Border hopping


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Published: May 25th 2008EDIT THIS ENTRY

Puerto Iguazu is only a few kilometres from the tri-border area with Paraguay and Brazil so of course we´ve had to have a little jaunt over the border. Yesterday we went to Paraguay, to the border town of Ciudad del Este. It's the most chaotic border we´ve ever seen. Goods are cheap in Paraguay so every man, his dog and their child crosses the border to go shopping and is loaded up like a packhorse on the way back. The black market at its best. It's so cheap that people on foot queue for hours to pass back through customs - the lines of people, moto taxis and vehicles were kilometres long and backed up right through the town. Luckily buses get their own lane so we got through relatively quickly. They don´t even bother with immigration on the way in or out, we only had to go through the usual procedure on the Argentinean side - off the bus, stamp in the passport, back on the bus - so who knows which country we technically spent today in. What makes it more confusing is that the road between Argentina and Paraguay goes through Brazil (their border town of Foz de Iguazu), who don't bother about immigration procedures either.

We've spent today chilling out exploring the town and enjoying the warm sun as we don't expect this weather again for a long time when we're farther north.

Tonight (Sunday) we´re heading south to Santa Fe (Central Argentina, SW of Buenos Aires) - 14 1/2 hours on an overnight bus. Its the first leg of getting to the Mendoza area, where we plan to spend a few days before heading over the border to Chile (probably to Valpariso, which has UNESCO status, not Santiago where it has rained for the last week and at one stage they had 5 months worth of rain in 8 hours). We could have got a bit further on a 20+ hour bus journey but didn´t fancy that much and have decided instead to do a reasonable first leg and then do lots of short hops on local buses which should be fun.

Observations:
* Street hawkers aren't pushy like in Asia
* We think we have packed too much as our packs aren't the easiest to hump around - at 12kg a piece (although we aren't willing to part with anything) but compared to some people we've done real good




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