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Concepcion and Rio Paraguay

5 days on the rickety old Aquidaban

sunny 35 °C

So after Ybycui, we stopped over for the night in Asuncion, and treated ourselves to a great big dinner. The next day we got on a bus to Concepcion and after 20 mins onboard read the section in the Lonely Planet that said there are no cash machines in Concepcion. We spent the whole 8 hour journey (thanks to a flat tyre) worrying that we´d have to come all the way back to Asuncion for a bit of cash, but luckily after a quick search we found an international atm no problems. Ive never been so happy about the unreliable info in the guide book. The first night we stayed in a particularly shitty room by the bus terminal, and kept getting bitten by ants, but the next day we hopped in a taxi (which was a horse and cart, no shit here, and actual horse and cart- with a crazy paraguayan shouting and squealing at the horses, it was brilliant) and checked in to a slightly posher hotel with air conditioning, English TV and a swimming pool- what a treat.

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So after a few days in Concepcion, we boarded the Aquidaban, a cargo boat that takes passengers up and down the Rio Paraguay. This boat was crazy, its full of people who just ride it back and forth selling fruit and bread and stuff to all the ports that the boat stops at.

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The front of the boat is full to the brim with loads of weird cargo, from stereo systems and motorbikes to chickens and pigs. Despite the fact that the Rio Paraguay is in the Paraguayan section of the Pantanal, we didnt see a lot of wildlife (did see loads of big birds and an iguana though!) but it was a lot of fun because it was so untouristy and so unlike anything we´re used to. The journey to Bahia Negra and back took us 5 days and nights, and we spent most of this time seeking shelter from the ridiculous heat and buying drinks off the vendors on board the ship (who had huge ice coolers). At night, most of the locals slept on hammocks downstairs, but we had hired a camarote (small cabin) upstairs. This was a bad idea, the camarotes were ridiculously hot due to the lack of ventilation, and at night they sprang to life with cockroaches. The hammock area downstairs seemed much cooler.

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So after a few days chatting to locals and being generally sweaty we are now back in Concepcion. Last night on the boat was really stormy- loads of rain and loads of lightning, was pretty fun- spent a long time talking to locals (my spanish vocab is getting much better, I can probably understand 30% of conversations, more if they speak slowly and clearly) while drinking beer and trying to barricade the windows up. Weve just checked back in at the nice hotel and spent most of the day watching TV in an air conditioned room. Its very nice. In short, the Aquidaban: not for the unadventurous. Next stop Filadelfia, en route to Bolivia...

Posted by St Martins 14:01 Archived in Paraguay Tagged travelling_with_pets

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