Black market city

Trip Start Dec 01, 2011
Trip End Jan 20, 2013

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Flag of Paraguay  ,
Thursday, April 19, 2012

Day 15

I woke up really early again and was off to Ciudad Del Este. The bus was supposed to leave at 615 and I was still at the terminal at 645. I really had to hurry to get to Ciudad Del Este. It is supposed to be 5 hours. I had a court date for my unemployment and absolutely needed to get there early. I arrived the bus terminal and ran into use the phone and was only on
hold for four minutes before getting connected to the judge. I feel like I had a great shot of winning the case because the employee terminated me with only one bad report and he failed to ask the customer why it was bad. There were no other bad reports. I got into Ciudad del Este and stayed at a pretty nice hotel, then checked out the city. Ciudad del Este is the black market capital of the world. You can find anything here. There are probably over over
stalls selling everything from socks, bras, underwear, jeans, bags, luggage, perfume, guns, knives, tazers, hats, shoes that are knocked off Nike's and Adidas but not real, baby clothes, watches, food, DVDs, cameras, laptops, jewelry and anything else you can think of.
The city is just one big shopping center and its chaos everywhere.  There is no real break from the shopping centers. They run one to the next and each one is named after a country or city. There was India shopping center, American shopping center, Taiwan, Barcelona,
China and many others. One funny thing about this city is that there is no cathedral like the other South American cities. The manicans here have really over sized asses wearing jeans. It caters to a different body shape. I actually walked to the Brazil border, which
was one KM away by bridge from the end of the shopping. I was not able to enter Brazil because they have a reciprocal visa agreement.  USA charges Brazil $140 for a US tourist visa, so I would have to pay $140 to visit Brazil even if it was only for one day. I just went to
the border and did not enter. I went out for a few beers later at about dinner time and many people watched the English football league and drank beer at night. The beer here is chilled below freezing and just has a few pieces of ice in them, but it still tastes pretty
good. They have thermometers outside the refrigerators telling the temperature. Everything here shuts down at 5 PM sharp. I had my dinner and came out and it was a complete ghost town with garbage everywhere. There was boxes and wrappers from all the goods that
were sold and just left on the streets. The second day here, I walked up and down the strip again trying to spend the last of my Guarani's. I bought a rip off UFC hat for under $5 and also got some underwear. Mine are old and need to be replaced. They were only $2
per pair and I would have paid over $20 in USA. I also got a tazer just for shits and giggles. I don't know if USA will let me take it back through immigration, but it could be a fun toy. On top of having street vendors, people come up to you with goods in their hands trying to sell you more stuff like electronics, electric shavers, socks, underwear and other small items and sometimes handing you flyers to try to get you to visit the shopping center of their
country. Everyone from Brazil and Argentina seem to come to this city for shopping. People would walk across the bridge with huge bags full of stuff. They accept US dollar, Paraguay Guarani, Brazil and Argentina currency almost everywhere. One of the things I have noticed about Paraguay was that every city that is decent sized borders another country. Asuncion, is near Argentina, Encarnacion is minutes from Argentina and Ciudad del Este is minutes from both Argentina and Brazil. Ciudad del Este was not a nice city, but a real adventure. It was fun. I'm glad I saw it. I can tell everyone about what real is after coming here. There is nothing else to this place. It's build around a shopping reputation and really has nothing else to give other than a stopping point. I had to take a five minute taxi to a city called Franco and caught a 15 minute ferry across the river to Argentina.

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