We travelled from Iguazu to Paraguay in search of the famous city Ciudad del Este where we were to find a fantasy world of cheap electronics! We caught the local bus from Puerto Iguazu to Ciudad del Este which was packed with our backpacks in 30 degree heat and not having a clue where to get off for the border crossing! After a 30 minute journey we noticed a change, everything seemed manic, motor bikes were zooming in and out of bumper to bumper traffic whilst people pushing cart loads of food and other gadgets to sell were everywhere! We were surrounded by smog and hundreds of giant billboards advertising every electronic product imaginable, cameras, laptops, phones, mp3 players etc etc and all at what seemed to be exceptionally low prices!
We were so distracted by the sudden change in culture and scenery we forgot to look out for immigration, the bus was packed full of locals with Ben and Lisa stuck in the middle straining our necks to find something that resembled an immigration office! A local lady noticed the panic in our faces as we started to panic about being an illegal immigrant in Paraguay and pointed towards a little office behind us and pointed that we should get off now! 5 minutes later we had bruised numerous locals pulling our backpacks off the bus and were now surrounded by people speaking in Spanish and selling us things! We found immigration and headed off to our hostel in a taxi (as our bus left us) to try and escape the madness.
After dumping our packs we headed in to the centre to face the madness head on, we were in search of an ASUS laptop and ANOTHER camera for Lisa after the other one broke in Iguazu (ggrrrr). After shopping around we found a laptop we were interested in for $215 but the shops were closing early because it was Saturday and were closed until Monday therefore we were stuck in this mayhem until Monday!
On the evening we thought we would go out for a meal, there was a really bad storm therefore we wanted somewhere nearby. After a recommendation from a member of staff at the hostel we arrived at a nice restaurant and asked for the menu (whilst wringing the water out of our trousers) the waiter went on to explain they don't have a menu and only serve "chicken", we asked "chicken with what?" and he replied "chicken", We now realised why we were the only people in the restaurant! Back out on the street looking around there was nowhere else in sight to eat, we were about to head back to the hostel (and starve) when a man with a "dicky bow" stuck his head out of a gate and said "comida" (food), we looked around and the man appeared to be stood in a garage with big gates around the outside, 2 red plastic tables and chairs in the middle and a roof made out of corrugated iron over the top. suspiciously (and due to curiosity) we asked to see the menu and found that they served more than just chicken "woo hoo choice" so we pulled up a chair and had a very random meal. We sat on our own in the middle of this garage being dripped on by the rain through the holes in the roof, ate frozen pizza and watched the thunder and lightening through the gates! Very Surreal!
The next day was Sunday so everything was closed and we mean everything, being the hungry horraces we are we needed food and nowhere was open apart from dodgy street stalls (which we avoided due to both of us being ill recently). Ben being Ben needed to be fed so we went in search for the only place we thought would be open on a Sunday in Paraguay, Maccy D's!! After walking about an hour (Lisa whinging due to blistered feet) we found McDonalds and of course it was OPEN....and packed! After eating we needed to be back to the hostel in 20 minutes to watch the Gran Prix, we though we would get a bus back to save us some time, after looking around for 5 minutes we realised there was no bus stop and wondered how we could get on the bus - Ben just stuck his arm out for the next bus coming down the street and it just stopped for us - brilliant! But, we had not change for the bus so we got chucked off the bus 2 minutes down the road- not so brilliant! Second try with the next bus that came along, Ben sticks his arm out shouts "tiene cambio" at the bus driver he replies "si" and starts to drive off before Lisa is even on the bus! After all that we still made it back in time to see Lewis Hamilton win the F1 World Championship....but didn't really know who had won until Ben's mum text to confirm as the commentary was in incredibly fast Spanish! That night we had another great search for food. We found another garage style fast food joint around the corner. This one was well posh! It was a drive-in (or park-up outise with waiter service) or sit-in karaoke/sports bar/restaurant with a dance floor! Only in Paraguay!!!!
The next day we went back to the centre and bought the laptop we wanted and were very impressed with our bargain, Lisa's camera started to work again so we didn't buy another one! Next stop Sao Paulo in Brazil!!