Things I Have Learned In Misiones, Argentina (Iguazu Falls)

Things I Have  Learned In Misiones, Argentina (Iguazu Falls)

“They say that people who live near waterfalls, don’t hear the water.”

Jonathan Safran Foer

Misiones is a province in Northeast Argentina. It is surrounded by Paraguay, Brazil and Corrientes Province.  It was part of Paraguay in the 1800’s.

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The land is mostly covered in a subtropical forest. (Emilio White – photographer)

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The rocks and soil have a high iron content giving the ground a red color.

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Paraguay is the largest producer of marijuana in the world. (no it is not, it is yerba maté which is also grown here)

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Yerba Mate is grown in Misiones and Corrientes provinces of Northeast Argentina. It was originally cultivated by the Guarani people. it called mate after the gourd it is drunk from. It is a stimulant but has less caffeine than coffee or tea.

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You can get to Paraguay in ten minutes by  rowboat.

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San Ignacio Mission was one of the many missions founded in 1632 by the Jesuits in what the Spanish called the Province of Paraguay in the Americas during the Spanish Colonial Period.

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This is an odd admission fee price breakdown.

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The history of these ruins will be familiar to anyone who has seen the movie “The Mission” with Robert De Niro and Jeremy Irons. It is one of the most beautiful musical scores by Ennio Morricone  from a movie and the themes go around in my head as I walk through the ruins. (Play music)

It was designated a world heritage site by Unesco and World Monument site.San Ignacio Miní was included in the inaugural 1996 Monuments Watch by the World Monuments Fund.

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The impressive well-preserved  ruins are “ Guarani Baroque style” .  The mission guides explain how the missions were maintained and run.  Originally the Guarani joined the missions to escape slavery by Paraquay and Brazil.   Eventually the Spaniards got rid of the Jesuits to enslave the Guarani themselves,

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The Guarani are a group of indigenous people who live in Paraguay, Brazil and Misiones.(Guarani selling orchids on the side of the road)

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There is 1 per cent left of the Atlantic Rainforest in Missiones. Conservationists are working very hard to save what is left. There are many endangered animals birds and fish and amphibians – including the giant otter, anteater, jaguar and tiger, Brazilian merganser and harpy eagle and crocodiles. (Emilio White- photographer)

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Iguazu Falls are the waterfalls of the Iguazu River located on the border of the Brazilian state of Parana and the Argentine province of Misiones. The falls divide the river into the upper and lower Iguazu.

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The waterfall system consists of 275 falls along 1.67 miles of the Iguazu River.  (Emilio White photographer)

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Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca (head of cow) was the first European to find the falls in 1541. One of the falls on the Argentine side is named after him. The falls were rediscovered by Boselli at the end of the nineteenth century and another Argentine fall is named after him. (Emilio White -photographer)

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No, I am not on this boat. Yes, that is a real rainbow.

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Iguazu Falls has the greatest annual flow of any waterfall in the world. The water falling over Iguazu in peak rainy season has a surface of about 40 hectare (1.3 million ft.).  They are taller and twice as wide as Niagara Falls. IMG_1522

 Do not feed the Coati. The photos will explain.

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The Devil’s Throat (Gargantuan Del Diablo), a U-shaped, 82 meter high (269 feet), 150 meter wide and 700 meter long (490 by 2300 ft) cataract, is the most impressive of all marking the border between Argentina and Brazil.

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Two thirds of the falls are in Argentine territory.

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The water from the lower Iguazu collects in a canyon that drains the Parana River in Argentina, shortly downstream form the Itaipu Dam.

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How is the water?

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Iguazu Falls are the result of a volcanic eruption which left a large crack in the earth.

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The best time to see the falls are in Spring and Autumn. Summer is intensely hot and humid and in winter the water level is much lower.

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Seeing Iguazu Falls, I stand in awed wonder. They are my first important waterfalls. You know that man can never create anything this perfect. It will always be a favorite place for me. They will be my reminder of beauty and power in nature and life,

Special thanks to my guide, wildlife photographer Emilio White, for sharing Misiones and the rainforest with me. It is always best to see something for the first time with someone who is as passionate about the rainforest as Emilio is. He is currently working on a book about the Atlantic Rainforest and Iguazu Falls, I can’t wait to see it.

