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Sunday, 7 November 2010

The Subtropical Jungle and Great Waterfalls of South America

National Park Iguazú was probably at first protected from a geo-political point of view. A subtropical impenetrable jungle, cascading waterfalls, and wide river of great volume became borders of three countries, Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. A natural border is more than just a simple line on a map. When two rivers like the Parana and the Iguazú converge, the natural event is of such magnitude that it has the force to create real boundaries and limitations that can not be easily crossed. These limitations are "permanent" and can not be reversed. Historically the communities that lived on each side of these great natural limits evolved to the point of becoming unique societies and Nations. Each one has their own culture and ethnicity. Each one has their language. Beyond the anthropologic and even further from the geo-political or economical, in the area of Triple Border, there is another language that is active and which is powerful. This language is the dialect of the subtropical jungle and of the phenomenon known as"The Great Waterfalls” (Cataratas). This language does not need nor require of our interpretation to exist. This living language or phenomenon is part of the same source that defined, limited and continues to shaped the region. Nourishing all the basin of fundamental waters from South Brazil to the Parana river and all the Basin of la Plata (Cuenca del Plata). Jungle and waterfalls find their origin in a lava spill that occurred millions of years ago in the Mesozoic. The great Basalt spill and the Glacial Era in conjunction with the great tectonic movements which caused the Parana Fissure of Fault. The cycle of water first Glacier, then “modern” hydrological, the ancient Iguazú river, the convergence, erosion and process of retreat of the so called Devil’s Throat and the birth of the Inferior Iguazú river, have all been confirmed by science. These great geological natural phenomenons are not in danger. In fact, they are in as much danger as a Volcano is endangered by a man. However, next to this massive event that is originated with an igneous expression, Mankind is not alone. There are numerous species in the subtropical jungle. A significant number of these species are directly affected by human impact, some becoming extinct. Mankind is affecting forces beyond his comprehension. The forces affected go beyond living forces, some being Abiotic or non-living. In this Post-Jurassic park Mankind shares life with thousands of millions of species. The complex processes should be studied with depth and with the respect and humility they demand. In 2010, these generations and new generations do nothing more than to live in an immense mercy. At the edge of an “ancient volcanic land”, dwells an infinite paradise. Click on Image to read more.

Adventures in Vietnam Banking
The benefit of being around the ex-pat community in any country is, ostensibly, that we all have to overcome the same hurdles such as visas and work permits. When you are confronted with a problem, you probably aren’t the first person to face it. And, you can get good advice from people who have already overcome the same problems as you. Often, however, the advice you get is downright stupid. It makes you wonder how these people survived over here, or somewhere else for that matter. Recently, I received email from a guy who was planning to go to Cambodia and put an ad in the paper advertising himself as a bodyguard. This incredibly stupid suggestion was given to him by his friend who had been living in Phnom Penh for years and years, and should have know better. First off, if you don’t speak Khmer, how could you possibly understand or work for your Khmer employer? Next, foreigners are not allowed to carry or possess weapons in Cambodia. So, how could you protect your principle? Another point is the role of the bodyguard. In Cambodia, nearly all bodyguards are licensed police officers. Their role is to work as leg-breaking thugs, enforcers for their bosses. Or, if they are high ranking police, they are there to keep the other cops off your back and to make sure the pay-offs make into the right hands. Click Image to read more.

600 Hectares: Red Earth and Developments
600 Hectares is as an area that borders with National Park Iguazú and the Reserve. The name 600 hectares comes from the dimensions of the area. Local environmentalists and Park Management are concerned about this area. 600 hectares limits to East with National Park Iguazú, Argentina and with the Resevation. Tourism in Iguazú has significantly risen in the past years. Workers in Port Iguazú and in the National Park say that they have seen more tourism this year than ever before. A new road has been opened on the western area that limits with National Park. This new route, and this type of routes, is specifically banned by National Park Management Plan Iguazú, Argentina. 600 hectares have been bought by businessmen, groups and companies. The land used to belong to the local native original communities, called the Guarani people. The land historically has always been of the Guarani. Now it has been sold. A narrow dirt path that used to lead to one of the original communities has been replaced by a wide two-way asphalt road. Environmentalist and sources inside Technical Park Office are also concerned. The developments occurring in this area are also specifically banned by the National Park Management Plan which is a legal document approved by the Government of Argentina. The massive flow of tourism is fuelling this kind of developments. Along route 12 several Hotels structures have been left unfinished. The structures rise up to 4 to 6 or sometimes more floors. To build hotels of such dimensions is also banned by the National Park Management. This area is known as 600 hectares. It is an invaluable and significantly large area that is being developed. The impact it will have on National Park Iguazú will be irreversible. The new road that has been built goes North in the jungle from route 12. Click Image to read more.

