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2007-08-01 07:23 - New Featured Waterfall


Stirling Falls, New Zealand


Stirling Falls, New Zealand

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2007-08-03 15:26 - How the Minnesota Tragedy relates to Waterfalls in Hawai'i

While the current headlines are about the horror of the collapse of the I-35 bridge near Minneapolis, Minnesota, you can bet that survining family members and victims still alive will probably try to sue the state or the federal government for negligence. It certainly makes you wonder what the state of other bridges around the nation are like. Since our tax dollars are going towards such infrastructure, it's certainly a justified move to sue considering billions of tax dollars are paid by us yet basic infrastructure can be neglected as if we're in a Third World Country. Where is our money going?

Anyhow, I won't get into that. But this issue does have a connection with Hawaii Waterfalls.

Back on Mother's Day 1999, several people were killed when several tons of rock and debris came off the cliff and crushed many people swimming at the base of Sacred Falls. Due to ensuing lawsuits, the state promptly closed the park indefinitely. There are other cases where landowners also face lawsuits for injury on private property (usually around waterfalls) even though landowners generously allowed access.

The problem with the Hawai'i cases is that people risk injury and life whenever they partake in nature-based activities (especially around waterfalls where the potential for rock fall, flash floods, or just slippery surfaces can yield injuries). I always thought that you assume your own risk when voluntarily venturing into nature - especially if you're not paying for it.

So why does the state of Hawai'i overreact and even force landowners to close their doors when usually self-inflicted injuries occur on private or state lands? Are they that powerless against greedy lawyers or lowlifes looking for an easy way to get money from someone?

In any case, I can see lawsuits pertaining to the Minnesota bridge-collapse as being legitimate. I'm not so sure about what I've witnessed over the past few years in Hawai'i.

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2007-08-06 07:25 - Is it worth seeing Iguassu Falls from the Brazilian Side?

We're planning a trip to see Iguassu Falls, but many questions linger as to how it's going to turn out.

We were shocked as to how difficult it is to plan a trip to see the falls from both the Argentina and Brazil side. The bulk of the difficulty comes from the Visa process on the Brazil side.

We knew we were going to stay on the Argentina side because it seemed more tourist-friendly (at least to the US), we wanted to avoid the Sao Paulo Airport which had a recent major airplane accident, and there wasn't a Visa requirement.

Still, we wanted to see the Brazilian side as perhaps a day trip. Julie and I figured it would be what Canada was to the American side for Niagara Falls. We knew we had to obtain a Visa but little did we know that the requirements are so stringent.

During the course of filling out the forms and trying to do things the right way, we're finding out that among other requirements, you need to submit an Brazilian itinerary with your Visa application, which means you have to pre-book a tour (even if you're only visiting for a day). So much for visiting Brazil on your own time and at a more relaxed pace. Next, the consulate fee is $100 per application. I think when all is said and done, you're looking at around $400 per person just for those few hours in Brazil!

It really makes you wonder whether it's worth it or not. Now we've heard of cases where some people managed to get into Brazil without a Visa using a taxi, but what happens if we're stopped? We also heard nightmares about people who were denied access at the border while they were on the bus because they did not have a Brazilian Visa. It wasn't a risk we thought was worth taking. Anyways, the drama continues as we're still trying to get this thing sorted out.

Still it begs the question: Why such a difficult process (at least as far as Americans are concerned)?

After further researching, it seems the Brazilian government is imposing similar Visa requirements that the US is imposing on its foreign visitors. When the U.S. announced that they will fingerprint all foreign vistors, the Brazilians announced that they will do the same to U.S. visitors. It's almost like an eye-for-an-eye mentality except I get the feeling that the Brazilian government is denying itself a boost to its economy as Brazilians may need the tourism money more than the United States (though we'd be stupid to shut out tourism dollars as well). U.S. visitors who don't want to deal with the hassle of the Visa issue stay on the Argentinean side and don't bother to visit the Brazilian side.

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2007-08-07 07:21 - New Featured Waterfall


Stirling Falls, New Zealand


Stirling Falls, New Zealand

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2007-08-10 07:20 - Website Expanding

I know I haven't been blogging as often as the past few months. That's primarily because I've been extremely busy since returning from Iceland and New York. However, one of the things contributing to this dearth of time to work on this website has been getting some web pages composed offline.

Starting this weekend, you will start to see new tier 2 buttons for Iceland and New York followed by supporting pages for each of these regions including updating all the travel blogs from our recent trip with photos and more accurate Icelandic alphabet representations. Due to the magnitude of the website expansion, you will see the page insertions occurring in phases. So that means you might see some broken links. I know the search engine spiders will hate me for it, but I hope it won't bother you too much.

