ENCARNACION AND THE MISSIONES RUINS


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South America » Paraguay » Encarnacion
June 5th 2009
Published: June 8th 2009
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Everyone on the bus got off at the immigracion on the Argentine side, people were running out of the bus to be ahead of the queue, i just followed them, it took no more than 5 minutes for me to be processed, then boarded the same bus which luckily was still there. It was quite full and tried to get on it at the back door, a group of women were blocking the way up so i had to force myself at the door, polite words such as desculpe and por favor, did not work so i forced myself in and said excuse me , thank you! after, I heard someone whispering "mochilero". Those women were a bit rude, they wanted to be right out near the door to be the first to disembark at the other end but blocking the way for everyone else. We crossed the bridge and when we got to the Paraguay side true enough people started running for immigracion office, they are trying to make sure they get the same bus as it does not wait for anyone, but another bus come every 10 minutes or even less! anyway It took a good 10 minutes to process me, not in a rush as the bus left already anyway, she photocopied my visa then asked me how long I am staying and where, then stamped me in, she used the exit stamp instead of entry stamp so she hand wrote entrada and initialled it. Then soon as I am done bus came and we are on our way to Encarnacion, i asked a lady if the last stop is the bus terminal, she said no but the guy sat next to her will tell me when to get off as she got off the bus ahead of us. the nice man talked to me for a bit but had a hard time understanding him, the driver yelled "terminal" so i got off and found El germano hostel, and as LP said it really is nice and clean, very neat, I opted for a single room no toilet for $8 the toilet inclusive room is $10.

Got a map of the city from the owner then i went to changed my pesos to guarani at the place near the mall, drew some money and then went for a walk, there are so many stores selling all kind of stuffs, a shopper's paradise indeed, there are proper established stores in town but if you go down on the lower half of the city you get all the bazaar type stores and where all cheap buys are, I went for a stroll and i got dizzy looking at all the merchandise, i somehow found the river front, it seems the water is overflowing the banks or maybe it's always like that, lots of car being washed near the river, I strolled a bit to get a photo of the bridge, then back up to the bazaar, it was overwhelming for me i did not buy a single thing. back to town i looked for the Hiroshima japanese restaurant recommended by Lp, it was closed! then lloked for another recommendation from them, an unmarked Korean Jap eatery that no longer exist! Later that night i walked back to Hiroshima but it was still shut, but across the street behind the carniceria is a dude grilling meat on sticks, so i bought half a dozen meat on skewers and that sorted me for the night.

I noticed on the LP that there is a Brazilian consulate here and it is just behind the bus terminal so i decided to investigate, i went there and kept ringing the doorbell but no answer then I realized i got up too early, i was at Argentine time still, Paraguay is one hour back so stood at the front gate in the sun waiting for it to open, took ages, meanwhile i was freezing outside in the cold, I did not sleep well the night before because even with 2 blankets it was not enough to be warm. While killing time I bought some kind of bread with meat filling at a vendor on bikes and took the opportunity to photocopy my passport and the entry stamp to Paraguay in case they need it, i rang the bell of the consulate and they let me through, made me fill up the form, turns out they dont need any photocopies, asked for one photo, and the payment of $130 only they want it in guaranis, about 780,000 but it was the old rate when the dollar was low, so in total i actually have to pay $156! but i was already mid processing, i dont want to withdraw my application and plus I was told to pick it up at 12 noon, so one of the consulate employees went with me to the market across the street to change money, then came back and paid them, was not really happy, am sure they will pocket the difference but at least it is done and over with, I dont need to worry about it later. they did not give me a receipt and told me I can pick it up tomorrow also at 8am since i told them I will visit the ruins in Trinidad and Jesus. just then another applicant came and turns out Filipino, we chat for a bit, he is applying for residency to Brazil he is a manager at a Subway restaurant in Rio, he flew to Asuncion last night and is expected to be back today to Rio! he just needs to get out of Brazil to get processed, so there I have a place to stay when in Rio which i might take him up on it! So i left him there as i was in a rush to get to the ruins.

Made my way to the bus terminal, I asked around for buses to Trinidad I was pointed to one, the ticket seller said Ruinas? so I said yes, he promised to drop me off there, the bus is old and rickety and it shakes when gearing up to speed up, wow welcome to third world transport once again! Took nearly 45 minutes and we were there, I got dropped off and walked towards the ruins, about 5 minutes following a cobble stoned path which is actually the road here, nice country scenery, lush green grass and red clay. i got to the entrance and paid, this ruins is enormous, beautiful buildings half destroyed or ruined, red bricks goes very well in color against the sun, there are some carvings as well, statues etc, I can just imagine it in its heyday, I saw a huge pulpit at the church, wow the Jesuits really ruled this place then, I saw people doing some reconstructions and other than me there is another tourist, Alana from South Africa we met at the main church and we chatted and I persuaded him to come with me to Jesus to see the other ruin.

