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Published: January 18th 2019
The ancient air conditioning unit seems to serve no other purpose than to make noise. So we slept badly and I wake up rather grumpy.
We have a whole day to explore Asunción. I’m not sure what we’ll do in the afternoon. Probably sleep, as we need to leave for the airport at 3.30 am tomorrow.
We set off at 9 am for some sightseeing. First stop, the railway station – South America’s first station. I ponder briefly the point of being first, it would seem beneficial to have more than one or where would the trains go? There is what can loosely describe as a museum, plus an original train from 1861.
Next we go to the cathedral, which is locked. We head instead for the waterfront (the Costanera) but the cathedral’s security guard tells us it is too dangerous and turns us back.
So we go to the next place of interest according to Lonely Planet, The Cabildo. To quote LP; “this influential cultural center is a meeting place for Bohemian thinkers…” Meanwhile, back in the real world, the entire plaza is a shanty town where hundreds of people are living under tarpaulins; Comunidad Takuara’i.
There are a lot of police. And guns. And shouting. And general unrest. By 10 am I decide I’ve had enough and return to the hotel, via the Pantheon of the Heroes, a building when the remains of prominent Paraguayans are kept under ceremonial guard.
Back at the hotel, I google Comunidad Takuara’i – they are indigenous people evicted from their land by soy producers and have been camping in the central square for months demanding a solution to their plight.
In the afternoon the old man braves a walk along the Costanera while I go to for a swim. He returns unscathed although he was approached by a man with a taser who was either trying to mug him or sell him a taser – he’s not quite sure.
Then we go for dinner and my Spanish lets me down. I think lomito caballo means loin cowboy style. I check with the waiter and he says it comes with eggs and onions. Not until it arrives and the meat seems rather tough, do I realise I’ve ordered horse.
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