Tomatelá

A week has passed since I left Mendoza and it has felt like seconds but at the same time, it has felt like years. This is the first time I would say I have ever truly solo traveled and it is incredible. I am learning so much about myself; what I am capable of, my strengths, my weaknesses, my inability to budget well, and my need for good food. Something that has really struck me is that I am falling in love with myself. I have only been on my own for a week, but I already feel so much more empowered and I can see how strong I truly am. What I am about to say might sound egotistical BUT I seem to have forgotten how cool I am and I haven’t been giving myself enough credit. I am an amazing person; I am strong, funny, energetic, enthusiastic, empowered, determined, optimistic – I love to laugh, to talk to people, to take the road less traveled by, to learn, to be. I am weird, but I am myself and I have no need to live up to anyone else’s standards but my own. If you disagree with any of what I just said, read the last sentence again.

Day 1: Traveling from Mendoza to Asuncion.

Nothing too spectacular, just buses, airplanes, taxis. I ran into trouble at the Paraguayan border though; I wasn’t aware I needed a visa to enter the country… Luckily, they have a visa upon arrival option. $160 later, I have a sticker in my passport that allows me to come and go as I please for the next ten years.

Day 2: Asuncion, Paraguay.

I head to the city center and the first thing I do is stop the Tourism office to get information because what is there to do in Asuncion (actually someone please tell me, I spent two full days there and I have yet to find an answer to this question). The girl I was talking to looked oddly familiar but I thought nothing of it until she stopped and said the same thing, followed by the question “did you go on exchange in Denmark?” Low and behold, she went to Denmark the same year I did but to a different district so we had met in passing at the camps and get togethers. Can I get a whaaaaaaaat? Anyways, after she got off of work, we got a traditional lunch and then the best ice cream I have ever had in my entire life.  She had to go to her other job but afterwards I continued my wandering, still in shock over what just happened.

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Other side note, while sitting on a park bench a man tried to preach me the bible but was texting prostitutes during our conversation.

Day 3: Caacupe, Paraguay.

Andrea (the girl from before) invited me to go with her church group to Caacupe, a city 35 kilometers from Asuncion, and I happily accepted. I spent the morning wandering through the “tourist” neighborhood Loma San Jeronimo. Not only was it in a sketchy part of town and I thought I was going to get robbed, but there was no one else there and nothing to see. I met Andrea just outside of the neighborhood and we took off with about 45 other people. A little back story: a long time ago, the Virgen Mary appeared at this church and every year people from all over the country make a pilgrimage to see the Virgen. So essentially I walked a 5K with thousands of people all singing, praying, dancing, rejoicing, walking in the name of god then listened to a sermon given by Paraguay’s finest priests. There was an incredible energy to this place and if I believed in the Christian God (sorry Grandma, I’m agnostic), I probably would have exploded.amelia1

Day 4: Ciudad del Este, Paraguay.

Six hours on a bus later, I made it across the country. Nothing incredibly exciting besides the cat with a claw holding its hips together at my hostel.

Day 5: Itaipu Dam, Paraguay.

I took off with this German girl to see the world’s second largest dam and the largest producer of natural energy! We were given a free tour on a hydroelectric bus and taken to all the different parts of it. I can’t describe to you how enormous this thing was and my pictures don’t do it justice. After we got back into town, I packed everything up and walked into town. Here’s the thing about Ciudad del Este: it is South America’s cheap shopping and black market capital. The center is crazy; so many people in a very small space, everyone trying to see you knock offs, never ending honks and terrible traffic. It is right on the border of Brazil and if I would have tried harder, I could have easily snuck into Brazil illegally. I took a bus that passed through Brazil (it didn’t stop so there was no immigration hassle) and made my way back to Argentina.ameilia3

Day 6: Puerto Iguazu, Argentina.

How to even start with describing this day? Probably one of the best days of my life.

I woke up really early and took off from my hostel shortly after – a quick walk and a bus ride later, I was standing at the gates to one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Las Cataratas de Iguazu is the second largest waterfall in the world and using the word amazing doesn’t accurately describe how cool it actually is. I hiked all the trails and saw everything I possibly could, I had a Coati (raccoon, squirrel, dog, rodent) steal my lunch, and I walked through a rain forest in a thunderstorm. I am going to let pictures describe to you what I saw because my words cannot capture the beauty of the falls.

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Day 7: Puerto Iguazu, Argentina.

I took a rest day and wandered around the city with Chad from Utah and an obnoxious Israeli man. We had lunch then headed to Tres Fronteras, which is where you can see Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil at the same time. We headed back, relaxed and ate dinner then Chad, Renee from New Zealand, and I went out for a drinks. When trying to pay our check, the waiters were trying to rip us off and being the only person that spoke Spanish, I got into a yelling match with them, who then threatened to call the cops (typical South American bluff). In the end, they accepted we weren’t going to get scammed and let us pay the amount written on the bloody menu. The three men at the table next to us watched all of this happen then bought us another round, which turned into buying us three rounds and us having to escape them. Overall, twas an interesting night.

Day 8: San Ignacio, Argentina.

 

Well, I am writing this on the bus so I don’t have a whole lot to say yet… Stay tuned.

Besitos.

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