A fooking shite bus, great ruins and Chilean wine

14 Oct

This is the last post (the link to the 4 previous posts are listed below) about 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.

  1. Jesus helping me out
  2. On the side of the road in Paraguay
  3. The never ending road
  4. A bright new day

We woke to Mother Nature’s uncontrollable bladder trickling over Encarnacion. We decided to go and have a wander around Encarnacion and wait for the rain to pass before going to the ruins. After eating dwarfed bananas for breakfast we wandered the wet streets below the bus station that were home to the markets. An experience in itself, the rubbish mixed with the red dirt that had turned into a muddy paste that threatened to break my jandals, horse and carts, leftover food scraps, imposing grey skies all made for an impression that we were at the arse end of Paraguay. In fact we literally were at the arse end of Paraguay, Encarnacion is located at the southern point of Paraguay with Argentina in plain view across the rubbish transporting river. A disclaimer, please don’t be put off going to Encarnacion, these are just my thoughts from one rainy morning in the dirty area of Encarnacion, and although it sounds like I didn’t like it, I actually enjoyed it in a funny way, it makes you appreciate how well we have it living in clean countries.

After the morning of walking around it was no surprise when we caught a Ciudad del Este (the eastern city of Paraguay that borders Igauzu falls) bound bus that it followed the run down third world theme of the morning. I have caught a lot of old dilapidated buses, but this one took the cake. Because you knew that once it used to be a luxury liner, like a 60 year rock star, the years of body abuse showed with a leaking roof leaving some of the seats feeling like a teenage boys socks, broken seats with one having snapped off. Add to this the people packed into the isle of the bus and we just happened to find ourselves at the back of the bus. We stopped along the way to pick up a group of 4 Irish Backpackers who had their tickets for the 5 hour journey to Ciudad Del Este , as the packed bus pulled up you could tell they weren’t impressed. A thick accent that would of been at home in a smoky bar holding a pint of Guinness booms out in disgust “this is a Fookin shite bus”, they ended up refusing to get on.

But for us we only had to stay on the bus for 1 hour, and pushed our way down the aisle trying to avoid the awkward pressing of genitals on unsuspecting passengers in the cramped aisle. At the unmarked stop on the side of the road an old lady also got off with what looked like her month’s supply of groceries. As she was going our way so we helped her with her bags. I asked her what she thought of the ruins, she informed me that she had seen them on TV and had been told they were really nice, but she had never been to them. The funny part about this was that she lived 300 metres from the entrance!

The ruins were a pleasant surprise and the facilities had improved greatly since the guide book had written its report on them. A helpful staff member informed us of the ruins history, and I wish I could recall it all, but it’s something along the lines of the Spanish missionaries came in the late 1600’s, got the locals to build the communities, educated them, spread the word of religion and planted crops etc, but then the communities became too powerful so 167 years or so after them coming the Spanish sent orders to get rid of them. Sorry history isn’t my strong point.

The ruins were spread over the lush green grass of the well kept grounds, unhindered. The beauty of these ruins was that you were free to walk around everywhere and you basically had the place to yourself. From all the other ruins I have visited it is always something that takes away from the experience, sharing it with busloads of other tourists.

What better way to enjoy the ruins than a little picnic. We had set up camp under an archway of the ruins, sipping Chilean box wine and discussing time travel. A policeman approaches us, we’re thinking “ah great here we go, he’s going to tell us we are not allowed alcohol in the grounds and ask for a bribe“. He approaches without saying a word, picks up our wine, shakes his head and says “bad, this is Chilean wine, you should have Argentinian” and then walks off”!

Then it was time to head back into town and catch a bus back to Asuncion, marking the end of our little trip, good times, good memories.

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One Response to “A fooking shite bus, great ruins and Chilean wine”

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