So here I am, at Iguazu Falls (one of the most
amazing places on the planet, mind you), vainly trying to capture
some of it with the camera. Eventually, Susan nudges me to indicate
that it would be polite to let some other people out on the ledge
now, whether I've finished or not. Embarrassed, I move out of
the way, not realizing that these two guys had been waiting. They
smile, step in, snap a few pictures, and then ask if we'd take
one of them together. Of course we will. So they lean against
the railing with the Falls in the background, and I take the shot.
Then they turn around and we realize that they're wearing the
same shirt. It has a map of Argentina on it, with a red line going
the length from north to south. We soon discover that they are
just finishing a 74-day bike ride through Argentina. Iguazu Falls,
on the border of Brazil and Argentina, marks the conclusion of
their journey and today is somewhat of a celebration for them.
Their names are Diego and Javier, from Spain.
We meet a lot of people while traveling –
that’s part of the fun. Usually these meetings are enjoyable,
we learn or hear about something interesting, and are on our way.
But once in a while, something elevates these chance encounters;
the conversation and laughter flow freely and it’s as though
we’ve found best friends that have been hiding somewhere.
For reasons that are hard to explain, Diego and Javier were suddenly
very dear to us. We wanted to know everything about their trip.
What was the hardest part? What was most memorable? How did they
carry all that stuff on their bikes? Do their clothes stink worse
Javier at Iguazu Falls
Without really planning on it or even making
a conscious decision to do so, we end up spending the rest of
the day with them, marveling at the falls.
We tentatively planned to meet up the following
day, on the Argentinean side of the falls, but none of us were
sure about the timing, so we were quite surprised (and very pleased)
to hear them yelling at us from the jeep that was pulling up to
drive us to the boat ride near the falls. Whoohoo - what luck!
Claire, Javier, and us at Iguazu Falls
During and after the boat ride, the four of
us joined with another pair of world travelers. Liz and Claire
are just starting their round-the-world trip, so of course we
had plenty to talk about. And why wouldn’t they want to
chat with us, since we’re hanging out with two tall, good-looking,
athletic Spanish guys? Another wonderful day ensued, the six of
us exploring the falls en masse like a group of old friends, snapping
pictures together like we were there on some sort of reunion.
Will we ever see them again? We hope so. Will
we remember them forever? Absolutely.