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.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

travel update from el granja de roble paraguay

Saludos a todos,
Paraguay is not a cheap country for travelers. It is a cheap country to live in I think but not to travel in. Food is not any cheaper than in Argentina or Uruguay (also not particularly cheap countries). Nor is ground transportation. The big problem however is lodging. It is almost impossible to find a cheap place to stay. As far as I can tell there are only 2 hostels in the whole country, and both of them cost more than anyplace I stayed in Uruguay or Argentina. Okay, there is a place in Asuncion called Residencia de Silva which is essentially a hostel and it is only about $11.00 or !2.00 USD (50,000guarani). So there are maybe 3. The black cat Hostel in Asuncion charges $16.00USD for a dorm bed!!! About double the prices for Ecuador or Peru or most central American countries. More than anything I have seen on the net for Lithuania Latvia and Estonia. South America should not cost more than Europe!!
Normally Restaurant dining costs about triple (usually) what it would cost to eat at home. there is some okay street food here. empanadas are about 50cents each 3 would be a good meal, Whole roasted chicken with some manioc is 6 USD enough for 3 or 4 meals I would guess. I ate a meal of Arroz con Pollo sold by some old women in a park in Asuncion that cost about 2.50 USD. The problem is there is nothing healthy or vegetarian to buy cheap in the street. You could make sandwiches or salads in your hotel room to save money. I did that in Encarnacion. just eat raw fruit for a meal or two per day is another option cheap, healthy and delicious.
For me my time here has been very inexpensive thanks to the warm and gracious hospitality of Emilio and Lili who have refused to take any money for letting me stay at their house. If not for this, I would not be able to stay within my budget.
I do not understand countries that do not have any infrastructure for budget travel. Even as an American where we do not have any either, I fail to understand it. It seems like a good money making industry that would benefit the host country in many ways. I believe that to open a hostel would be a good money making proposition, yet there arent any. you can lease a big old house and put 3 bunk beds in each bedroom and charge 30 or 35,000guarani (7 or 8 USDollars) per bed.While a cheap hotel room here are about 50 or 60,000 per night (12 or 14 USD), but they offer no kitchen access.
My first two weeks in Paraguay were very quiet for me internally. I just was being here. it is sort of what i have been striving for for many years but the change is so subtle, that it is hard to tell if it is really happening or not.
Now I am here. I am in a little farm called Ganja el Roble. It is owned by Peter and his wife Andresa. he is German she is Paraguayan. they have 3 children age 11(nestor) 9 Hanibal and 6 (ameli). There is also a way cool german guy who is working here called Chris. Chris was a social worker in Germany for about 15 years. Then he got tired of it and started a taxi minibus busintess. It specialized in takeing old sick people to and fromthe doctors office. Then the German gov-vomit decided that it costs too much to subsidize transportation for old sick people to go to the doctor (bush Gingrich and Palin must be smiling now as they read this) so they stopped. Told the old fogies to hitch hike or walk or just die. They needed the money for the war on terrorism in Afganistan...So anyway Chris decided to come to Paraguay. He has been here for a year. he works about half the day and gets room and board and 300,000Guarani a month.($60.00USD) it is enough.
As i write this letter I have been here at this peaceful organic farm for about 10 days. i am loving it except there are a lot of mosquitos. Peter is an avid acquarium guy and he has 6 large ponds where he raises food fish to sell. he also keeps milk cows, chickens and hogs. the chickens lay eggs but being totally free range, they can never find them!! His wife Andresa is an excellent cook and she has been getting sauce making lessons from me in return for bread making lessons from her. A coupleo of backpackers come through from time to time but mostly there is almost no turism here is Paraguay. It is real quiet and tranquil and i am really enjoying myself.
