Stories

 

Paraguay - October 2011


From the 10th to the 21st of October, 2011

Forty kilometers after the border, we spent two days in the Cerro Cora national park. The park ranger invited us to settle near the museum where we could use the shower, toilet and electricity. During the day and night, the area was infested with small flies which took great pleasure sticking to us. Grasshoppers ate our mosquito net turning it into lace. After making the way through the branches for our van with a machete, the short walk to the viewpoint gave a nice view of park's rock formations.

    

As we approached the capital city, police checks increased. After showing our documents, our fire extinguisher and triangles, we ended with a warning for not driving with the headlights during the day. As for Maud and Sebastian, they had to deal with a greedy officer. They were informed that it was not allowed to drive with tongs and that the date mentioned on their extinguisher was one year old. They only realized afterwards that it was the date of manufacture and not the expiry date. The police men forgave the driving with the tongs, but gave a ticket for the extinguisher. The agent informed them that it was better to pay here as the closer we get from Asuncion, the more expensive it gets... After simulating having only a certain amount of money, they still left the equivalent of forty Euros. It was their first confrontation with corrupted police since the beginning of their trip and it is always difficult to know how to deal with a dubious police officer...

At the next police check point, the officer stopped the two vehicles. "How fast where you driving ?" "Forty kilometer per hour, Sir." He asked the same question to his colleague by talkie-talkie. "Seventy kilometers per hours." What a great bunch of liars! We simulated not to understand Spanish. "No entiendo espagnol, traductor embassada suiza, hablar solo frances." Meanwhile, Maud and Sébastien had to show again their fire extinguisher." The validity date has expired, Sir." That was too much. Sebastien lifted his voice. "I already paid to your colleagues a few kilometers away, there is no way I will pay again !" Ouff, the situation became too complicated for the police officer, if they lose too much time with us, they lose "clients". The boss stepped in and released us.

    

We finally made it to the botanical garden's camping of Asuncion. In this city without much interest, we decided to make a custom made tent for Maud & Sébastian. This project seemed complicated to perform for our friends, but was very clear in my mind. It was probably because I saw my mother making patterns and sewing all my life. After two days taking measurement, creating the design, purchasing the fabric, cutting, assembling and pre-stitching by hand, the whole thing was stitched by a shoemaker. After sealing the stitches, Maud and Sébastien won't have to cook under the rain nor eat sitting on the front seats during bad weather.

During our stay at the Botanical Gardens, we met Stephen, a Canadian/Romanian, who has been waiting for his bike' repair for several weeks.

    

After a month and a half traveling together from Bolivia, Brazil to Paraguay, no more UNO games. We left for Argentina in direction to Chile while our friends headed to Uruguay to join Maud's brother. We hope to meet again one day between Switzerland and France. We will have to make Sébastian taste a true Gruyère cheese. Also, Maud brought us so much water in the mouth by detailing all the good desserts she makes so well, but for which the ingredients are missing on a trip...

After crossing the border of Argentina, we crossed the country from east to west to reach the pass Paso de Jama, where we were stuck because of the snow four months earlier. On the road, we took the opportunity to make a stop at the hot spring "Termas de los Reyes" near San Salvador de Jujuy, then spent a day at the campsite of Purmamarca where we enjoyed its mild climate before going for higher and colder regions.

Click here to read the following story in Bolivia.

See the album "Paraguay - October 2011"