Adióp, Paraguay! and Que Tal Che, Argentina!

17 01 2009

From the roadside in Northeastern Argentina I send you all saludos and wish you the best!

Here’s what’s up in my neck of the city:

1) VIDEO from Paraguay! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AOQofCkAhk
2) We have reached approximately 1.5% of the $100,000 fundraising goal with plenty of time to keep fundraising. Big thanks to all of you who have donated! The Paraguayan non-profits told me to tell you “¡Muchisimas Gracias!” Donations can me made quickly and safely through the link on http://www.RideForTheTrees.com
3) RideForTheTrees.com is now using a TravelStash blog so you can visualize the route and even zoom in on satellite photos… Check it out! http://www.travelstash.com/ride-for-the-trees/rideforthetreescom-environmental-bicycle-tour-through-the-americas/
4)I have been wondering… without Guarani (the charming language that it is) would it be as easy to find friendly people to stay with in “Casteshano”-speaking Argentina as it was in Paraguay? So far so good! See the attached photo for tonight’s campsite in my new university friends’ backyard here in Posadas, Argentina. Looky there, that’s the tent behind us.
5) After a week or so off, due to getting my backpack stolen, complete with passport, wallet, camera, and cell pone, among other things, I am back on the road with replacements… viva Argentina!

Wow, I’ve been cycling around Paraguay for about a month (and lived there 2 years), and now it is behind me. So I feel like I should try to summarize it for you. For travellers, for touring cyclists, and for curious folks the world over.

The first two things that come to mind are that Paraguay is a country on fire—everything seems to be on fire: trash, piles of leaves, forests– and the people setting those fires are probably the most hospitable, friendly folks you’ll never meet.

Paraguayan summers are HOT.

Central Paraguay, in the Cordillera, is home to rainbows in the clouds, like cartoons. What? Yep, just what I said. When I was riding around Cordillera, Paraguay, I saw rainbows in the clouds all the time. I don’t know why this would be the case, but residents tell me it is not uncommon in that area.

The roads are better than you’d expect in Paraguay. I rarely saw a pothole I could not avoid. But there are these speed bumps every few meters along the shoulders of many a highway, probably to keep motorcycles from passing on the shoulder… be careful early morning and late afternoon when tree and light post shadows are long and can camouflage the speed bumps that sometimes seem to come out of nowhereBAM! Poverty abounds in Paraguay, but so do mansions and elaborate casinos and hotels. Guarani is an amazing language! Ah, I could talk about Paraguay all day long… I miss it already. I miss the United States too, and perhaps soon I’ll miss Argentina, but Paraguay and the people there (locals and volunteers!) will always have a special place in my heart. Chau Paraguay, rohayhu!

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