Nova Scotia Artist, Joy Laking, posts ramblings while she's travelling and painting in South America.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday January 12

We are in Caaguazu, the first town we´ve visited on this trip that isn´t in any of the guide books. If feels wonderful. Even though Jim and I are tourists ourselves, I find that tourists ruin the fabric of everyday life in a village. And it´s that fabric that I enjoy seeing.

After we arrived here by bus we hoofed it around Caaguazu and just saw whatever there was to see. I also took a walk around by myself and did some painting. Even last night, we dragged a table and chairs out onto a deck overlooking the street and watched the traffic.
Jim did a study about the nuber of women on motorcyles. According to JiM: 90% of women after 6 pm go 2 to a bike. Once we started recognizing all the people on the bikes (ie. here´s the family with the two small children and another on the way) we gave up the study and played cards. We also shared a delicious $ 1.00 a bottle of wine!

Earlier when we´d been out for a late afternoon ramble we saw a bride on the back of a motorcylce. She was wearing shorts and a t-shirt and was holding her veil and hair so it wouldn´t fly about. Ten minutes later we walked by a church and there was a bride getting out of a car. Darn I said. It´s not our bride, this one has different hair and veil. We stopped and watched for a few minutes and another car and bride pulled up and this time it was our girl. Then much to our amazement a third bride and bridal party arrived!!! Who knows what this is all about!

When Danica was is Asia, she gave us lists of the weirdest things she saw on a motorcyle. We can´t come close to Danica´s record but motorcycles in Paraguay (some even made by Yamazuki) are a major form of transportation and in the evenings, entertainment. They might even be a form of birth control because of how many people can you really fit on one bike? Enormous speed bumps on the roads attempt to slow the traffic but everyone weaves around, wearing bare feet and shorts and clutching infants. We even saw one girl text messaging while driving her bike. Luckily most of the bikes don´t have loud sterio systems but the cars more than make up for this.

The town of Caaguazu has an inordinate number of bridal dress shops, cell phone shops and farmacias. Jim and I speculated on the relationship. We also walked by lots of video stores one even aptly named Pirata Video.

A few of the main streets are paved and some of the cross streets are cobble. Quickly, away from the town centre, the streets are just red sand and some have enormous ruts and holes and wouldn´t be passable by car. This morning before the temperature made being outside upbearable we wandered into the countryside. The houses on the edge of town are basic shacks, people are sitting outside drinking their mate, and horses and chickens and dogs and little kids wander freely. We are still trying to figure out exactly what mate is. Everyone carries large two litre thermos jugs of it and they have special cups and metal straws which also sieve the leaves out. Yesterday we tried a chipa. Chipas are the size and shape of a small donut and they are are like a warm solid bun flavoured with anise. It was really tasty. I´ve also been noticing emperados of empernos for sale. They look like Cornish Pasteries. The first one I tried was awful, dry, cold chewy bun filled with dry cold chewy meat. Today´s was terrific. It was hot and filled with ham and cheese.

It is such a relief to find air conditioning that my reports from Paraguay may continue to be really long since I want to postpone going out into the heat again!

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