Bump in the Night

Trip Start Jan 20, 2004
Trip End Feb 01, 2005

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Flag of Paraguay  ,
Friday, October 29, 2004

Yes, well my hammock skills are a little rusty, and I think that the thing in the world that I am least able to learn is rope tying. Despite all of Dad`s persistent and careful instruction over the years, I really have no idea.

Another Boat Trip
Rio Paraguay beckoned. Not quite as strongly as I originally thought, but it called me to the port and I asked some questions and then decided that I was up for it. I originally planned on going all the way to Bahia Negro, some 3 or 4 days from Asunci˛n, but decided that Concepci˛n would be my last stop after a day and half. I`m not in the right frame of mind to hang around in my hammock as my mind is constantly turned to planning and what I`m going to do and when I`m going to go home. Also, the holes for toilets weren`t really my style (I suffered severe stage fright in Bangkok with one of these) so that made my mind up.

I was hanging in a cargo area, with lots of onions, garlic, capsicums, oranges, apples, pears and carrots. The smell of rotting onions permeated the air and wasn`t terribly nice.

Unfortunately I bought a small hammock, so I had a bit of trouble with getting out, with the easiest way being simply to tip yourself over the edge and wait till you hit the floor. It provided lots of entertainment for the locals though, watching some gringo dropping out of her hammock looking like a complete novice. I`m also sure that they were doubtful of my rope tying skills, and well, I had about the same amount of confidence in the knots as they did!

The river was wide and the banks flat with greenery, but not many trees. It had a flat horizon and a very open feel about it. It was nice to be back on a boat again, but it didn`t match the Amazon for company, boat quality, interesting people watching or scenery. Maybe it`s got something to do with the funk that I`m in at the moment. I`m finding it tough to get back in the swing of travel after Potosý and maybe I`m coming to realise that my trip is drawing to an end, albeit still at least 3 months off, due to dwindling funds and a bit of homesickness. Anyway, I`m not going to let myself get back on the plane until I do more of what I came to do.

Arriving at the wharf, which was full of things and people to be loaded on the boat, I got ripped off in the taxi to the hotel. Then again I got ripped off at the hotel. It is very nice and I have my own bathroom, TV and air con, but it is also almost the same as 3 nights in Asunci˛n.

The town is made of tropical dirt roads, with the main avenue paved. There are lots of trees and during siesta time it is very sleepy. As seems to be the norm with tropical towns, there are lots of motorbikes and scooters buzzing about plus bicyles, a few buses and cars and the odd horse and cart. I like it`s tropical, colonial feel, but I think I`m going to head on soon in an attempt to reinstall the travel bug with the heady hostel life in Argentina.

After a night spent flicking the channels on TV and watching Avril Lavigne ditz it up on TV, I met a couple of Irish guys, Fergal and Gary over breakfast and went to the bus station to get tickets to Asunci˛n with them.

Peace Corps
While I was relaxing by the pool and wondering how the boys had managed to spend close to 5 hours on the internet, they came back with Brendan and Alyson from the Peace Corps. They had met in the internet cafe and gone for some beers, and continued drinking at the hotel. It was so interesting to speak to them about their work in Paraguay and it did blow away all the do-gooder, clean image that I had of Peace Corps volunteers.

They were going to a dinner with one of the other volunteers whose family were visiting her, and they rang to see if we could come along. We arrived at Kate`s place with a whole heap of other volunteers and met her family. We then enjoyed a great barbeque, some drinks and lots of conversation with them. Most of the guys were going to Asunci˛n on the midnight bus, and Fergal, Gary and I ended up being about the last people at the barbeque.

Kate drove her sister Megan, Fergal, Gary and myself back into town to where we decided not to go to the party, but went to Megan`s hotel instead to keep drinking. We finally left at about 2am and Fergal and I walked back towards the hotel and when we discovered that Gary had hung back with Megan we ended up kissing after I had given him a piggyback ride.

It was so generous of Kate to welcome complete strangers in for dinner, and we had a great night with the Peace Corps volunteers and agreed to meet up with them in Asunci˛n for a Saturday night on the town.

Things I Learned
* Rotting onions are not a nice smell when mixed with garlic
* I am homesick and it`s not a passing phase
* It is so good to meet other people and just hang out with them, even if it`s only for a short amount of time.
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