Undiscovered Asuncion

Trip Start Dec 30, 2010
Trip End Jul 06, 2011

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Where I stayed
Hotel Miami

Flag of Paraguay  ,
Friday, February 11, 2011

Day 38 February 11th - I arrive in Asuncion early in the morning. The border was pretty easy to get through, no form for Paraguay, just a simple stamp, but a strong red stamp, the best so far.   The contrast to Argentina is clearly evident, we are back to scenes from Bolivia and Peru. My cold bus journey ends and I grab my bag. Pop upstairs to book my onward journey to Foz do Iguacu and then hop into a taxi. I do the same routine when I'm on any transport, I feel my pockets, camera, yep, wallet, yep, phone, itouch yep, passport......nope!! Merde! Luckily we have barely left the bus terminal, I ask the taxi driver to wait a few minutes and off I run! Well, as best I can in sandals. The person who booked my bus tickets took my passport but didn't give it back. Within a few seconds, I'm reunited! Phew!

I find my taxi driver, who has my big back pack, he gestures to me 'what was that all about?', I show him my passport and he understands. Taxi driver turns on the radio and the first tune is Runaway by Snap. Come on, you must remember that, somewhere around 1993/94, I even still remember the video. Then next, Saturday night Wigfield! The guy is loving it, singing along. I remember it knocked Wet Wet Wet off the Number 1 spot after 15 weeks on top and one week before they equalled Bryan Adams record. So, an amusing journey.

I hadn't organised a hostel, there were two I wanted to check out, and the taxi driver finds it very difficult to let me go without a hotel/him getting a comission. The first one I try, no answer for 5 minutes, so I walk around Plaza Uruguaya to Hotel Miami. They had a private room, en suite, cable and even wifi!! Not bad for 8 quid! The room wasn't ready yet so I headed to an Internet cafe and caught up on myself.

Once I got the room, and after two nights without a bed, I slept for 5 hours straight! I was so tired. I woke around dinner time, and find myself a restaurant recommended by the lonely planet. I went for a fish dish, but no idea what it was. My brother is soon to bring me a dictionary, so I'll have a better idea of what I'm ordering!! It tasted great, I also had two big bottles of Brahma beer in preparation for writing the Mendoza part of my blog. Sadly, as I walked to the Internet cafe, it was closed. Nevermind, the beer helped with another good long sleep.

Paraguay is hot, sticky and uncomfortable to sleep in. I barely had a sheet over me, a fan near me was going all night and I was still super hot. The climate reminded me of being in Asia, infact Paraguay reminded me of Brunei. I had still yet to see another traveller or tourist, it was all locals and big old ginger me.

Miles walked 0,96
Temp 26C 80F

Day 39 February 12th - Asuncion is small and seeing as I had to whole day to explore, my treat in the morning was watching Man Utd v Man City, followed by England v Italy in the rugby. A perfect morning of sport, relaxed and rested in my comfy bed.

Of course, Rooney's goal was the highlight of the game, a game in which City edged, but for me the highlight was the Spanish commentator. When Rooney scored, he screams 'GGGGOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!' and then proceeds to sing Ruby by the Kaiser Chiefs, but replaces Ruby with Rooney!! So so funny, he had a little song for Nani and Silva as well, but not as good as Rooney Rooney Rooney!! Ahhhhh!

England dominate the Rugby also, I have my itouch for the 3pm Premiership kick off updates and my morning was perfection.

I dragged myself out of bed and had another cold shower (this is their warm) and go to find my lunch. I walk into downtown Asuncion. It is not like any downtown you may have come across. The plazas are overspilling with trees, there is little sign of life in the city, very few car are driving around, people are still using horse and cart but I stumble upon a great little cafe and have a local meal. Bife Koygua I guess it was a mix of a soup and a stew, big chunks of beef, some egg in there also, potatoes, tomatoes, it was delicious and came with four little bread rolls.

Once digested, I explored Asuncion. There wasn't much to explore but I walked up and down so many streets in the centre, explored the plazas and statues and tried to get a feel for the place. The only people out today were Cambio guys, wanting to change my currency. South America it seems is dead on a Sunday and Asuncion, dead all weekend. Very different to the Western World I guess, but still, I had the place all to myself.


After walking around for a couple of hours, and with that delicious food inside me, it was getting to siesta time again. I seem to go through phases, ie spend two nights without a bed and keep going, then when I do get a bed, I try make the most of it. I only nap for a couple of hours before I'm back at the same restaurant as the night before and this time go for some spicy pasta. It was pretty good, the place was packed for a local football game, and tonight I stuck with juice, not beer. My Internet place was closed all weekend!! Harsh! I potter around Plaza Uruguaya for a few minutes, just to watch the locals. There is a family in the street, opening black bin liners to search for plastic bottles. They sit there for ages doing this, it reminds me of TV programme I saw in the UK about spoilt teens being sent to the Philippines, to do a days hard work for a few dollars, there they meet a family who live in a garbage tip, every day, looking for those plastic bottles. The amount of plastic used in South America, from what I've seen is outrageous! It really is! I must have gone through a couple of hundred bottles myself in just 38 days. Anyway, the young children of this family were playing a game, when a car approached, they would throw metal cans under the car tyres to see whose can would get crushed first!! I wouldn't be too pleased if it was my car being targeted, but they seemed to get great joy everytime a can was crushed!

I called it a night, I was in a dorm in Foz the next night and no bed the following night, so sleep I did. Too hot again though!

Miles walked 2,86
Temp 30C 86F

Day 40 February 13th - Early start. My bus is 730am, alarm at 530am, well I haven't packed yet! I find early starts difficult to sleep the night before. I'm relying on my cell phone or digital watch to wake me up, so my sleep was restless, waiting for the time to tick by.

Grabbed a taxi to the bus terminal, found a couple of cold empanadas for my breakfast and I was on the bus and on my way. So, this bus was going to Foz do Iguaca, but I was getting off on the Paraguay side of Cuidad del Este. I've never walked a bridge by myself between two borders. I've been escorted by buses trips, or guides but never by myself, with all my belongings and with no idea of what will happen next.

We arrive in Cuidad Del Este, I grab my bags, grab a taxi, the little f**k** overcharges me I'm sure. He wants to drive me to Foz, I repeatedly tell him in my best Spanish, no, I'm walking by myself!!
Exiting Paraguay was easy, except for the queuing tactics in South America. Similar to Asia, I stand a fair distance behind the person being served on the exit to Paraguay, then some woman walks in and stands infront of me. I'm not having this, so I push my way infront of her and then I'm served next. The cheek! Anyway, exit stamp received, and declining various calls by taxi drivers, I'm now walking neither in Paraguay or Brazil, I'm on a bridge in no country whatsoever!

I feel hesitant about writing about my thoughts on Paraguay. I was only there for 2 days, but from what I saw, I loved the place. It was friendly, quaint and enjoyable. Tourism has yet to hit the country in a big way and I hate hearing people saying to me, man you went to Paraguay, that's dangerous! I haven't read anything negative about the country. Thank you for hosting me Paraguay.

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drewcrawf on

Sounds like a fun trip so far! I'm currently planning a backpacking trip through SA and was wondering how long the bus ride was from Rosario to Asuncion?

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