Paraguays capital Assuncion

Trip Start Jan 12, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Paraguay  ,
Wednesday, March 29, 2006

On the way to Asuncion which is Paraguay`s capital i stopped in at a small summer town called San Bernadino or SanBer as the locals call it. During summr i could image the place going off as the infastructure et up in town acomodated for a lot of people. Whilst i was there it was a ghost town. I satyed in a 110 year old Victorian Hotel, stunnig for its age, it had a pool so after a morning walk around town i spent some time poolside.
After SanBer i went to Ybycui, a town so small it could fit on a pin head! The main attraction was the National Park, whilst nice it was not spectatcular, i was rewarded with some nice waterfalls and millions of butterflies and a history lesson on the rise of Paraguay. In this national Park existed the ruins of Paraguays first Iron foundary called La Rosada, this factory put Paraguay on the map supplying iron to the world, it later turned into an arms factory when Paraguay began the triple aliance war with Argentina, Bolivia and Brasil. On the way back to Ybycui i had the most dangerous bus ride of my trip. Imagine a small bus, imagine the battery for the bus underneatht the seat of the driver, imagine a 10 litre drum of petrol beside the battery!!!! YES, petrol + battery spark = KAABOOM!!! These people have no idea!
Back in town i met a couple of guys (Marcel and Mario) on a walk through town. Marcel invited me to go fishing with them, so we stood there fishing underneath a bridge sharing a few beers. After fishing Marcel invited me to meet his family, what i was to see shocked me. I entered his room to find his wife and 2 kids in a tiny bedroom with all their possesions (which wasnt much) crammed in. The room was not pleasant to say the least, atop the wardrobe was a useless small black and white T.V, on the screen the image was equivalent to looking out a window during a blizzard! I thought they were watching a Christmas special, (you know the type i`m talking about) :). I gave Marcel an Australian $10 note as a souvenir and $20USD for his family whch is the equivalent of about 3 months work at the cotton factory where he did 12 hour shifts. I hoped he`d keep the $10 as a momento but i am sure it has long been exchanged, cant blame him.

Asucion is a massive city with not much to see or do. The highlight was a political march going on in town with 35,000 people. Stayed in a great hotel overlooking the Rio Paraguay with Argentina on the other side.
After Asuncion i went to Ybycui to see the national park. Whilst is was nice it wanst anything special, couple of waterfalls and ruins of a steel making factory that put Paraguay on the map commercially and later made weapons for the war against the triple alliance of Argentina, Bolivia and Brasil. Had a great hike with nobody else in sight. I am starting to understand why paraguay is not a huge tourist destination....
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