>Species Extract from the 89 Management Plan
The National Park Management Plan for Iguazú Argentina is more than 270 pages long. It has long texts, official signatures, maps and graphs. It is not only a document of legal value of the Federal country of Argentina and its government, it is a well researched, historical, social, environmental and collaborative document that speaks of the subtropical Jungle, the area that is Triple Border, transport, rivers, hydrology, geology, species, conservation, tourism and other industries and the problematic of the area. Although the Management Plan was written in 1989, it is the only still the only Management Plan the National Park of Iguazú uses. As it is a document of General Public Interest and Government document that speaks of the National Park of Iguazú which is not only a National Park but a World Heritage area, it is of great importance for this document to be transparent and open to the public. What follows are extracts of the Management Plan. The Management Plan of Park Iguazú Argentina was written in 1989. While percentages and numbers may vary slightly, the overall scenario in 2010 is exactly as the Management Plan described in 1989. This is itself is a insightful point. How much have things changed? Click on Image to read more.

Birth of Great Iguazú Waterfalls (Hidrology)
Iguazú is a combination of two words, Great Water. The language of these two words is Guarani. Guarani is a strong language. Some argue as a language it could disappear. It is a native South American language. The Iguazú waterfalls where born about 100,000 years ago in the region known today as Triple Border. In that region the Iguazú river and the Parana river converged. Today triple border is the natural frontier between Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. The Parana river flowed and still flows over a geological fault that descends from North to the South. Waters from the hydrological cycle, mountains and other rivers flow into the Parana river. The Paraná river flows through that natural fault. This elevated fault was transversal and elevated the coasts. Local geologists say that the occidental Parana river coast was elevated 30 metres higher than the oriental coast. Today the Parana river divides Argentina and Paraguay. As the fault moved the waters deepened seeking their base level. The Parana river found base level 80 metres from the coast. The Iguazú river which still flowed into the Parana now had to cascade and water began to fall 80 metres into the Parana. A strong process of erosion began. Know how the great falls where formed. Click Image to read more.

Teaching English Pronunciation to Vietnamese Students
A ESL teacher in Saigon wrote me: “As you may have worked out already, the pronunciation of Vietnamese ESL learners is not great. I am looking at ways to try and improve the pronunciation of the learners at my school.” As a linguist, do you have any insights into spoken English and the difficulties that syllable-timed L1s (Vietnamese people) might have learning a stressed-timed L2 language?” Chinese, Korean, or Khmer students have some consistent pronunciation problems, but they can make themselves understood. With Vietnamese, the pronunciation is often so far off that you have no idea what they are even trying to say. When it comes to language learning, the Vietnamese are faced with several problems. At least two of which are unique to Vietnam, but the others seem to be consistent across Asia. Let’s get the Asian consistent problems out of the way first. The Confucian education system, which is prevalent in Taiwan, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam is based on rote learning. If we take Kung Fu as an example of the ultimate expression of confusion learning; all of the Kung Fu movements which will ever exist, already exist. There will be no innovations and no additions. The best student is the one who most accurately copies his teacher and reproduces what the teacher does. In the days when people still fought with kung Fu or used it for self-defense, the logic in the training was that the teacher would think of every possible attack situation...

A Gift from Wanda and the Red Earth Mines
The news channels spoke about Cholera outbreak in Haiti, cyclones hitting the US coast and tornados sweeping the Northern province of Argentina, Formosa. Not far from there, in Misiones, Port Iguazú the sky was covered with stratus grey clouds. Cumulus swept the horizon with threatening colours. I was getting ready to go to Wanda. Wanda is an area in northern Misiones just a few minutes drive from Port Iguazú. The area is known for its mines. Wanda is rich in quartz, and holds geodes filled with different crystals. These can be worth locally about 1,000 pesos. Internationally once they are on the market they can sell for 6,000 USD or sometimes more, depending on the size and on the quality of the crystals. From a scientific point of view, the crystals of Wanda are priceless. They are the result of a geological process that took millions of years to form. As mentioned in Chapter 6, The Great Geological Event, quartz was carried by lava that spilled in the Mesozoic Era. The sand heated by temperatures above 2,000° C crystallized into crystal quartz. Basalt covered bubbles of sand and geodes travelled through out the region. Locally Wanda is the place where they are found in abundance. The crystals caught inside the post Jurassic lava -which later cooled into basalt, interacted with the minerals and chemical elements. This is how deep beneath 2 to 3 metres of red organic earth in the area of Wanda people find crystals. I was getting close to the Mines when small children boys and girls approached me with noise. They held in their hands improvised plates. Those plates where filled with crystals. Mostly quartz and lightly toned quartz, either smoked or amethyst. There in front me they unfolded. They where several children, not older than 7 or 8, and not younger than 4. They offered crystals to anyone that passed their way. At fist it happened once, then twice, then at every twist of the road. Click on Image to read more.

