The 5 people you meet on a Paraguayan cargo boat – The relaxed passengers

17 Sep

This is part of a 5 post series where I tell you about my cargo boat trip to Concepcion through the people I met.

The relaxed passengers

Paraguayans are some of the more relaxed people I have met; sometimes they are so relaxed you wonder if you should check for a pulse!

The above photo to me sums up Paraguay, terere and hammocks. Terere uses the same green mate herb that I talked about in Argentina and Uruguay, the only difference in Paraguay is they drink it with ice cold water. Visiting Paraguay you would think that Paraguayans are born with their terere thermo attached to them. The definition of useless, a Paraguayan with one arm, they wouldn’t be able to do anything as with their good hand they would be holding their terere – and there are no second hand stores here either. I love the terere culture, it’s all about sharing, hanging out, relaxing.

A lot of my time on the cargo boat was spent drinking terere, talking with the passengers or swaying in the hammock in which I also slept. I spent a lot of time listening to mate above. He was proudly telling me about the flaura and fauna that we passed on the eroding river banks of the river. Although he wasn’t drinking terere he was drinking “tres leones” whisky, and why not, he was a ranch hand going back to work for 8 months in isolation.

At one particular travel moment I remember, from my hammock I looked around me at my surroundings, the pile of eggs big enough to feed Africa, rice, tomatoes, oranges, flour, potatoes etc, the family sitting there, the crew sitting down drinking terere. A classic Paraguayan song crackled out of the small cell phone speakers, all the passengers from 10 year Antonio to a uniformed police officer to the grandmother pictured above were perched on hammocks, sacks of onions, lending against poles, talking and laughing. It was a setting without generation gaps, without societal gaps, everyone harmoniously enjoying the trip.

Even when the thunder and lightning filled the night sky, storm updates blared on the captains two ways, and the boat boys were battering down the hatches and scouring the river banks with a spot light for a strong tree to anchor the boat until the storm passed, the passengers just carried on their relaxing. They seemed oblivious to the storm, probably enjoying it.

As I melted further into my hammock waiting for the sound of the rain on the wooden deck above and the sway of my hammock to take me away, I thought………………………..I can’t actually remember what I thought, but I bet you if I could remember it would have been something profound about how relaxed the passengers were, or something like “shit, I shouldn’t haven’t drunken so much terere, I’m going to have get up and piss in about 3 hours

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