Paraguay

Asuncion | Welcome to Paraguay | July 1, 2004
So after our good times in Argentina, today we finally waved goodbye with teary eyes. We weren’t even going to go to Argenina for more than a week and we ended up being there over 3 weeks! So what can I say about Paraguay – the place that none of the backpackers ever come, the place where no one has really heard anything about. My first observations are that is definitely in the top 3 for dirtiest SA country. The country is also very militant – there is an officer of some type with a machine gun on most corners. Lots of people supposedly carry hand guns around too. Paraguay contains the most corrupt city in South America and it is a good place to buy stolen electronics. With all this reputation who wouldn’t come here. Look on the bright side – I just bought a bag of 10 or 15 mandarin oranges for less than 50 cents Canadian. -steve

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Jesus | The Town of Jesus | July 3, 2004
It has been a victory in Jesus today, hanging out with the people of Jesus. I think most people are attracted to the town called Jesus cause of the old Jesuit ruins. I’ll admit the ruins are pretty cool. We got a lot of really good pictures.

As we were leaving the town, we heard people singing about Jesus. On closer inspection it was not a town theme song but a church service so we wandered in. It was highly noticable that people were not able to concentrate at all so they finally stopped for a sec and got us up to the front. They made me speak in whatever broken spanish possible who we were and where we were from etc… quite embarrasing. After the service everyone wanted to say hi and some old lady was passing around cake – we felt right at home. Kevin got a chance to pick up a guitar for the first time this trip.

We have only been in Paraguay for a short time but this place has so much culture that we have already compiled the “you know you are in Paraguay when…” list. Forgive me if most of these are you had to be there jokes.

You know you are in Paraguay when…

…the cashier at the supermarkado can’t make change so she throws a couple candies in your bag.
…you get on a bus that requires you to squeeze through bars to get to the back.
…you date on Monday, Wednesday, on Friday and the other days are open for others.
…the fruit lady waves down a bus to make change.
…all you can find for breakfast is greasy empanadas and deserts.
…95% of the sound coming out of any audible device is “cachaka” music
…you are trying to decipher the church hymbook and mouth some words when it is your turn for the mate cup.

-steve

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Encarnation | Confluence Hunting | July 4, 2004
The last few days in Paraguay have been more than interesting. Actually most of the time I have been walking around in a daze. I have come to the conclusion that this has been for one of two reasons – either I have malaria or the malaria pills I have started to take are giving me the side effects (we have now entered the jungle type areas of South America). I’m hoping for the later. Anyway, these side effects have been quite instructive and now I can fully describe what it probably feels like to have malaria. First of all, I can eat as much as I want but get no energy at all. Blurred vision, weak muscles, stomach and head ache. All this has really hightened the Paraguay experience. First of all everyone here keeps telling us how dangerous it is for us to be here so I keep hallusinating about people with guns everywhere (most of that is true). I keep seeing poisones snakes on the road everywhere (Kevin says there hasn’t been though).Yesterday we conquered the first Paraguay confluence ever! It was mostly just walking through a bit of jungle and farmers fields but being doped up on these drugs made it much more of an adventure. I could have fallen asleep along the way in a pile of mud or where ever. Today we are going to check out the old ruins in Southern Paraguay called “Jesus”. Supposedly it is an old Jesuit established town. I think people just go there to get their picture with the sign though.

Other than that, our time in Paraguay is up! We got some bus tickets to Sao Paulo, Brazil, for tommorow morning. When our bus arrives we are going to the airport to pick up Ryan. Then the three of us will continue on working our way to Ecuador. Woohoo!

-steve

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