Evolution of the Great Watefalls of Iguazú (Hyrdology)
According to Walker Penk, the Iguazú Inferior river is a river of young profile. It is deep, flows with strength and great volume, it is narrow and has been modified by the geological fault produced from North to South where the river now flows. On the other hand the Iguazú superior river is a river of broad shallow waters. When the river is not in its high season it can be crossed walking. It forms meanders. The geography of the Superior Iguazú is filled with small islands, and when the river grows the waters alter the environment. The Superior River changes with seasons and changes with precipitations and over the years. Local Geologists say that the Throat is the main waterfall and it is where erosion is at it highest expression. Therefore it is there that retreating occurs with greater speed. They say that with the years the “throat” will capture more volume of water and the other jumps will be left without water. But this will not diminish the volume of water. Another theory disagrees. It says that the “throat” has proved before that it can not handle all the volume of water. This is why the superior Iguazú was created and the new falls came to be. This other theory states that while joints may be a cause of the river dividing into several falls, being the “throat” the most important, the volume of the waters was greater than the rate at which the water could erode and fall through the “throat”. Following this line of reasoning, and if climate change continues to increase the amount of precipitations in the area, the volume of the Iguazú from the North of Brazil will increase. This could cause a different scenario. Hydrology requires years of study and requires professional interpretation of data. Millenniums where needed for the waterfall to form. How will the great Watefalls evolve? Click Image for more.

Assassination reaches Triple Border
The streets of Port Iguazú at night are open for tourists. The Casino lights turn -on and the stores shine offering precious stones. International and local tourist descend into the centre of the city and find their way to restaurants, cafes, pubs or walk in artisan trails. The city with shinning lights invites tourists from around the world. Massively they come into the waterfall city. As I came down into the streets, wondering, like any other person who does not live in Port Iguazú wonder, I was surprised by a group of people who where walking in great silence through Avenue Aguirre. Avenue Aguirre runs right through downtown Port Iguazú. Avenue Aguirre leads to the entrance of the city. If you follow it downhill it will cross Port Iguazú´s Hospital, Central Bank, Casino, tourist centre, hotels, hostels, restaurants and the Main City Plaza. It will then change its name to Triple Border and lead to the Municipality as well as the Technical Office of National Park Management. Avenue Aguirre and Avenue Triple Border seems like a small street for most tourists. In fact most tourist use it to find the cyber, hostels, drinks, or maybe the Casino. However, it is the one of the main streets for the local people, activities and authorities. Avenue Aguirre also leads to Triple Border. It is the border of Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil. I stood at the corner looking at this group of marching people. They all seemed very silent. As a journalist, I have seen a march or two but I had never seen such silence. The night covered the sky and the jungle surrounded the city. In that moment the thought of having a nice meal and calling it a night vanished from my head. Who where these people with flags? Why where they marching? They where sure demonstrating against something. But, then if they where, why where they so silent? Click Image to read more.

30 Years of National Park Experience go On the Record
Juan Manuel Correa is a guide who has worked in National Park Iguazú for 30 years. He studied and is a professional in what he does. His 30 years inside the Park, provide invaluable insight of the functioning of National Park Iguazú, Misiones, Argentina. His business cards, which are waterproofed, read in bold letters, “Protecting the Park we Assure a Home for our Children”. I was inside National Park, standing right in front one of the most impressive views of the Inferior Trail when I I met Juan Manuel Correa. He was guiding a group through the Inferior Trail himself, but he took the time to talk to me. He introduced himself, and I did the same. He said I should to take the trail down to Isla San Martin. I had read about Island San Martin now he confirmed it was another incredible location. We talked about the Island San Martin. I asked him why it was closed off. “Is it true the river is high and that is why the free ride to Isla San Martin is cut off?” Juan Manuel Correa said, "The river is not high. Look at all those speed boats that charge tourists to take them through the river. The problem here is that Iguazú is a party 364 days a year”. Is promoting tourism, eco-tourism or green tourism good for the Province? Is it good for the National Park?” Juan Manuel Correa said, “We have to be honest with this issue. One thing is a culture where one generates from the schools what is green tourism. What is that which we call green or eco-tourism. Because it is not to go into the region or park, step on everything, take a snap shot and take back whatever it is that you may find. Another things is to have an open consciousness and to have an experience. Where one starts from kindergarten and pre-school. That is called All-Movement. Argentina is far from that. It is all words. Today we hear the word sustainable. What is that word? What does it mean?” Click Image to read more.

900. Photographic Exploration of the Subtropical Jungle and The Great Waterfalls of Iguazú

New Media , From Elebrity to Financial Independence
Justin Halpern made a move from Twitter to network television, when his rants, entitled “Shit My Dad Says” were picked up as a TV series. According to a recent report out of Japan, five out of the top ten Japanese best sellers in 2007 were novels written by texting on a cell phone“The Last Messages” a hit novel in Finland is composed exclusively of roughly 1,000 text messages. Tila Tequila, a Vietnamese-French, from Singapore, has a MySpace page with a quarter of a billion hits. She moved from MySpace to magazines, reality TV shows, to video games and finally landed on an MTV reality show called “A shot at Love with Tila Tequila,” Michael Buckley from the web TV show, “What’s the Buck,” is one of very few examples of someone who moved from broadcast TV, to the internet, and then to financial success and stardom. The original plan of many bloggers, website administrators, and youtube channel owners was: to start out producing lots of free content, writing stories and making videos online, build up an online following and then cash in on it. Five years into youtube and a bit longer into first, My Space, and now Facebook, a lot of people have invested countless hours, and often a lot of money, on their blog, or space or channel. And now they want to know, “Where’s the money More info?” Click on Image for more.