Asuncion (1/5/07 – 3/5/07)

Paraguay was never intended as a long stopover. In fact, there were only two things on my list for Paraguay – the Chaco, the sparsely inhabited wilderness which makes up most of the North-West, and Ciudad del Este, my chosen launching point to see the Iguazu falls. However, as generally happens on my excursions, things did not go according to plan. Apparently, Australian passport holders need a visa to enter Paraguay. To cut a long story short, I had a somewhat heated discussion with an immigration official during which I was nearly deported for attempting entry without a visa. Eventually, I was able to negotiate a “transit visa” which, although normally only valid for 24 hours, was, for the small fee of 50 USD, extended to 72 hours. So… I would spend only two days in the Capital, Asuncion… then fly to Puerto Iguazu, the town on the Argentinian side of the falls then go from there to the Brazillian side after which I would resume my travels as “normal”.

The Chaco is supposedly home to some very diverse flora and fauna due to it being at the confluence of a few very different ecosystems. I certainly don’t doubt it… just look at these funky phat trees.

The birds took quite a liking to the power lines, nesting in most of them.

As the trans-chaco highway descended further south, the deep jungle gave way to flatter marshlands.

The sun eventually set on my 23-hour bus ride… but not before I got one or two photos of the spectacular scenery just outside of Asuncion.

In the good ol’ days, Asuncion was an important stopover for the route inland to Brazil and Argentina. This is the Rio Paraguay.

Ascuncion has many cheap markets selling all manner of little cheap things…

It seems that Paraguayans like to travel in style… a mercedes-benz taxi would be most out of place in Australia

As I walked the streets of Asuncion, I discovered… a roadblock. Guess I’ll go another way.

Ciudad del Este (4/5/07)

My overnight bus crosses the “Friendship Bridge” which is basically the border between Paraguay and Brazil. It links Ciudad del Este with Foz do Iguacu. With my 72 hours almost up, I quickly crossed the border to Brazil aided by my hard-won (it normally takes a few days of processiong time, but I explained my situation and the did it for me in a few hours) multiple-entry Brazil visa.

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