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Published: February 16th 2008
The road less traveled....Paraguay. I have met 1 person in 7 months that has been to this country. I needed a $45 Visa to enter and Posadas, Argentina had the consulate office to get it done. It only took two hours... then I was off.
I arrived in Encarnacion which is a border town with Posadas. I felt at home right away. On the bus ride into town you pass several markets that look similar to those in Peru. You can feel the negotiator in you get excited. It would not be like Argentina where prices are set. No no. This country is ranked as the second poorest in South America and you can see why....sort of at least. While it looks quite poor because of the streets and street vendors selling a variety of things one other thing stands out. You have never seen more Mercedes Benz in your life. I saw 5 pass me within 2 minutes of getting off of the bus. I could not understand it. Honestly, there are 10 times more here than in the parking lot of Westlake High School. The gap between rich and poor is intense. And the rich have mostly made their money illegally. Contraband....and that is why you can get electronics at an astonishingly cheap rate. More on that later when I write about Ciudad del Este. I spent my first 3 nights in Paraguay in a hotel closely resembling an ex prison the way it was set up. It was here that I again ran into an English guy named Chris. It was the 3rd time we had run into each other, so we decided to hang out for a few days.
Our only excursion was to a Jesuit ruins area called Trinidad and Jesus. It was a fun outting because of the broken down buses, dirt roads, and plenty of stares from the locals. In all it was not too exciting at the site.
The main part of our days here were spent eating roasted chicken (1/2 chicken for 2 dollars) amazing! Liter beers for $1 and liter cokes for 75 cents. I am now a coke addict by the way. And no, not the coke from Colombia. Coca Cola the worlds best soft drink. It just tastes so good out of a glass bottle.
During one of the days Chris and I met a big black man in an internet cafe. Big black men are rare down here. He stands out more than we do. Anyway, he turned to me and started speaking in english and I was quite surprised. Hes a semi pro basketball player from Kenya, but has lived in Texas for a few years and is now playing in south america. We hung out for two of the three nights watching American football playoffs and drinking beer. He was a fun guy and got tons of attention from EVERYONE when we walked down the streets. At 6´8¨hes hard to miss. One night he got Chris and I kinda sloshed when he pulled out a bottle of whiskey. It turns out he can drink a little bit more than Chris and I. Well that was basically our time in Encarnacion. Relaxed and fun while we soaked up a bit of the new culture. Next stop: San Juan Bautista. Why? When we got there we were not sure.
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