Round and round we go in search of someplace to rest our feet and bags and hop into a pair of shorts, and just as we turn back up the hill away from a potential hotel–itself a hair too pricey at 250 pesos a night, or $50–to find the dude who promises is luxurious digs and wifi and breakfast and more for 50 pesos less, the proprietors roll by us.
They take me resting my shoulders, bag propped against a tree, as a sign of distress, pausing to offer a word of comfort or direction.
And, bingo, a discount rate of 200 pesos a night for their Residencial Los Amigos, a total steal considering hostels charge the same for dorm beds this time of year.
Perfect-o, and after signing in with my passport and listening to the owner frown about Bush and smile about Obama, we bolt upstairs to our tile-floor, electric-heater-on-shower second story room, a little piece of home-sweet-home while we explore the falls.
This place has a pool and pretty gardens and breakfast–the national fare of two pull-apart breads a person, butter, jam, and dulce de leche, a condensed milk caramel spread slathered on everything imaginable, from toast to cake–and little do I know that it is also here that a mystery spider bites me front and back, its poison something against which my skin reacts, large welts the like of a jumbo mosquito bite, itchy and prominent.
Alas, Iguazu marks me, literally, for the remainder of my South American journey, going so far as to convince me that its offspring fester under my skin, boring holes through my abdomen to come out my back, flesh rotting from the inside out, black with decay.
Thank you, Los Amigos, for such a unique parting gift.
It’s one I surely won’t forget.