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Buen Dia and Fly Safe,

JAZ

 

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Favorite Foreign Films

“Toto, I have a feeling we are not in Kansas anymore.”  Wizard of Oz 1939

Favorite Foreign Films

There is nothing I like better than sitting in a dark theatre with subtitles. It combines  some of my favorite things –  reading , movies and foreign countries.  The best thing is  to be eating popcorn, red vines and a diet coke.  Lately,  it  is  healthy snacks brought from home  – almonds, Tcho chocolate and water.  I know when people think of the best foreign films they include names like Fellini, Kurosawa, Trauffaut,  Eisenstein, Bunuel,  De Sica etc.  This could be another blog.  Im sure most of you have at least heard of those.  I thought I would  list some of the ones that I have really enjoyed  a little more recently.  You might find a few that you have missed.  They are in no particular order. Im sure you can get them on netflix.  Sadly, I feel the need to add a disclaimer.  None of these films  will cause trauma or violence to anyone.

Cinema Paradiso (Italy)

Writer Director:  Giuseppe Tornatore  Cast: Philippe Noiret, Enzo Cannavale

It is my favorite movie and my favorite movie score (Ennio Morricone). Cinema Paradiso won the Academy Award for best foreign film in 1989. It takes place in a village in Italy during World War ll and has a wonderful cast of villagers.  The film  follows Toto (Jacques Perrin), a Sicilian boy who persuades the town projectionist, Alfredo (Philippe Noiret), to teach him how to show films. Spanning nearly 50 years, it draws parallels between Toto’s life and those lives he sees on screen. As Toto matures into Salvatore, a successful Italian filmmaker, the Cinema Paradiso ages as well.

The Lives of Others (Germany)

Writer Director:  Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck   Cast:  Ulrich Muhe, Martina Gedeck and Sebastian Koch

In 1984 East Berlin, an agent of the secret police, conducting surveillance on a writer and his lover, finds himself becoming increasingly absorbed by their lives. The film does a beautiful job of questioning integrity or duty while keeping you on the edge of your seat with the suspense.  The acting is  superb and has one of the most satisfying endings. It won the 2006 Academy Award for best foreign film.

Amelie  (France)

Director: Jean Pierre Jeunet   Writer: Guillaume Laurant, Jean Perre Jeunet Cast: Audrey Tatou, Mathieu Kassoviz

Amelie is a young waitress in Montmarte. She has grown up isolated from other children, very shy and  with a vivid imagination. She begins to get involved in the lives around her by matchmaking and fixing problems from a distance. She forms a friendship with a man who slowly helps her breakdown her own isolation and shyness .

A Separation (Iran)

Writer Director:  Asghar Farhadi   Cast: Peyman Moadi, Leila Hatami and Sareh Bayat

The film focuses on an Iranian middle-class couple who separate.   More conflicts  arise when the husband hires a lower-class caretaker for his elderly father, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. It shows life in current day Iran.  The film won the Academy Award for best foreign film  in 2011.  I think it is the closest thing to a perfect film – it is very well written, acted and directed.

Moscow Doesn’t Believe In Tears  (Russia)

Director:  Vladimir Menshov  Writers:  Valentin  Chernykh, Valdimir Menshov Cast: Vera Alentova, Irina Muravyova, Aleksey Batalov

The story of three women takes place in the nineteen fifties and continues twenty-three years later.  It depicts life in Russia for these three women who come to Moscow to follow their dreams. (A Soviet chick flick).  It is mainly the story of Katerina and her daughter.  The film won the Academy Award for best foreign film in 1980.

All About My Mother (Spanish-French)

Writer – Director: Pedro Almodovar  Cast: Cecilia Roth, Marisa Paredes and Candela Pena

Esteban wants to become a writer and also to discover the identity of his father.  His mother searches for his father. That is is the simplified version of the story. Almodóvar dedicates his film “To all actresses who have played actresses. To all women who act. To men who act and become women. To all the people who want to be mothers. To my mother.” It won the Academy Award  for best foreign film in 2000.

Strictly Ballroom (Australian)

Writer – Director:  Baz Luhrmann  Cast: Paul Mercurio, Tara Morice, Bill Hunter

While studying at the National Institute for Dramatic Arts in Sydney, Baz Lurhmann and friends wrote a short dramatic piece about competitive ballroom dancing. A dancer risks his career by performing an unusual routine  with a new partner at the Pan Pacific Grand Prix Dancing Championship.  The characters are great and if you are a Dancing with The Stars fan this is a must see. It is being made into a musical in Sydney.

.Life Is Beautiful (Italy)

Director: Roberto Benigni  Writers: Vincenzo Cerami and Roberto Benigni Cast: Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi

A Jewish man uses his humor and imagination to get the girl and later to protect his son in a Nazi concentration camp during World War two.  It won the Academy Award for best foreign film in 1999.  Robert Benigni won the Best Actor award that year.

