Hassun: Osaka pressed Sushi featuring Mackerel, Prawn and Eff, Sea Bream, minced Chicken Cake covered with Poppy Seeds, small River Fish rolled with Kelp, Petit Arrowhead Bulb pickled with Sweet Vinegar and Ginger
Hassun: Osaka pressed Sushi featuring Mackerel, Prawn and Eff, Sea Bream, minced Chicken Cake covered with Poppy Seeds, small River Fish rolled with Kelp, Petit Arrowhead Bulb pickled with Sweet Vinegar and Ginger
Sabang's lovely beach
Sabang's lovely beach
Sporting my Lufty PJs
Sporting my Lufty PJs

After Ybycuí we bussed it down to Encarnación which is on Paraguay’s southern border with Argentina.  We didn’t plan to stay there long because the only real attractions are the Jesuit ruins.  Our plans for a short stay were compounded by exorbitant hotel prices due to their “Carnaval” which mysteriously runs the entire month of February.  We hoped to check out the festivities during our one night stay but they ended up be rained out.  Oh well, better luck next time.

We got up fairly early the next morning, checked out of the hotel and jumped on a bus to Trinidad the most accessible of the Jesuit ruins.  Trinidad has an impressive collection of buildings from religous missions in the 17th century.  The basic idea was to round up all the indiginous people and give them a place to stay, study Christianity, and live something resembling a European lifestyle.  In doing so, they constructed a massive complex of buildings.

What I found more interesting than the ruins themselves was our search for the entrance (there is only one).  We took a couple of wrong turns and ended up walking the dirt roads all the way around the ruins.  We saw a couple of horse-drawn wagons kicking up dust on the red clay roads.  

Lots of traffic on the bridge.
Lots of traffic on the bridge.

There was one man out cutting his lawn with a machete and more than a few others sitting on their porches drinking Terere (cold mate).  Of course there were also plenty of dogs lounging about and chickens picking around for who knows what.  Life in rural Paraguay must be very quiet.

After a couple of hours poking around the ruins we decided it was best to head back to Encarnación to retrieve our bags so that we could push for Posadas, Argentina.  The towns lie opposite one another on the Rio Paraná and getting between them is as easy as hopping an international bus in either city center.  The border crossing was much like what I remember of the San Diego to Tijuana crossing, I will let you figure out which country is which.  There was a lengthy queue in one direction and basically none in the other.

And that was that, we were in Argentina.  I certainly don’t regret visiting Paraguay but now I understand why it doesn’t attract hoardes of tourists.  It’s a cheap country, the locals are friendly it is reasonably easy to get around – usually these are the qualities that draw backpackers.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t have all that much in terms of tourist attractions.  Of course we only saw a small portion of the country.  There is the wild and mysterious Chaco in the north and the wetlands of the Patanal in the east.  Both of those are proobably fascinating destinations but they would take a significant amount of time and effort to explore.

Trinidad:  Jesuit missions near Encarnación.
Trinidad: Jesuit missions near Encarnación.
Crossing the Río Paraná to Posadas, Argentina
Crossing the Río Paraná to Posadas, Argentina

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