Into Paraguay

Trip Start Jul 02, 2009
1
5
33
Trip End Jun 28, 2010


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Flag of Brazil  , State of Mato Grosso,
Sunday, July 19, 2009

I'd been curious about Paraguay for some years.  It may have been something to do the un-Hispanic name of its long-term dictator or the fact that a former dictator of Nicaragua got himseld assassinated (with a rocket!) while enjoying a quiet drive in the capital.  Then there was the Chaco War with Bolivia that was fought in the early thirties.   I decided to enter Paraguay from the north which required getting (via Campo Grande) from Cuiabá to Ponta Poră.

 


Ponta Poră is a strange place and not the sort of place where the sane person would want to linger.  Brazilians come here to indulge in a bit of duty-free retail therapy but there is little to attract a tourist on a main drag where pharmacies outnumber restaurants.  One needs to pay some attention to border crossing formalities and a couple of weeks later I would be very, very glad that I did.  First was the Brazilain exit stamp.  Since it was a Sunday the consulate was closed but some gate-rattling attracted the attention of the guard and I persuaded him to take my passport inside for stamping.  The Paraguayan immigration office doesn't open until 7PM so, anticipating a huge crowd, I headed over about 6:30PM and placed a large, vile-tasting cough sweet in my mouth (wouldn't want any officials thinking that the hacking cough was H1N1).  As it turned out nobody else needed Paraguayan entry stamps that evening. Although the immigration office was still technically closed the nice lady who worked there did not appear to have noticed that I was supressing my swine flu with the vilest cough sweet ever manufactured and was happy to provide the stamp.  Then it was off to the bus station in Pedro Juan Cabellero (apparently a centre for the trafficking of recreational pharmaceuticals) to catch the bus to Asunción.
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