Our 11th and final border crossing

Trip Start Aug 19, 2008
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Trip End Dec 20, 2008


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Flag of Paraguay  ,
Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Got the bus from Asuncion at 12pm to Pedro Juan Caballero, a border town with Brazil.  It only took about 8 hours which was better than expected and we were entertained the whole way by videos of mulleted and moustached men singing love songs and looking generally slimy.  Our guidebook didnīt have a map for this town so just checked into the first random hotel we came across, had a quick bite to eat for dinner then off to bed.  The next day we got up early and headed for Parque Nacional Cerro Cora where we planned to spend the day walking and hopefully seeing some wildlife.  We thought there was a direct bus there but nobody had heard of it at the station so jumped on an Asuncion bound bus and got off at the park entrance.  Itīs then a 10 minute walk from the roadside to the rangers station.  Itīs not a popular park in terms of visitors and we expected to be the only ones there but there was a tour bus at the entrance :(  Luckily the occupants were on their way out already :) so it was just Rob and myself in the park.  After signing in  with the park ranger we took a picture of the map of the park as they donīt have any to give out and then headed off.  We had a look at the war memorial first.  The last battle in the War of the Triple Alliance was fought here and Francisco Solano Lopez, the deranged president of Paraguay at the time, died here.  Apparently the amount of Paraguayans killed during the war (from fighting and disease) totalled 90% of its pre war population but I got that from Wikipedia so donīt quote me on that (Iīm sure Andy can confirm or correct that?!).  Anyway after visting the war memorial and the site of his death we ventured off on what we figured out to be the right path to the lookout point.  The park map was very rudimentary and failed to include at least 5 other paths that were all in the same area and there are no signs in the park to tell you which path is which and what leads where.  That path we chose was ridiculously overgrown and at points led us into open fields where it totally disappeared.  After walking for about an hour with no end or lookout point in site we decided to head back and try the other most likely path.  Got back to the start (in just 10 minutes which was wierd) to find that the other path went nowhere and we had been going the right way all along!! So off we went again down the first path and found that we didnīt remember a lot of the things we were now seeing, it all started feel a bit like the Blair Witch project.  Maybe it was the heat.  Many cuts, scrapes and tangles in brambles later we got to the lookoput point which to be honest Iīm not sure was worth  the effort!  The park was nice enough but itīs very neglected (at the moment anyway) and the only wildlife we saw were crickets and grasshoppers.  If you like them then this is the place to be.  Oh and we saw a rhea bird running in the distance but that was it.  Iīm sure thereīs lots more to see but it just wasnīt our lucky day I guess!  It was marvellous to be out in a park with no other people there though, a real novelty! We trekked back to the visitors centre to sign out only to find it empty, we neednīt have bothered!  Then headed back to the road to flag down a bus.  The road was empty and hot and it was over an hour before a bus came by and boy were we glad to see it!  Got back late, had dinner and then off to bed tired and scratched to  pieces!  The next day (Thursday) we headed off to Brazil.  Pedro Juan Caballero and Ponta Pora (the Brazilian town on the other side) are that close to eachother and that well connected that itīs impossible to see where one starts and the other ends.  Itīs like one big town, which is great in a way as youīve not got far to go but a nightmare when it comes to finding the immigration offices.  We got a taxi from our hotel to the Paraguayan offices (about 10 minutes drive from the centre) assuming that the Brazilian office would be next door only to find it wasnīt, it was somewhere back near the centre.  After walking back into town (we never asked the taxi driver to wait as we thought it would take a while but it took about 3 seconds and we were then stranded out of town, oops!) we started asking around for the Brazil office.  After being misdirected to the Brazilian consulate we eventually got there to find that it was on the street right behind our hotel!!  Crossing into Brazil involved simply crossing the street, a street which we had no idea was also the border.  So for anyone planning to go the same way, the street youīre looking for is Rodriguez Francia.  If you go to the Eiruzu Hotel in Pedro Juan Caballero (which is on the street Mcl Estagarribia) and walk to the end of the street onto Rodriguez Francia, cross the road and youīre in Brazil, carry on one block and youīll find the Brazil office which has something like Policia Nacional on the front of the building.  So after getting our stamp we walked back across the street into Paraguay to our hotel, got our bags, walked back over to Brazil and jumped into a taxi and headed for the bus terminal.  We were going to get a bus on the Paraguay side to Campo Grande as we assumed it would be cheaper but the guy tried to charge us in Reais the same price as you pay in Brazil anyway for a crappy bus so we decided to go to the other side where we were charged less (the 11am bus was on promotional price!) for a much nicer bus.  So that was us onto the last leg of the trip :(
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Comments

andydarlington
andydarlington on

And I'm your personal librarian am I???
Your faith in either my knowledge of all things or desire to look things up is alarming. Do your own bloody donkey-work.

And it would have been closer to 50% but it's hard to be accurate. D'oh!!!

robandjoan
robandjoan on

you can't resist it
Most likely my faith in your addiction to wikipedia and commenting. Will have to find a CA meeting in Sydney for you.

andydarlington
andydarlington on

Re: you can't resist it
And a CA meeting would be what..?

And beware of Wikipedia. It's, in the main, written by cranks for cranks!! lol

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