15 June 2012

Iguazu Falls,South America- Mar 2012

Let your soul be satisfied
with the odd beauty of this landscape
that although the world walk in truth
you'll never find, like this, nothing.
Good and bad dynamic and changing
find here, from ist name,
keep in your heart of man humble
a true and consistent message.
Meditate and feel the deep emotion
contemplating the vibrant climax
eternal mist that is circled.
And do not try to describe it in your voice
only he leans his forehead against the abyss
is the mirror of the word of God.

FULL BEAUTA   -Alfonso Ricciutto

I have met many guides during the course of my travels – interesting ones like Stephen in New Zealand, chic ones like Qui in China, boring ones – can’t remember her name at Athens! I had yet to meet one who could manage a large group especially a group of women effectively!!! Till Oliver, our guide at Iguazu falls, who was a class apart! And considering the nature of the touring in Igazu, he really deserves a pat on the back. Funny, flirtatious – poor CN who was at the receiving end of all his comments, thorough with his explanations – so thorough that at our hotel which had the system where lights etc can be controlled from the telephone instrument, he got the telephone from the reception to show us how to use it and making sure that we all kept to his times!

Taller than Niagara Falls, twice as wide with 275 cascades spread in a horseshoe shape over nearly two miles of the Iguazu River, the Iguazu falls lie on the Argentina - Brazil border and are a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site. The border between Brazil and Argentina runs through one of the larger falls called Devil's Throat. In 2011 it was declared as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature.

We arrive at the Foz do Iguaçu International Airport which is in Brazil and the plan is to leave immediately to visit the Argentina side of the falls. On the way there is a particular point where the Parana and Iguazu rivers meet and so do the borders of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. We can’t stop there, but Oliver is like – keep your cameras ready and click on the count of three :-)

Oliver collects our passport for stamping and tells us that the Argentinean custom controls are very strict so we should just not get off the bus for clicking snaps etc when we stop on the Argentinean side. He sure was experienced!!!!

Amethyst at the shop!However, on the Brazilian side he lets us off – in a shop!!! What amazing Amethyst!!! As usual we get busy shopping, but with a promise that he will get us here again either on the way back or the next morning, he manages to get us on to the bus again.

The falls are part of a practically virgin dense jungle ecosystem protected by Argentine and Brazilian national parks. We have lunch at the restaurant in the park and then take the Rainforest Ecological Train, a lot like the toy trains, across the forest to the entrance of trails.

Black crested Jay Quachi Racoons

Two thirds of the falls are on the Argentinean side of the river and walkways across the forest allow close views of falls. We take 2 trails - the Upper and Lower. Walking along we encounter some Quachi Racoons frolicking around on the track and some amazing birds and butterflies. And this is where I feel bad about the loss of my memory card and snaps. A beautiful butterfly on a guy’s knee…I ask him to freeze as I take snaps of it. 3 Maria798Sweet fellow obliges. On a bench some people left crackers and a butterfly is captured nibbling away. Various shots of a blue butterfly perched on the railing with an 8 on its wings as it flutters away:-(

At some points one can literally walk over the water gushing into the Devil's Gorge. One of the walkways takes us directly over the falls of the Devil's Throat, the highest and deepest of the falls, with water pouring into it from three sides. I cannot describe with words what I felt at that time – beautiful, sublime, picturesque, awesome …I think one must put ones head in the spray of water to really feel the power and beauty. The Iguazu falls are among the widest in the world but 4 Maria827because it is split into hundreds of discrete falls and large islands, it isn’t seen as one big curtain of water, but many spectacular smaller falls. The shape of the walkways is such that one enjoys so many different views and at one point near the end we are surrounded by 260 degrees of waterfalls.

So with Meeta’s words - FULL BEAUTA – still ringing in our ears we trace our steps back to the train and collapse in the bus. It seems that at the border, the passport control wanted to count the heads and boarded the bus to check – only to see a busload of sleepy heads! I wouldn’t know – I was fast asleep. By the time we reached our hotel, we all were refreshed for our drinks partyyyyy in Sumi’s room where Meeta and Sumi made some heady cocktails!