City of God (Brazil)

Directors: Fernando Meirelles, Katia Lund   Writers: Paulo Lins, Braulio Mantovani   Cast: Alexandre Rodrigues, Matheus Nachtergaele and Leandro Firmino

This is a story about two boys growing up in a favela (slum) of Rio de Janeiro.  They take different paths: one becomes a photographer, the other a drug dealer. The story is based on real events. It is about the growth of organized crime in the Cidade de Deus (city of God) suburb of Rio de Janeiro. Many of the actors are residents of the favelas. “If you run, the beast catches; if you stay, the beast eats”.

Goodbye Lenin (Germany)

Director:  Wolfgang  Becker Writer: Bernd Lichtenberg, Wolfgang Becker Cast: Daniel Bruhl, Katrin Sab, Chulpan  Khamatova

In 1990, to protect his fragile mother from a fatal shock after a long coma, a young man must keep her from learning that her beloved nation of Communist  East Germany as she knew it has disappeared.

Y Tu Mama Tambien (Mexico)

Director: Alfonso Cuaron  Writers: Alfonso Cuaron and Carlos Cuaron  Cast: Maribel Verdu, Gael Garcia Bernal, Ana Lopez

In Mexico, two teenage boys and an attractive older woman embark on a road trip ( yes, a Mexican road movie)  and learn a thing or two about life, friendship, sex, and each other.  It also depicts the economic- political scene of Mexico at that time.

Together (China)

Director: Kaige Chen  Writers: Kaige Chen, Xiao Lu Xue  Cast: Yun Tang, Peige Liu and Hong Chen

A violin prodigy and his father from a poor peasant  family travel to Beijing, where the father seeks the means to his son’s success while the son struggles to accept the path laid before him. He learns  not only music but what is important in life.

The Untouchables ( France)

Writer -Directors:  Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano  Cast: Francois Cluzet, Omar Sy, Anne Le Ny, Audrey Fleurot, Clotilde Mollet

The Untouchables is a story of a rich quadriplegic, his daughter and staff and what happens to them all when he hires a caretaker from a Paris ghetto. It is corny, calculating and commercial and I loved every minute of it.

The Wind Will Carry Us ( Iran)

Writer Director  Abbas Kiarostami Cast:Behzad Dorani, Noghre Asadi and Roushan Karam

“The Wind Will Carry Us is a film about nothing and everything—life, death, the quality of light on dusty hills.”

A city engineer comes to a rural village in Iran to keep vigil for a dying relative. In the meanwhile the film follows his efforts to fit in with the local community and how he changes his own attitudes as a result.  The villagers are played by real people in the village. It is a very hard film to describe because it is so visual that you are in it and so symbolic and poetic that you are always searching for the deeper meaning.

The Class  (France)

Director: Laurent Cantet  Writers: Laurent Cantet, Robin Campillo  Cast: Francois Begaudeau, Agame Malembo-Emene and Angelica Sancio

The film is based on the semi autobiographical novel by Francois Begaudeau  who plays himself as he negotiates a year with his racially mixed students from a tough Parisian neighborhood. The camera never leaves the school, so we see what he saw as a teacher.

Salaam Bombay (India)

Director: Mira Nair  Writers: Mira Nair, Soona Taraporevala  Cast: Shafiq Syed,Hansa Vithal, Chanda Sharma

Salaam Bombay chronicles the life of street children in Bombay.  The children are played by the real street children. It centers around the story of Krishna who has been abandoned by his mother and is trying to make enough money to return. It is another one of my most  favorite films.

Shall We Dance? ( Japanese)

Writer-Director: Masayuki Suo   Cast: Koji Yakusho, Tamiyo Kusakari, Naoto Takenaka

A successful but unhappy Japanese accountant finds the missing passion in his life when he begins to secretly take ballroom dance lessons. There was an American remake of the film in 2004 with Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez but it was not  good. The Japanese version is very good.

The Lady (France)

Director: Luc Besson  Writer: Rebecca Frayn  Cast: Michelle Yeoh, David Thewlis, Jonathan Raggett

The film is the story of Aung San Suu Kyi as she becomes the core of Burma’s democracy movement, and her relationship with her husband, writer Michael Aris. She is a real life heroine, a female fighter who uses no other weapons than her human virtues. She was the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Asia. She could not be there to accept because she was under house arrest in Burma (Myanmar) for over a decade. Michelle Yeoh who plays her in the film is not allowed into Burma. It is an important movie, especially if you don’t know much about her.

Let me know about some of your favorite films.

also see favorite foreign documentary films.

https://havefunflysafe.wordpress.com/2012/12/05/favorite-foreign-documentary-films/

Fly Safe,

JAZ