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Paraguay

sunny 39 °C

So we came into Paraguay via Ciuadad del Este, the most hectic town I have ever been to. The bus driver managed to drive us half a mile past the border (where we needed to get our entry stamps) without stopping, so we had to get off and walk through the town to get back there. I cant get over how much shitty tat there is in that town, we were constantly fighting our way through people shouting at us and waving socks and usb sticks in our face. It was so hot as well, much hotter than Puerto Iguazu, and only 45 mins away! So after getting our stamp (apparently theyre supposed to be clamping down on drug smuggling at this border, but the guy at passport control completely ignored our packs, and didnt even look at our passport photos- nice one Paraguay!) we checked into a hotel and went to get some food. Sadie ended up puking during our search for food, probably because of the heat- but anyway she ended up with no dinner. On our second day we decided that amongst the hordes of shitty electrical goods that the town is full of, there must be a half decent camera for a half decent price. After fighting our way through the streets (you could hardly see the sky for the amount of market stands selling socks and fake watches- Paraguayans must really love socks) we found just that. Had a bit of a shock when I looked at my bank statement and saw that the money had come out of my account several times- but called the bank and the money had come straight back in again- it seems that most South Americans are useless at card readers and can´t complete the transactions.

After getting pretty stressed out by Ciudad del Este (we missed Itaipu dam, but its a big corrupt structure that caused loads of environmental damage or something, so we werent that fussed), we headed to Encarnation, which was a bit more chilled. Went to see the old Jesuit ruins at Trinidad nearby, which was alright, quite interesting, but I think Lonely Planet had bigged it up a bit. We tried to get to another Jesuit thing called ´Jesus´ (origional name) but after waiting a couple of hours for a bus in the ridiculous heat, we gave up and went back.

The next day we were going to go to Ayolas, which had been recomended by a girl we met from Encarnacion, but the bus station was very hectic. Its full of people shouting city names at you and trying to usher you onto their busses. After being told there was a bus to Ayolas, and then being told there wasnt, we ended up on a bus to Asuncion- where we stayed for a couple of nights. Not much to see there though, so we headed to the ´popular´ national park of Ybycui. It was anything but popular, we waited for a bus to the park in Ybycui village for an hour or so, and then someone told us there was no bus. Then someone said there was a bus, but we had to get off and walk for 5km. This is what we did. The walk was so unbelievable hot- full packs on, no shade, the tarmac road was actually burning our feet through our flip flops. We arrived at the park having lost a couple of pints of sweat, to find that the campsite was a further 2km. Awesome! All in the name of adventure though! So we got to the campsite and found that we were the only ones there except for the frogs that kept jumping on our tent. Had a wash in the stream-waterfall by our tent and stayed up until it went dark. Which was 8 o clock. Early night for us then... there were loads of stars, and a crazy amount of fireflies which was pretty awesome- didnt need a torch to get the the toilets.

The next day we went on a few walks through the rainforest to get to a waterfall, and then another to and from the park museum. Lonely Planet talks about the lush trails full of huge colourful butterflies. Which was true- although they neglected to mention the huge- hand sized spiders that got their kicks from building their web right at face height! We had to walk really slowly, waving sticks around in front of our faces so that we didnt get them all over us. Unfortunately this didnt work every time, and Sadie ended up with a huge spider in her hair. Which she loved! She couldnt stop squealing with delight! If anyone had seen us, we would have looked like such numpties, bent over with tshirts on our heads, waving sticks around in circles in front of our faces. Cool cats.

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So although not the most pleasant adventure, it was exactly that- an adventure, and it was great fun doing a little rainforest trek with no-one around for miles. When we got back we jumped straight in the creek and had our dinner of corned beef and crackers by the waterfall. We could only afford corned beef and crackers because we had foolishly forgotten to withdraw money before leaving Asuncion. There are no ATMs in the jungle. Mental note.

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Posted by St Martins 09:26 Archived in Paraguay Tagged luxury_travel

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