Perhaps that gives you greater reason to check back often and see some of nature's pleasant surprises...

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2007-08-12 14:47 - Eastern US Pages Added

Well I've finally put up some substantial content pertaining to our recent trip to New York and Iceland. First up is the Eastern United States region, which of course only consists of New York for now. However, I do anticipate expanding this region with other East-of-the-Mississippi waterfalls in the near future when we have to set our sights closer to home for waterfalls.

This recent addition includes all tiers of main waterfall pages as well as travel blogs. Stay tuned for phased introductions of the Iceland pages... [read more]

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2007-08-13 08:45 - New Featured Waterfall


Bowen Falls, New Zealand


Bowen Falls, New Zealand

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2007-08-14 07:11 - Southwestern and Southern Iceland Region Added

I've just posted up waterfalls from the Southernwestern and Southern regions of Iceland. I've also posted up the backbone tier 2 and tier 3 pages (including the "Other Attractions") page. More regions to be added this week before I formalize the travel blogs and post them up as well. Stay tuned... [read more]

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2007-08-15 07:11 - Western/Westfjords and Northern Iceland Regions Added

I've managed to put up the waterfalls pages for both the West/Westfjords region and the Northern Iceland Region. Hopefully they turned out ok as I was quite tired last night. If you catch bad descriptions or broken links, please let me know. Otherwise, happy browsing! [read more]

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2007-08-16 18:07 - Eastern Iceland and the Interior Highland Regions Added

I've finally uploaded the remaining waterfalls (from the Eastern Iceland and Interior Highland Regions) we've seen and discussed from the beautiful country of Iceland. All that's left now is to finalize and insert photos for the travel blogs from this country. Stay tuned for this upcoming update to complete the Icelandic addition. In the mean time, check out the wonderful Icelandic Waterfalls through the web pages found here... [read more]

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2007-08-18 09:08 - New Featured Waterfall


Bowen Falls, New Zealand


Christie Falls, New Zealand

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2007-08-20 07:38 - All Funeraled Out

It has been a rather rough couple of weeks. After attending 2 funerals in 3 days, I think Julie and I are quite funeraled out. Still, such events serve to remind us how precious and how short life is. It is in that light that we can never forget our loved ones and try to live life to its fullest. Definitely take nothing for granted and live in the moment. We think we've found our calling in waterfalling and travel, and we'll have to make time to go on more of these excursions with the rest of the family.

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2007-08-21 07:06 - All Iceland Pages Online

I've finally managed to put up all the travel blogs for the Iceland trip a couple months ago. With these files online now, that means all the Iceland pages (except for other things I want to put in like books and language) are up. Like other trips in which we've spent a good deal of time, this trip is what I consider a life-changing event as my perspective on life and the world has changed as well as the fact that my library of experiences have been greatly augmented. You can read about the nuances of our trip by clicking on the following link... [read more]

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2007-08-22 07:16 - Is Niagara Falls overcommercialized?

When Julie and I visited Niagara Falls this past summer, we had differing opinions about our experience. To me, it was very commercialized with high rise buildings on the Canadian side dominating the landscape, various other buildings and bridges all up and down the Niagara River, and various commercial tours/excursions (many of them motorized or full of plastic waste) around the falls making the area feel more like an amusement park rather than an escape into nature. On the other hand, Julie really loved the fact that it was so easily accessible and viewable from all sorts of different positions along the Niagara River and around the brink of the falls. She even considered her Niagara Falls experience as better than some of the more naturesque waterfalls we've seen. I guess it just goes to show you how people react differently to the same thing.

But despite what we think, I couldn't help but wonder whether all this commercialism is a good thing or not? The pro-commercialists would certainly point out that the hydroelectric diversions help keep the falls flowing consistently while reducing erosion (i.e. slowing down the rate at which the falls recede further back). They'd also point out that more people get to see and appreciate the raw power of nature while generating income for the local population as well as that of the US Treasury. On the flip side, a conservationist sees urban sprawl spoiling one of nature's greatest wonders. The pollution from motorized tours (e.g. boat tours like the Maid of the Mist and the Niagara River Tours) and waste from all the production and consumption of plastic rain coats, foamy sandals, etc. certainly can't make such activities sustainable. Many of the excursions also feel more like contrived tourist traps as opposed to natural attractions.

