A bright new day

5 Oct

This post is a part of a series from my travels with friends Hazel and Ami from back home who are currently travelling South America. We went on a 3 day mission, camping at Ybycui which is “3 hours” by bus south of Asuncion. Then we went onto UNESCO classified Jesuit ruins of Encarnacion, located at the southern tip of Paraguay. These posts go to show that Paraguay is a travel destination that is more about the adventure, the experiences and people met, “it’s all about the journey man”! Enjoy.

We woke up on a comfortable mattress of concrete, as during the night we had moved our tents under a shelter when we felt rain and saw the flashes of lightening in the distance. We were not willing to see if our $50 tents were waterproof.

Who needs a chiropractor when you have Mother Nature to nurture you. The night before when we had arrived at the camp site it was pitch black, so it was quite a surprise to see the beautiful grounds and the even more beautiful waterfall that welcomed us. The best part of it was that we had the whole place to ourselves.

Paraguayan travel tip #456 When you’re at a swimming hole and you see a sign “peligro lugar profundo”, and you know that peligro means danger and lugar means place, but you don’t know what “profundo” means. Don’t worry, it doesn’t mean that it’s a profound place and if you’re simple you’re not allowed to swim. It means, “deep”, that the swimming hole is deep! I find this quite funny, as in New Zealand they would have signs up telling you if it’s shallow.

After hanging with Mother Nature and cleansing ourselves of the days before travel grime if was time to have breakfast (crackers and jam) and wait for the collectivo that supposedly passes at 7am. Unlike the day before, we had more luck, and we were quite excited when we heard the grinding of gears and struggling diesel engine bumping along the dusty dirt road.

Usually when on a bus that never gets over 30km/hr you would be annoyed, but it was quite the contrary on this sunny morning. Because firstly we were stoked that the collectivo actually arrived, secondly, going 30km/hr is better than walking, and thirdly it was a great experience bumping along with the local indigenous old ladies who were going into town and watching the road pass by underneath through one of the wooden floor boards that was missing.

The rest of the day was spent in transit, we only had about 400km to go to Encarnacion, but that required 2 collectivos and a bus, all of which stop along the way picking up people on the side of the road. It was a good time to catch up on some Z’s from the night before and get some Spanish practice with 76 year old Euserbio who was quite interested in where we had come from, what we were doing and if we had turkeys in my country.

We finally arrived in Encarnacion and Mother Nature seemed to be quite sad or maybe she had an uncontrollable bladder, it was pouring. This meant no camping, so we checked into a bus station hotel. But the rain meant that we got to crank up the “stare’o’meter”, which is usually out of control with my dreadlocks and Hazel and Ami’s height. We hadn’t packed raincoats so had call on our boy scout days and purchased some rubbish bags, this made the stare’o’meter go off the charts! Classic.

After searching high and low for a dinner place that had more atmosphere than your grandma’s living room we stumbled across an unsigned back alley Korean restaurant. Six thumbs up to this little gem, by far the best Korean food I have outside of Korea. Note to the Korean crew, I still make funny gurgling noises when doing soju (Korea’s answer to sake) shots.

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