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Roughing it up in Paraguay


View MAP OF THE JOURNEY on AnnaMickus's travel map.

We wanted to see some of the 'real' Paraguay and not just a dirty border town, so we picked a town from our guide book that sounded authentic, laid back and not too large: ConcepiĆ³n. ConcepciĆ³n lies by the Rio Paraguay just on the border to Gran Chaco, the western part of Paraguay which covers 60% of the country's area, but only less than 3% of the total population lives here. Most of Chaco seems to be a really flat landscape covered with dust and thorny bushes and trees as far as the eyes can reach.

We ended up staying in an old hotel that must have been there since the beginning of the century. We feel like we have been taken back in time and that we are some rich people from Europe staying in a luxury hotel. Of course the hotel has deteriorated a lot and is actually quite dirty and smelly, but it has its charm anyway. In the backyard there is a huge garden with a swimming pool where it is nice to cool down from what must be a 38 degrees' heat at the moment.

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Trying out a local spirit (only 15 cents a bottle)

The town is divided into two parts, one of which is calmer like on the countryside and the other one more of a busy town (if you consider a few cars, a couple of scooters, and some horses pulling a cart of melons busy). Our first encounter was the calmer part of town. It was a bit of a surprise, but a pleasant one anyway. In this part of town you could feel that we really are sooo out in the middle of nowhere. The roads are empty dusty dirt roads (weirdly broad by the way), there are just a couple of worn out stores and houses, many of which look abandoned. When we happened to encounter local people, some of them looked strangely upon us. One of them seemed friendly at first but it turned out that he tried to get money from us. But of course we played the "I dont speak spanish, I don't understand"-game with him. Which was almost true, by the way; we don't really know many words of Spanish yet. Well anyway, we are beginning to understand why they say that tourists are scarcer than pumas here...

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Check out the Nokia Center in the back

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When we discovered the other part of the city we noticed that it has a 'normal' side after all. We even found a pizzeria where we learned the spanish word for pint (tuoppi): chop. That will probably come in handy :) later on. Anywhoo, the first impression of the town was that it is just a boring little town in the middle of nowhere that doesn't have anything to offer, but after spending a couple of days here we have changed our minds. It is actually a really nice laidback place with friendly people and a homey atmosphere. You just have to get used to the guards holding shotguns in front of the stores and your're fine.

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Let's dance

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In city center

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In city center

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Goodbye Concepcion!

Posted by AnnaMickus 09:06 Archived in Paraguay

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