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Published: December 18th 2010
CONCEPCION DAY 1
After a rough night’s sleep, in our grimmest lodgings so far we set out with the daughting task of crossing boarders overland. Thankfully it seems this can be done with $25, a Spanish to English Dictionary and a willing taxi driver. So after a quick stamp in Brazil and a not so quick one in Paraguay, we’d made it to our second country.
The difference of a few hundred meters into each country was vast. Whilst Brazil boasted nice roads, bright shops and top of the range cars, a couple meters down the road was a completely different pictures, with market stalls, horse drawn carts and bump roads. Luckily we arrived at the bus station just in time to board the bus to Concepcion.
I use the term bus in the loosest way, on the four hour journey the bus picked up and dropped off; laundry, shopping, clothes stock for shops, mattresses, took on a variety of food sellers and for some unknown reason to me, the overhead compartment was completely packed with six packs of beers where our bags were meant to go.
Nevertheless, i really enjoyed the journey into Concepcion (Kjersti will
strongly disagree tho, she was not loving the sweating!). The transition from city to farmland and country, passing through the smaller towns and villages and the excitement of seeing the town unfold in the final leg of the journey.
Concepcion was nothing like i would have expected but exactly how i have imaged South America since i was a kid. A small dusty colonial town with one main stripe running through it and numerous markets splattering off either side. All the banks and most businesses had heavily armed guards on them, every other building seemed to be being built or torn down and you even had the option of taxi or horse drawn cart!
We stumbled off the bus into the baking heat with no local currency, nowhere booked to stay and no idea where we were going. Loving the adventure set before us, we began heading into town with our packs and sweat on full! Unfortunately the heat got too much for Kjersti and she began shaking, “ this is it” I thought,” the moment the heat gets too much for and she finally explodes.” Thinking on my feet, i left her in a park under the close
eye of sum five years olds and set off to try and exchange sum money, with little to no Spanish on a late Friday afternoon.
After managing to change the rest of my Brazilian curreny into Paraguayan Guaranies, at a petshop of all places, we jumped into a taxi and headed to Hotel Frances. One of the top hotels in the guide book, check us out!!
We’d decided to have a bit of a chill out whilst we were here to re-charge our batteries and sort out the boat down to Asuncion, Paraguay’s capital. Hotel Frances was the perfect place. A beautiful building, helpful staff, en suite room, an outside bar and most importantly a pool!!!
We spent the rest of the day, lounging by the pool in the baking afternoon sun and then checking out the top star restaurant with it’s star dishes for 2 quid a pop! (Kjersti opted for the honey chicken, i would like to advise anyone reading NEVER to have honey chicken.)
CONCEPCION DAY 2
The next day was more of the same and a quick wander around the not so nice local markets. We also bumped into the musician from
the previous night whose performance we wandered into. Although we barely understood each other, he took us into to his home (a workshop full of computer parts), introduced to his family and showed us the panoramic view of the Rio Paragauy (The river that runs though Paraguay) from his back garden. It was with this that we also made the startling discovery that Concepcion doesn’t actually have a port or harbour or dock in any sense, just merchant ships that you could pay to ride on for 23 hours to get to the capital, although the book had quoted us 3hr. This was the first time the guides had done us wrong and here began a slippery slope of lies and misgivings!
We had no other option we braced ourselves for the 6hours sweaty bus journey to the capital the next day.
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