My roommates Nina and Laura asked me if I want to join them on a day trip to Paraguay and I was happy to do so. Directly after breakfast we caught the shuttle bus of the hotel which brought us to the main street. There we took a public bus for 2.65 Real (1.60 USD) which brought us to the central bus terminal of Foz do Iguaçu. Here we shortly bought some snacks and took another bus for 3.50 Real (2.10 USD) which drove us over the border into Paraguay.
Interestingly the bus didn’t stop at the border and just drove through. Nobody wanted to see our passports and there was no check by customs and such. Since we actually wanted to get our passports stamped to tick off one more country on our list of countries we visited, we walked back over the bridge dividing Brazil and Paraguay and got stamped out of Brazil. Then we crossed the bridge again to actually receive the Paraguay stamp.
What was interesting to experience is the amount of duty free shops and markets in this little border town of the Presidente Franco District. Many goods are cheaper than in Brazil and therefore, people living close to the border come here to shop. The first duty free shop was directly at the border only 50m away from the immigration office.
The girls and I spend some time to walk around in town. While Nina and Laura bought some souvenirs I didn’t fancy anything in particular and just soaked up the atmosphere. It felt you can actually buy anything here. We even spotted some guns, fake ones but also real ones and got our picture taken with them. Hope, you like it :-) Despite from the shopping there was not much else to see. Therefore, Paraguay has no noticeable tourism and I don’t know anybody of my friends or colleagues who went to this country to spend his vacation here.
On our way back we shortly considered using a so called motortaxi which is actually a motorbike acting as a taxi. You get provided with a helmet and sit on the back seat quite close to the driver. While Laura had the fear she will get kidnapped when using a motortaxi my concerns were more related to get seriously injured in case of an accident since due to the heat I was only wearing a short dress and flip-flops. In the end we didn’t do it and used the bus to go back to the hostel.
Around 8 or 9pm the Dragoman truck I will be joining arrived from Bonito. Despite from the crew Ross and Anki there are only five passengers I know: Mollie, Kim, Stuart, Ian and Jeremy. All the others have left in Rio to either go home, travel on their own or with another company. The truck was filled with 15 new people many of them are couples or a bit older than I am. I heard because of this fact the food which we cook for each other got much better. However, I decided to have a final dinner from the hostel’s bar and return to camping food tomorrow.
In the evening I was running into another known face which was Noel a guy from the UK I met during Rio Carnival. Noel joined another Dragoman truck going from Rio via Buenos Aires to Quito but excluding Patagonia where our truck is going to. He told me he got kicked off the truck in Bonito and came here on his own. I couldn’t really get the reason out of him why he actually got kicked off the truck but can only imagine other passengers got frightened by his behavior which can be perceived as aggressive. I never experienced someone got kicked off the truck. It’s probably a hard decision for Dragoman since they will be losing a customer but better to lose one customer than 21 which is representing a full truck. I was not frightened by Noel and as he was nice to me I was nice to him. It’s actually his birthday at midnight and so Nina, Laura, I and a bunch of Israeli guys we met that night were celebrating with him. At midnight we all sang “Happy Birthday” and threw him into the pool.