there is no TV here and the internet connection is very bad. I am hoping to mail this as soon as I finish but last few days that was impossible. A small price to pay for being out here in such a tranquil environment, I have been reading some Gore Vidal books and some Eckhardt Tolle books. They both have a much more optimistic outlook on the future than i do. although Gore Vidal is a little...Well, he has good points and is well researched but his diagnosis is that America is a very sick child. It is a little depressing. I can not recommend either of these two authors enough. they are both brilliant.
I was surfing the web in Posadas Argentina, looking for a picture of Maitreya. The buddha of the future. He is sometimes thought of as a boddhisatva. In statues and art he is always depicted as seated on a strait backed chair, not with his feet crossed as Gotama Sidhartha (the guy most people refer to as Buddha) is normally depicted.
A lot of people also confuse buddha with budhai, the smiling fat guy with the little cloth sack and prayer beads. Budai is a chinese diety. In Japan he is called Hotei,which means cloth bag he is the god of contentment and happiness, guardian of children, and patron of bartenders. He is not buddha. but Some Buddhist traditions consider him a Buddha or a boddhisatva, sometimes he is thought of or rather confused with the future buddha, Mairtreya.
The primary story that concerns Budai in Zen budhism (Zen started in Japan and means concentration) goes like this: Budai is said to go around traveling and giving candy to poor kids for free , but asking a penny from Zen monks or lay practitioners he meets. One day a monk goes up to him and asks, "What is the meaning of Zen?" Budai drops his bag. So then he asks "How does one realize Zen?" . Budai then took up his bag and continued on his way. This little story is sometimes used as a teaching riddle or koan. I feel that Budhism has a certain afinity with backpackers. Do you know what I mean?
Well, I found some references to Pacceka Buddhas as well. I have a special afinity with Pacceka Buddha. Pacceka Budha is an enlightened being (According to Ajahn Cha ) who has achieved enlightenment without benefit of a teacher. The independent path. Somebody who meditates on his/her own and does his own thing and finds the truth that lies behind the universal illusion of the material world. I think if I am going to get enlightened in this lifetime, this might be the path for me.
Gurdjieff called his way the way of the clever man or the way of the sly man. Stating that the sly man "steals his enlightenment". The way of the outlaw, may be to steal your enlightenment, I think of my way as the way of the outlaw. I have an outlaw spirit. i have never been very good at taking orders (or unfortunately) even advice and have always had disdain for virtually all authority figures.
A Pacceka (Pah-check-ah) Buddha can not teach. He may know but he may not tell. He has no disciples or followers. he is NOT a bodhisatvah who wants to help others, but he is a seeker of truth interested first and foremost in his own liberation, his own awakening . I think of the announcement on the airplanes. "In the unlikely event of cabin decompression put on your won oxygen mask BEFORE you assist your neighbor." Gurdjieff used to say "the best thing you can do for your fellow man is to work on yourself"
A monk without a monastery. A king without a throne. I love my independence so much. I do not enjoy being dependent upon or being depended upon by others. Perhaps I am on the path of the Pacceka Buddha.
So anyway, here are a couple of quotes you may want to think about until the next update.
Peace and love to all of you,
Roberto Mochilero
"While I can not prove this, I think not having a TV, or at least not watching it, is a big factor when it comes to choosing unconventional paths. Naturally, there’s this popular idea that TV feeds the masses with certain values, but I believe this is exaggerated. Most programming offers fairly reticent opinions and is quite free of content. The great beauty of TV is therefore not so much that it acts as a form of active propaganda steering people towards certain goals, but that it keeps people from having goals in the first place." Jacob Lund Fisker
"If fighting is inconsistent with an ideal society, then fighting will not bring the ideal society. A spiritual result is produced by spiritual means and a material result by material means. If war is evil, as almost everyone admits, then it can not be the right way to produce a good result." Howard Brinton


Anonymous Andy Graham said...

How did you find the place?

10:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Chef, when are your coming to Sunny/Rainy CA.You haven't met the new member of our clan. I hope you find continued peace of mind and spirit. Until then....

3:41 AM  

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