Maria862Next morning we leave to see the Brazilian side of the falls. The real enormity of the falls hits us. Though Brazil has only 20% of the balls, it has the most panoramic views. At the start of the trail, one can just look across to all the falls on the Argentina side. We then walk through the subtropical forest of National Iguaçu Park and stop several times to see the falls. Its brilliant, no doubts, but many of us start getting the feeling that the previous day was more impressive…but like its often said – leave the best for the last!


The walkway along the canyon has an extension to the lower base of the spectacular Devil's Throat, where fourteen falls drop 350 feet with such force that there is always a 100 foot cloud of spray overhead. The Mist, the Rainbows…not one but 3 at one time was breathtaking!

Sumi_215Upon seeing Iguazu, the United States' First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt reportedly exclaimed "Poor Niagara!" I haven’t seen the Niagara Falls, but I can’t imagine anything beating what I saw here!

And the cheery on the cake – my window seat on the flight out…I managed to get an aerial view of the falls!

06 June 2012

Reuse, Recycle, Resell!

It’s CSR week at Logica and we at the Writer’s Club are writing for any cause that is close to our hearts.
My contribution -

A friend wondered - Will our children ever know the connection between these two?

Pencil + Cassette

When I sent the first draft of this post to a friend to read, she said “there may be some who don’t know what a cassette is!!!”.
So for all ye from the iPOD generation, this is what we used to jam up our evenings, listening to music on Tape Recorders and Walkmans!

I get all nostalgic.
We were not allowed walkmans in school. But rules are for breaking, aren’t they? Sneaking up to the terrace with our walkmans, sharing the earphone with the less fortunate (?), listening to Wham (George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley), Bruce Springsteen and our favorite was Cyndi Lauper with Girls Just Want to Have Fun!! 

Remember those days when our favorite audio cassettes would get all tangled up and we would use our pencils so diligently to roll back the tape.

She doesn’t let me reminisce for long!
In line with her belief of reusing, she comes up with a brilliant idea! Let’s retain the connection and the memories with this wonderful pen/pencil stand. 

wonderful pen/pencil stand
This is just one of her ideas. Just Google ‘Anokhi Planet’ and you will be amazed at some of her other innovative eco-friendly ideas!

The mantra is Reuse. Recycle. Resell. I have always encouraged the principles of reuse and recycle in my daily life so that I can reduce my contribution to the landfills. I believe that we shouldn’t just don’t throw out stuff that we don't need. If we think, we can reuse or recycle.  But in all honesty, I wasn’t so innovative with my reuse / recycle ideas. And resell didn’t exist - either Hoard or Throw!!!
Till I went to a flea market organized by a group – Second to None, Bangalore (can be found on Facebook). To quote the founders of that group- “Find a new lease of life for objects around you. Don't discard. Resell. Don't waste. Share. Before you buy new, discover the charm of the old."

The reuse ideas that I saw at that market left me flabbergasted. There were soooo creative. I agree that maybe we all are not that creative. But they also post many of these ideas on their Facebook page. We can even post some stuff there and ask for creative ideas for reuse and there will definitely be some responses. Reselling cannot get easier than on this site.

Reusing may be a bit tedious. But the satisfaction from converting a Kelloggs cornflakes carton to a gifting bag, a Pringles box to an earrings organizer, an old pair of jeans/ shorts to a toothpaste/brush holder cannot be described.

To REUSE Mahatama Gandhi’s famous quote – “Simple Ideas, Immense Satisfaction!”

05 June 2012


One blue sky above us
One ocean lapping all our shore
One earth so green and round
Who could ask for more
And because I love you
I'll give it one more try
To show my rainbow race
It's too soon to die.
Some folks want to be like an ostrich,
Bury their heads in the sand.
Some hope that plastic dreams
Can unclench all those greedy hands.
Some hope to take the easy way:
Poisons, bombs. They think we need 'em.
Don't you know you can't kill all the unbelievers?
There's no shortcut to freedom.
Go tell, go tell all the little children.
Tell all the mothers and fathers too.
Now's our last chance to learn to share
What's been given to me and you.

Words and Music by Pete Seeger (1967)