Hmn to continue where I left off last time......Phew its hot!!!!! All of a sudden the temperature has done a complete 180 and is now 37°C. There is no such thing as a gradual change in temperature, oh no sure why would it do that! But I do prefer the hot to the cold without a doubt, even if it means all I have wanted to do today is sit in the bathroom since it seems to be the coolest place I can find, but some how I think people might begin to worry for my sanity!
We took a well deserved break in Asuncion this weekend. I didn’t get the chance to do the tourist type things when I first got here, so it was great to kick back and see a bit more of the country, or well the city at least. The bus ride from Santa Rosa to Asuncion was pure luxury....double decker, air con, snacks and coffee. Although I would caution any one who drinks the coffee on the buses here unless you like coffee with your sugar! The five hour journey across the flat vast country side doesn’t actually seem to take as long as it sounds but I suppose it does help when you have miles upon miles of beautiful scenery to admire. There are not many roads in Paraguay in fact there is pretty much one straight main road that goes through the country with the odd turn off’s here and there bringing you to main towns like Conception and Pedro Juan Caballero. On entering the city of Asuncion gone are the beautiful open fields filled with crops and birds, instead there is a concrete jungle with horns beeping and people juggling at traffic lights for some spare change. The taxi ride’s are always an experience, they are always in such a rush and seem to negotiate their way through the organised chaos of the streets. The roads have little or no markings and pedestrians beware because even though there may be zebra crossings it does not in any way mean that you have the right of way. I am not sure I even entirely trust the traffic lights and the meaning of red! It took me a little while to get used to the loud noises of the city, from the constant buzz of people chatting and cars whizzing past to the brass band and fire trucks that had some sort of display on in the park across the road from our hotel! We wondered the streets of Mcal, Estigrribia and Palma where all sorts from CD’s and hand made crafts to clothes and jewellery (I got roped into buying a pair of earrings, although they are very pretty). Some of the crafts, particularly the wood carvings, are stunning and you could only imagine the time and effort gone into each single piece. We made our way to the palace and then onto a tug boat across Asuncion bay. This cost about 2mil and took maybe half an hour. It was actually really cool, it allowed us to take a step back and view the city from a completely different angle. We putted and tutted across the bay in this little gas run water boat looking out at the people who live off of the land, water birds, small fishing boats which looked like they belonged in the Amazon, a massive rusted old ship wreck and an old fashioned cruise boat. All the high rise buildings of the city were the complete opposite of the piece of land we were left on, which consisted of a church, some houses and a rusty old tractor. We chillaxed at the waters edge with our bottle of coca-cola.....no matter where in the world you are a bottle of coca-cola will always be close to hand!
The rest of the day was spent trying to a pair of trousers that weren’t jeans or some stylish legging, as I have ripped my way through most of my trousers, but I have had to resort to asking my parents to post some out to me, since my patch work is not too great! So I foreworn everyone to bring plenty of trousers! We do a lot of walking, running, diving, jumping, climbing....the lot!
We have a new intern with us who is doing work on the different species of reptiles found in varying habitats. I am particularly excited with this since reptiles are my speciality! A new volunteer is joining us tomorrow. It is always exciting when a new person joins us, hearing their different stories and interests.
Just in from a kayak across the lake and it’s just in time by the sound of sound of the rumbling in the sky we will be having a whopper of a storm tonight!
Hasta la Proxima!
Loraine Grant: M.Sc., B.Sc.