The past two months I was busy with several work trips, logging hundreds of miles and dozens of hours in the car. In one week, on two separate trips, a coworker and I visited 14 of Paraguay’s 17 departments. While I had previously visited two of those three missed departments, I still haven’t made it up to Alto Paraguay Department in the northeast. Next time! (Although since there are no major roads up there it will be hard to get to!)
One trip began with a 5am departure and Scout came to see me off while Brian and boys slept soundly.
Another trip had a more civilized departure time and the boys wanted to come along.
On the country’s roads, we saw plenty of dangerously overloaded trucks and precarious passengers.
We saw a priest in the street asking for money and many items for sale on the side of the road.
Motorcycles were everywhere!
All over the country, in both remote areas on dirt roads and in and around cities with paved roads, we had to share the roads with animals. We saw lots of cows and horses!
On one trip, I visited Encarnacion, seeing the Jesuit ruins, remains of indigenous settlements built by the Jesuits in the 17th and 18th centuries.
In the city of Concepcion, we saw lots of motorcycles and horse-drawn carts. The motorcycles often had very young passengers, and rarely did we see anyone using a helmet.
In Pedro Juan Caballero, we saw lots of fresh produce for sale at markets on the side of the street.
Outside of Pedro Juan Caballero we saw some unusual and beautiful rock formations.
We visited Cordillera and San Pedro Departments.
In Canindeyu Department we saw some beautiful sunsets.
In Misiones Department we visited the Yacyreta Dam, a binational undertaking between Paraguay and Argentina providing electricity to both countries.
During our trips, we crossed a few bridges and saw many small but well-kept remote homes.
We saw moss covered rocks at a municipal park in Itapua Department and mountains in the distance in Guaira Department near the town of Colonia Independencia.
We spent time in Ciudad del Este, in the Tri-Border Area where eastern Paraguay meets Brazil and Argentina. CDE is Paraguay’s second largest city (after Asunción) and with its reputation for counterfeit goods and smuggling of all sorts of contraband, it is a rough place.
There are lots of open air markets in CDE.
We crossed the border into Brazil on the Friendship Bridge over the Paraná River which connects CDE, Paraguay and Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil.
We had delicious burgers for dinner in Foz.
It wasn’t all hard work though. I teleworked poolside one afternoon with a nice view of Brazil.
I returned home from my trips with a few gifts, including beets and carrots from the Paraguayan Vice President’s farm in Itapua Department. I added ginger and lemon and made some delicious juice.
I got the boys flashlights and puppets from the Shopping China megastore in Pedro Juan Caballero. The boys like to turn off all the lights in the house and then use flashlights while they look for the wolf from “Caperucita Roja” (Little Red Riding Hood), a role usually played by our nanny Maria.
And they like doing puppet shows behind a table turned on its side.
From Ciudad del Este and Brazil, I brought back wall hooks with parrots, a wooden coati (a raccoon-like animal common at Iguazu Falls), and a poster of the falls.
I had a nice time on my trips but was glad to be home after traveling so much!