From the ruins of Trinidad, me and Alon the South African dude I met at the
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for my friend Viso
ruins walked down towards the junction where there is a sign leading to the town of Jesus where the other Jesuit ruins are located, a taxi driver approached us offering a ride for 20,000 guarani roughly $4 but we said we wait for the bus. Been waiting for a good 20 minutes then a pick up truck came along, we flagged it and asked for a lift, the man told us to hop in the back so we did, later we picked up an elderly gentleman so there are 3 of us hitching, the man said we will get dropped off at a junction then we just walk a good 2 km, it is ok rather than waiting forever. We got dropped off and we walked following the cobble stone street then we thought we got lost so we asked, another km. darn.. Finally we asked an old man he pointed to a street and we walked 50 meters and there it was. There was only us in the ruins, unbelievable for a UNESCO site this is incredible, not touristy at all. It is a huge complex, a church i believed reconstructed to show its magnificence during it's heyday, no roof but the enormity is impressive, i love the detailed carvings on the red brick walls, we walked around and then sat in the middle of the church on the grass to absorb the ambience, we both liked it, the pulpit on both sides we impressive and i can just imagine how high the ceilings would have been. For me this is one well worth trek to see.

Past 2pm now we are both starving so we asked how to get back to Encarnacion, we were told a bus leaves from a street corner, we walked there waited, no bus, so we walked some more until we get to the town square of the town of Jesus, we went to a restaurant hoping for food, none, so we opted to get drunk, bought a liter of Brahma and refreshed ourselves while waiting for the bus. it came just as when we finished, it is an old rickety minibus of sorts and it's a noisy as a tractor, the windows and door were falling apart, we laughed at the fact that it was so loud you cant hear yourselves think and it shakes violently at every turn. We made it to the junction then a bus for Encarnacion came 5 minutes later. We both fell asleep on the bus arriving in town we hunted for cheap eats and found them at the eateries around the bus station. Then we decided to walk down the lower part of town, the area where it will be flooded soon as thedam being made in Argentina starts operation, meantime all the contrabands are sold there a big bazaar, we had a look at some merchandise then walked near the waterfront for a view of Posadas then back up. We agreed to meet at 7pm for dinner. We went to the small kiosk selling grilled meat across from Hiroshima restaurant, arghh, it's open tonight! but already made up my mind for bbq meat, we sat down with the locals as we eat, then had a few drinks at a few bars, on the 1st bar a local girl was eyeing Alon but we both decided she is too ugly even with too much to drink! we moved on to the next bar then another one before we call it a night, this town is quiet, we went to bars(eateries) just around the bus terminal area
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Rio Parana, Puente San Roque
and by 11pm its all quiet.

Though warmer than the night before I did not sleep well, went to meet up Alon for breakfast but he wasnt there so went on my own, later I saw him walk by, he joined me then went back down again at the bazaar for the last time, Alon bought soem boxer shorts, really cheap and was looking for shoes, the one he likes is only $10! but the guy who is selling it got upset with Alon when he walked around with it to try it, he does not want it to get dirty! In the end Alon did not buy and the dude was pissed. we left in a hurry. Took our stuffs from our respective hostels and we said goodbye at the bus terminal, he is on his way to Posadas in Argentina and I to Asuncion. Slept most of the way, the bus is not as nice as Argentina and Chile but alright. Got to Asuncion about 6pm, called a hostel to book then off to wait for a bus to the center, bus 8 did not turn up waited for half an hour, so as the LP said
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lower part of the city that will be soon flooded.
some bus also goes downtown I saw bus 38 and flagged it and asked the driver to leave me off at the center. It was a long trip with traffic and I stood with my backpack on, I noticed we were at Mariscal Lopez street so took put my Lp and tried to see if i can get off closer to my hostel, I got off at Estados Unidos street and found the hostel from there. An old senora showed me around, not bad, an old colonial looking place, my room has 6 beds, i was by myself, a bit noisy close to the street. Then went for a walk downtown to 25 de Mayo plaza, found el Pais a grocery shop selling cheap food upstairs, had my fill then walked back to the hostel, I noticed lots of brown uniform wearing cops in street corners that made me feel quite safe.


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local beer
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Alon paying with disheveled currency
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Posadas from the waterfront of Rio Parana
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BUS DOOR FALLING APART
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INSIDE THE DILAPIDATED BUS
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OUR BUS RIDE!


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