occasional Basking sharks and Greenland sharks do pass sometimes. I have to admit that I wouldn’t have helped that man either 🙂

    I love the old Producers! It never had that name here though, they gave it the name after that song, Springtime for Hitler 🙂 I have that one and the new and even if the new one is good it’s nothing compared to the old one.

    You really have made me long to go to South America 🙂 Now I only need to win the lottery and then find someone that can stay here with all my dogs and cats 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Have a great day!
    Christer.

    • Kat Says:

      Christer,
      The man said he understood why no one was helping him. He said he probably wouldn’t have helped either.

      It is the funniest movie no matter what name it has!

      The money is less of a problem than the animals. It took me a while just now to find someone to tae care of the pets. Dogs are the hardest.


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