24.02.2013 - 28.02.2013
24.02.2013 - 28.02.2013 35 °C
As there are not that many touristic highlights in Paraguay, my stay here only lasts a little over 4 days. Yet, I have to say I’m happy I came here. It’s a huge difference with Brasil in many ways. Coming from mostly busy places with many tourists, Paraguay seems deserted. Everything is so calm and people often look surprised when even seeing a tourist walking around in the city.
The country seems a little ‘less developed’ and that shows in many ways. It’s very cheap (on average, I spend about half of what I spent in Brasil per day), much less organized (eg. bus services), there is a lot of poverty (people living in houses made of wood and plastic), you see kids in the street selling stuff or cleaning shoes,… But the people are so friendly, maybe partly because they are not used to tourists.
During my short stay here, I only have 2 major touristic stops. First I visit the Jesuit missions of Trinidad and Jesús, about 1 hour driving from Encarnación in the South of Paraguay. It are the ruins of 2 cities, built in the 17th century, in order to convert indigenous people into Catholicism. The places are very beautiful and it is amazing we have this Unesco world heritage sites just for our own. If this place were for example in Brasil or Perú, it would be crowded with tourists and it would take away a lot of the charm.
The next big stop is the capital, Asunción. It’s a city full of contrasts and hard to imagine this is the capital of a country, because it feels like a mid-size, sleepy city. There is not a whole lot to do here, but it’s a fascinating atmosphere. You can have very modern buildings next to a beautiful colonial house. You can have a nice park at one side of the street and people living in wooden barracks at the other side. The local market is huge and must have kilometers of narrow corridors and thousands of small stores selling anything you can imagine: fresh fish, local specialties, jewelry, all kinds of clothes and shoes (mostly fake), ripped DVDs,…
The first night I there, celebrate my birthday by having some beers with the people from the hostel. It’s Tuesday, so there is not too much to do in town but still it’s a nice evening. On my birthday itself, I visit the town and go to bed in time. I have to get up the next morning at 5h to catch my flight to Lima and I’m very tired. No matter how exhausted I am, I do not manage to sleep longer then 7h30 every day, since my arrival here in South-America. So about 2 months with about 6h of sleep per night is starting to show: super tired, light headache all the time and my voice that disappearing… Hopefully I get some more sleep soon!!