Encarnación - and we manage to see Jesús!
Trip Start Jun 15, 2009
133Trip End Jun 14, 2010
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Where I stayed
Hotel El Germano
Once we had finally reached the bus station in Cuidad del Este, it was an easy task to find a bus to Encarnación, although the quality of the bus was only a small step up from the boneshaker that we had just got off. We did have seats for the five hour ride although, even with all the windows open, the bus was still stiflingly hot.
We made a visit by local bus (we must be suckers for punishment) to the ruins of two missions. The first, Trinidad (we’ve only just realised that Trinidad is trinity), is a short walk from the main road and has the most complete set of ruins that we have seen so far.
An interesting feature of these ruins is that there is much more of the detail to be seen;
We walked back along the main road to find some way to get to our next mission 20km away at Jesús de Tavarengue. At the crossroads stood the oldest and most decrepit bus we have yet seen on our travels.
We had already gathered that the ruins at Jesús are a bit different in that the buildings were never actually completed. This may have been due to the final expulsion of the Jesuits or perhaps a result of the attacks that many missions suffered during their lifetimes. Beyond that we cannot go as we have no information! We’ll google it when we have some time... Suffice it to say that we were the only visitors there to see the unusual trefoil arches with their hint of Spanish/Moorish influences.
Back in Encarnación, we were lucky enough to be able to go to another big town fiesta, the second in 2 days in 2 countries! The main square had been set up with a stage, using the backdrop of the tall abstract heroes monument, now liberally decked out with lights. Huge stacks of plastic chairs were left at the side and people helped themselves and settled down. The usual array of stalls were selling drinks and panchos (hot dogs) but no other food seemed to be available. The event, needless to say, was late starting and even then the action was delayed by a local dignitary who talked for ages about all the people we had to thank. The impact of our rudimentary Spanish and boredom set in and we paid him no attention until things seemed to start. To our surprise everyone stood up and some people in the audience started to light candles. A sax started to play and a girl began to sing and we realised that it was a version of Paul Simon’s The Sound Of Silence (at least the tune) but this was just the backdrop to the third musician who began to intone the Lord’s Prayer. When this finished we all sat down only for a priest to appear to lead more prayers. Everyone stood up again as the priest said a whole bunch of prayers, every time you thought we’d got to the end and everyone had said Amen, he would start another prayer, with much kissing of the Bible and massed crossing of ourselves. When he finally finished, and with the event now running nearly two hours late, our dignitary reappeared and made more long speeches thanking everyone until he was silenced by the most deafening set of firecrackers we have ever experienced and the show was off!
Then the main act started, a group of musicians strated to play and we were aware that the songs all seemed to include references to Paraguay. Then a female guest singer came on and joined them for a few numbers, all referring to Paraguay. The singer went off and the band did a couple more numbers about Paraguay and another woman joined them, this time to sing a song about Paraguay. The novel twist here is that she in turn was joined by a young man (I couldn’t tell if it was Ant or Dec) and they did a duet about Paraguay. When they went off the band did a couple of Paraguay songs before being joined by yet another guest girl singer for more songs about Paraguay. In between all the songs were rambling introductions about how great Paraguay is and how important it will be to do well in the World Cup in South Africa (helped by everyone singing along with the Paraguayan World Cup song).