I guess it ultimately comes down to what ground rules politicians and authorities have allowed and enforced. Businesses must then play within these rules (though they usually find ways to bend them) with some degree of reprimand if they're broken. And customers are ultimately given the choice of whether to visit and consume these products or not. In the big picture, you can see that the state of natural attractions tend to be reflective of the attitudes and policies of its rulemakers. The trashier and more exploited a place is, generally the greedier and more corrupt the officials are. Conversely, the more protected and pristine a place is, generally the more foreward-thinking and more disciplined the officials are. Certainly, things aren't as black and white as this as there are always multiple sides and issues to contend with, but it's definitely something to consider when choosing your next vacation destination and whether or not you want to part with your money and time for some of these things... [read more]

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2007-08-23 07:13 - New Featured Waterfall


Milford Sound Waterfalls, New Zealand


Milford Sound Waterfalls, New Zealand

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2007-08-24 07:22 - The Hidden Cost of Vaccinations

As Julie and I prepare to go to Iguazu Falls (or Iguassu Falls), there was still the issue of getting vaccinated for various mosquito-born viruses as well as bacteria-related illnesses. The waterfall resides on the border of Argentina and Brazil, and according to the Center for Disease Control, there were numerous diseases that we had to be aware of. So of course we went ahead and tried to protect ourselves against them, but we were caught off guard by the cost of such vaccines. The kicker is that insurances don't cover these vaccinations!

The ones we're talking about for this trip pertain to yellow fever, dengue fever, malaria, hepatitis A and B, measles, tetanus, etc. We've underdone a battery of injections and drugs covering these things just as insurance against the chances of infection. So far, the overall cost for the both of us is amounting to about $1500 USD! Now I've spoken to people who have gone to the falls without getting any vaccinations so maybe we're overreacting. But if we're able to hit a kangaroo and a deer during our travels, luck isn't necessarily on our side so we didn't want to take chances.

Certainly we didn't budget for this on a trip we thought was supposed to be cheaper than trips to say the more developed countries like Australia, Norway, Iceland, and New Zealand. It's turning out the costs (at least up front) are about the same if you factor all of these things in. Maybe it's only once you get to the country (Argentina and Brazil in our case) will you'll start to see differences in prices and possibly save money. But in any case, I guess price versus safety is usually proportional to each other. That is, the safer the trip you want, the more it's going to cost you. Sure you can go cheap, but it's going to mean there's a greater chance something's going to happen.

We'd like to hear what you think about this issue. Are we overreacting to the threat of diseases in that part of South America? Is it worth saving money by forgoing the vaccines as the likelihood of contracting something isn't as great as the price warrants? Or are we doing the right thing by paying now and not having to pay even more money in hospital expenses if something did happen?

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2007-08-27 07:24 - Californian Drought

Although I suspected that we had a particularly dry winter in California, I sometimes wonder why it doesn't get more coverage than it does and why more active steps aren't taken to force conservatism. It took a Science Channel program about Eco-Tech to hit home on this one. But it appears that we are seeing the lowest precipitation in the state for a 12-month period in 130 years (basically since they started taking measurements). It's pretty obvious what this means for waterfalls, but it also has far reaching consequences to our water supply, our food supply, our ecosystems.

In any case, it seems we better brace ourselves for the fallout of what's to come. I suppose we can look to Australia to see how they're dealing with their current drought problems to even begin to understand what we're in for... [read more]

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2007-08-28 07:16 - New Featured Waterfall


Milford Sound Waterfalls, New Zealand


Milford Sound Waterfalls, New Zealand

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2007-08-29 07:41 - Niagara Falls - One of the Big Three

Niagara Falls is by far the largest waterfall (by volume at least) in North America. There are two other waterfalls of similar magnitude (the others being Iguazu Falls and Victoria Falls) but perhaps none can top Niagara with its accessibility. That's because infrastructure has been built around the falls so just about anyone can visit the falls in some way shape or form. It doesn't matter if you're handicapped, if you've got kids, if you're on your honeymoon, or if you're just traveling, whatever... There are numerous excursions and ways to experience the granddaddy of the waterfalls. Check out the following link to see some of the ways we've experienced the great Niagara Falls... [read more]

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2007-08-30 05:09 - Iguazu Falls (or Iguassu Falls) up next

Well since we're headed to the Argentina side, we'll refer to this mammoth waterfall by its Spanish spelling. Of course, it's also spelled Iguassu Falls or Yguazu Falls for Brazil and Paraguay, respectively. In any case, indeed we're headed to Iguazu Falls for the Labor Day weekend.

Call us crazy for going out of our way to the falls for just a weekend, but I guess it just shows how far we would go for a good waterfall. After all, this is the second of the big three waterfalls (having been to Niagara Falls already).

With seemingly no hurricane complications on the way to Miami and reservations, vaccines, and Visas in order, it looks like we're good to go. Needless to say Julie and I are excited and we hope things work out as planned. Stayed tuned for updates to the World of Waterfalls website concerning this trip...

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