Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
Trip End Nov 04, 2008

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Where I stayed
La Española

Flag of Paraguay  ,
Monday, February 18, 2008

Another hot and sticky day in Paraguay...

This is one of those days we call "organising days", where we decide where to go the next few days and try to make all the arrangements. For those of you still in possession of mobile phones, blackberries, wi-fi connections, broadband internet...i.e. communications at hand, the above will sound strange, but when you are on the road with none of the above it all becomes a tricky exercise.

The circle goes:
- Decide where to go
- How to get there
- When the bus / train / ferry leaves
- Book hotel
- Tell hotel when you arrive
- Decide on how many days you stay if you are moving on
- Checking news on any roads blocked, instability, yellow fever (no joke - read Paraguayan news below)

Sounds simple, but not that easy...its time consuming, but necessary.

So this morning was basically arranging the next 5 days (a record up to now where we move 1-2 days at a time. We guess it has to do with getting some experience at doing this).

So tomorrow we will be moving to Coronel Oviedo (you are right - never heard of this place before so promises to be an interesting place in the middle of no where) which is about 130 kms from Asuncion. There we will stay a couple of days at an "Estancia".

For those new to this area of the world, an Estancia is basically a farm which accepts tourists or actively looks for them. They have horse-riding, chariot walks, trekking, swiming pool, etc. We met the owner here in Asuncion (French descendant - fifth generation, but German speaker as she went to the Deutsche school at Asuncion) and the place is very promising, especially for the horse riding.

All is included in the price of Guarani 200,000 (Euro 30), and that includes "4 meals" (breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner), and all the activities (horses also) quite a good price for European standards where for Euro 30 you can stroke the horse and only if you promise not to call it names.

Veronika has found out that we can participate in the farming activities such as milking cows, so that seems to be on the agenda. Should be a laugh. I am loading the video battery to make sure we get this on film. "Veronika de Cow Meister"!!

After 2 days we will continue to Ciudad del Este (Paraguay) where we will hop into Brazil to see their side of the Iguazu falls, and then to Argentina to see it from the South...

So probably no updates on the web page until next Sunday or Monday...sorry!

Some comments on the pictures:
- Casa de Mama: restaurant where we had lunch for 25,000 guarani (3.5 euro for both), which is an old shop converted to a kitchen by an old lady. Delicious home food.

- Falange 1979: a plaque we found in the Panteon de los Heroes (where the Heroes of the Paraguayan Military are burried and copy of the Paris Invalides). It was given to Paraguay by the Falange Española in 1979 (quite into the Spanish transition). It includes "Viva Paraguay, Arriba España".

- Casa del Gobierno: where Veronika was nearly "shot". Not so dramatic but three soldiers and a policemen rushed to her and shouted at her to stop the moment she crossed over a chain towards the Government´s residence! By error of course

- Stroessner squashed: the old statue of President Stroessener who ruled for 30 years was crushed after he was taken out of power. Now only the face, a leg and hands can be seen squashed in this concrete monumet at "La Plaza de los Desaparecidos". Quite symbolic.

- La Recova: a street with old colonial building next to the river Port. Full of shops and guarani indians selling whatever they sell.

News: we know you like to hear about the main news on the newspapers of the places we visit, so today the front page on the "ABC Color" (as with all the rest of the countries). However the second article is the number of deaths in 2008 in Paraguay related to yellow fever. Apparently it has taken strength and there have been 7 deaths already with quite a few more ill at hospital.
Everyone is rushing to get the shots, but there is total chaos in the organisation. Brasil and Venezuela have donated thousands of doses of the stuff but they didnt send needles so they cant be used until that is organised. Big cues have appeared around all the hospitals of Asuncion.

Before you ask, both Veronika and myself got the shots before leaving Paris...

Worst part of it. There are elections in 2 months in Paraguay, and apparently some candidates offer yellow fever shots to anyone who attends their meetings...
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