Rambling Robert's Travels

This blog chronicals the travels of myself, Rambling Robert, on my next adventure to South America.

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I am a world traveller. I do not work as such. I have been homeless and unemployed since 1October 2003. I worked as a chef for 30 years in America.

Monday, March 07, 2011

travel update from Asuncion Paraguay

¡Hola Amigos!
So, back in 2005, when I was in Argentina the first time, lots of people told me how nice Cordoba was. So I went and stayed a couple of days and honestly, I just did not get it. It was not bad but did not really love the city. So this time I went back and I still do not get it. It is just not my city, I guess. I stayed 3 uneventful days and left, wondering why I stayed 3 days and why everyone loves this place so much.
I took an overnight bus to Resistencia, the city of statues. I could not find a cheap place to stay. So I got a room at hotel Alfil and it cost 80 pesos, $20.00 USD with no breakfast, no internet, no kitchen, no pool, there is air conditioning but it costs 10 pesos extra. Previously the most money I had payed to stay in Argentina was 41 pesos. I walked all around the town and decided it was not worth the cost of the room to remain here ( though I must say the room was very nice ) and decided to leave the next day and go to Posadas. There are truly a lot of statues but they were not interesting enough for me to justify the expense of staying.
I got a dorm bed at hostel "Vuela el Pez". They are friendly and they have a good kitchen to use and a nice, small swimming pool and free internet. The place over looks the Parana river and has an excellent view. On the other side of the river is Encarnacion Paraguay. I am planning to enter Paraguay, from here taking the international bus service over the bridge on Wednesday, which happens to be my birthday.
Posadas has a certain charm and (who would guess??) a number of excellent statues scattered around the town. There was one that was really rather remarkable. A very large work ( obra grande ) of a man drinking hierba mate (yayrba mah-tay). The piece is made entirely of old propane gas canisters cut up and welded together. Very beautiful. I thought I would only be in Posadas overnight but I was quite relaxed and I still had a few Argentina pesos left so I decided to stay a little longer.
So my third day in Posadas I have been lounging around in my swimming costume alternately getting hot in the sun and diving into the pool to cool off. I am seated on a comfortable arm chair and drinking hierba mate. When I first tried this stuff, I sure did not like it. I remembered my experience in Malaysia with Drurian Fruit and how my cool Australian traveling buddy, Colin, promised if I tried it a few times I would get the point and begin to really enjoy it. He was right!
Colin is an organic gardener from Australia who had cancer, and still had it after surgery and the prognosis was bad and he cured himself by fasting on certain herbal teas.
We hired a guide together and trekked in the Sumatra jungle looking for Raflesia flowers.
I can not help but to reflect on what a sweet life I have had. What a sweet life I have still. I am so lucky to have been so blessed. I have a loving supportive family and great friends. There is wonderful and patient woman who loves me and is waiting for me in Vilcabamba.I have been lucky enough to have traveled all over this lovely planet meeting cool and fascinating people, eating drurian fruit and drinking hierba mate.
Okay. So now it is a week later. I am in Asunsion. I crossed into Paraguy and stayed in Encarnacion for 2 nights. Decent hotel but I was molested and attacked by the dreaded chinches de cama (bed bugs). I went to trinidad for a day trip to see Jesuit Ruins. this is the area around which the film "The Mission" starring Robert De Niro was made. the film was about the missions here. Good movie as I recall. it must be about 20 years old now.
The ruins were interesting. Not the best of ruins but interesting none the less.
I left Encarnacion on 5 March and took a bus to Asuncion, which is where I am writing from. I am a guest of Dr.Emilio (a pediatrician) and his wife Lili (a professor of English, who also speaks french latin and spanish). I met them at their daughters wedding in Capilla del Monte. We liked each other and they invited me to visit and "make myself at home" at their house in Asuncion. So it is and it is so. We have been having good times and I expect to be here a couple of weeks. Yesterday, Emilio and I went to the birthday party of his uncle who is now 85.
Great Party! A MOUNTAIN of really tasty foods!! Cold beers, really happy people. Lots of kids and dogs running around playing. I have tried 4 of the beers here now. I like Shnieder the best so far. There is another one called Baviera which I have not yet tried, but I have lots of time. This is the hottest country in south America, so the people drink more beer than any other intoxicant. Paraguay is S. America second largest grower of marijuana but so far I havent tasted any of that here. It is very plentiful in Uruguay and Argentina and here too, I am sure, but Emilio and Lili do not indulge.
I tried the famous sopa Paraguayana at the party which is like a cornbread, baked in a wood oven. Fantastic! There were many tasty salads and of course manioc (yuca) which is served here with every meal and is extremely popular. Not my favorite. It tastes like candle wax. Estelita in Vilcabamba has a lot of really good recipes for it but other than her kitchen I do not like it too much. I am also really enjoying the Chipa too. They are little breads sometimes made with manioc or corn or peanuts. they sell them in the streets everywhere. Cheap and delicious. The salads were all good but my favorite was one of beet root and potatoes. Later there was a good home made cake.
I ate too much. It was a great party and I am grateful to have been abel to go. Most of the time, travelers do not get to experience the true life of the people that live in the country where they are visiting. So This was a real treat.
I must be very careful here. There is quite a lot of Dengue fever. this is transmitted by mosquitos. I bought a jar of "OFF" repelent and I am applying it to my person daily. the really dangerous times for dengue is between 6am and 11am. It is a deadly disease that kills many people, children and adults. High fevers and terribly painful. the only treatment is bed rest, alcohol baths and paracetemal. Aspirin makes it worse. there is no vacine. Dr. Emilio has had it twice! This is amazing as the mortality rate for the second infection is very high. He is truly lucky to be alive. I am being careful and wearing long pants all morning. Well that is all for now. Next update in a couple of weeks when i leave asuncion.
Peace and love to all of you,
"When we see the shadow on our images, are we seeing the time 11 minutes ago on Mars? Or are we seeing the time on Mars as observed from Earth now? It's like time travel problems in science fiction. When is now; when was then?" Bill Nye

"I don't think the human mind can comprehend the past and the future. They are both just illusions that can manipulate you into thinking there's some kind of change."Bob Dylan

"Every body's talking about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it."Noam Chomsky


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