Happy Hippos on Holiday
Hi everyone! Welcome to our one and only postcard from Paraguay! Bordering Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia and potentially being the only country in southern South America that we wouldn't have been to by the end of this trip, we thought it only fair to pay it a visit....as we were passing! There is not a huge amount to do there, so we thought a day would suffice. This was another opportunity to broaden our experiences of local transport. To get to Paraguay from Argentina, we needed to catch a local bus...which might sound simple...but we are the HHOH and this is South America! We saw the Rough Guide's warnings that buses will not wait for foreigners at border control points as a challenge to be overcome rather than a state of affairs to be accepted. Despite being as quick as we could to be stamped out of Argentina, we were handed back our passports at the same moment the bus pulled away from the other side of the concourse. The response to Kirstie's question, "Shall we run?" was simply the two of us sprinting along the road, waving frantically for the bus to stop. Aided by several locals whistling to attract the bus driver's attention, we were amazed to see the bus slow to a halt and wait for us - Hippos 1 Rough Guide 0...go Hippos! Sadly, after round 2 (entry into Paraguay) the scores were levelled at 1 all! An amusing interlude occurred, however, while we waited for another bus when a tourist information officer declared (via Kirstie's translation) that he was in love with Zena...the feelings not being mutual, we were relieved to see the next bus arrive and made a swift escape! So pleased to be back on a bus to Encarnacion again, we ended up with a personal tour of the town, having failed to notice the bus station (where we were supposed to get off)! We figured something was wrong when we got to the end of the line and were the only two people left on the bus. Fortunately, the driver took pity on us and allowed us to stay on for the return journey, pointing out where we should get off. Our transfer to another local bus taking us to the Jesuit Ruins at Trinidad (a must-see recommended by the Rough Guide) went smoothly. The ruins themselves were interesting, though not in the same league as Peru's Macchu Picchu or Mexico's Chichen Itza - see postcard and Paraguay cover images...(having no Paraguay pictures available to choose from on the website we thought some ruins would be appropriate and we have been to both of these...unlike the tropical island in Venezuela originally chosen to represent Ilha Grande...the observant amongst you will notice this has now been changed to one of our own photos!) Despite temperatures of 37 degrees C and no shade, we had a pleasant hour strolling around the Jesuit Ruins, armed with several bottles of water, before heading back to Encarnacion. In the afternoon, we wandered around the town and spent several hours taking refuge from the heat under a tree in the green & leafy main square. Having decided to end the day walking from the Argentinian border point along the riverside promenade, there remained only one round in the border crossing challenge. We are delighted to report that the final score was Hippos 2 Rough Guide 1...game set match Hippos!!! That evening we got an overnight bus to Uruguay...border crossing much less traumatic...more on our Uruguay adventures in a few days time! Hope you are all well. love, Kirstie & Zena P.S. Polly...we hope our travel traumas continue to amuse!