Paraguayan buses, man. There is nothing like them. So so noisy. Paraguay can get awfully warm so jump on an insane bus ride and you will feel a lot better. They are in the style of american school buses but are multi-coloured. I think you can customise your own bus. I have seen some with spiderweb designs, specific local club emblems and race stripes. I think that is a good way to improve morale. Take note, Dublin Bus. The journey themselves are an expeience. They rattle so much. You are bumping up and down on them constantly. You get quite a sore rump from all his bopping. The buses sound and feel like they are about to fall apart (they probaly are, to be fair). Very few of them seem to have windows so the air flows through very nicely. They are the noisiest thing ever.
You can barely hear the person sitting directly beside you let alone the buskers. Oh yes, Paraguayan buses have buskers. As the buses rattle through the streets some guy and girl will sing. It is quite entertaining but can be quite awkward when we do not give any money. At the beginning, the novelty was great so we would tip away but it soon wore off and we stopped tipping. This would often lead to some pretty awkward stand offs.
South Americans are a ballsy bunch so they will stand there, hand outstretched for an awful long time before realising that you will not tip them. It is a true battle of nerves. I would stare out the window pretending to be unaware of the man who serenaded us on a small bus and then further oblivious to the fact that he was standing over me. I often buckled and gave them what little I had. It was just too awkward. I was really excited to see Paraguay before our arrival. No one really goes to Paraguay and I am a dick like that, I will love somewhere just because it is a little rough and ready. Thank god, one of the girls (Mags) could speak Spanish as getting around Paraguay without Spanish could have been a bit of a nightmare. Poor Paraguay. It is an awesome country filled with amazing people but they are just not bothered with tourism. They are sandwiched between Argentina and Brazil which are obviously backpacker mecca’s but little Paraguay has a lot to offer! It is great for a nice chilled out time. The perfect place for bodies and wallets to recover from the non stop party of Brazil.
In Asuncion, we stayed in Black Cat Hostel. You should all stay there. Even if you are not going to Paraguay. Stay there. Brilliant hostel. It is run by a mother and daughter combination. They were so helpful. They booked so many buses and other hostels for us. Absolute legends. They were so kind to us despite us stealing yoghurt from the fridge that was only meant for Breakfast. There was a communal fridge and a hostel fridge that was for breakfast. Now, breakfast was supplied by the hostel which is so epic. A free breakfast was often the ultimate decider for us to pick a hostel. It was usually what was the cheapest followed by what we can get for free. Absolute cheap skates that we are. We “borrowed” yoghurt from the hostel one night for our cereal. I know, shocking. Cereal at night? We were truly a bunch of girls gone wild. The hostel was also beside a pick and mix ice cream parlour which was a lovely bonus. Stealing yoghurt and ice cream is pretty much as wild as we got in Asuncion. OR WAS IT?
We had quite an interesting few nights out in Asuncion. One in particular was pretty memorable. We went to an english bar and had a few drinks. It was a very merry time altogether. We also took a platter off another table. Was not our finest moment but they ordered so much food and just left without touching half of it. In our defence, after a few drinks, we realised that we hadnt actually had any dinner. I dont need to justify my actions to you. The pub closed and we all emptied out of the bar. I am unsure how it happened but we got speaking to several homosexual Paraguayans. They said a key word to gain our interest. “Kareoke”. Brilliant. Off we went to a kareoke bar. Now, in retrospect, we probaly should not have been lead away by strangers so easily but they seemed cool and we did end up in a kareoke bar. This paints a worrying picture about my friends and I. Taking old food from other tables and being lead away by strange men.
Apart from being treated like some sort of sexual object, it was a very very fun night. The way they said my name will forever haunt me. It doesnt really help when the girls constantly imitate it!
Oh yeah, more weird things happened. On our walk home, a black jeep pulled up and asked did we want anything. We drunkenly explained how we wanted water and he drove off. We kept going assuming he just wanted a chat or something. Jeep pulls back up and gives us water.
We should have been more reluctant to take the water incase it was layered with rohypnol. We took the water and walked off. Haha, we didnt drink it until we got back to the hostel incase there was something in it. Jesus, this sounds so sketchy now that I type it! I had an amazing sleep that night if there was rohypnol in it. I woke up with a pain in my ass though….
We used Asuncion as our home base. We moved around a lot and got to see a good bit of Paraguay which I am really happy about. It is such a beautiful country. We found some empty country club that let us sit by the pool and stuff just outside Asuncion so that was lovely. Work on that tan. There was a lot of sitting out in the sun and reading in Paraguay. Stress free. We found the country club by accident as there is a lovely lake district called “San Bernardino” but our bus did not go near there despite telling us it goes there. As you can tell, getting lost and ending up in random places seems to be a running theme of our trip. We eventually found San Bernardino. It was very nice but the sun wasnt out so I ended up just falling asleep by a lake. As lovely as it was, it probaly was not worth the countless wrong buses we got on!
We were quite an anti-social bunch in Paraguay. We werent really bothered. There was very friendly people in the hostel who wanted us to hang out with them but they were all quite…..how to put this….fucking weirdo’s? Paraguay seemed to attract some odd travellers. We had a mexican family from texas who were looking for a home or something. They looked like mental cases and one of them thought U2 were american. WHAT IS UP WITH THAT?! WHAT A FREAK!! Just take my word for it. There was a really nice french girl who always wanted us to hang out with her but anytime we did she would just smoke so much weed and just sit there staring into space. She is studying in Assuncion and was living in the hostel while looking for a house. She had a sweet deal there. One english guy wanted a slice of her so she got loads of free food and booze of him. We all wonder, to this day, did anything happen between them. At the end of our stay in Assuncion, the tenants of our hostel took a dark twist. One morning, a bunch of old people checked in. They were not even together, just seperate old people checked in. I remember sitting having my breakfast and one old lad leaned over me to get the butter and I felt his breast on my head. This was when I knew we had to leave. Some lad also checked in who played the accordion and would always play it. Who the fuck plays an accordion, like? Who goes travelling and brings an accordion with him? I still have nightmares of hearing the accordion play over and over again. Does an accordion player have dreams of being in a famous rock band or what?