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Paraguay Day 1 – Arriving in Asuncion

 Since the second we said goodbye to our parents, one thought entered my mind: this is it. Some of us adopted it as our catch phrase. Every time something big happened, one of us would say “This is it.” When we finally arrived in Asunción we were too tired after 14 hours of travel to even think, “This is it.” Instead, we silently observed our surroundings.  One thing that astonished me was that an enormous house was right next door to a run-down, small house. While I expected there to be a big difference between the rich and poor, I was not expecting it to be so obvious. When we finally arrived at Hotel Chaco I expected to crash.  What happened was almost the opposite. I suddenly had adrenaline and the realization that I was in a new country and away from my parents.

After a sound six hours of sleep, I rolled out of bed like many others and enjoyed a nice breakfast of delicious fruit and toast. After breakfast we had an hour to get ready before starting our day. At 11 am, we met Domingo.  He is a Paraguayan from Santa Ana, and he is also traveling to Isla Pucu with us.  Domingo gave us a tour of Asunción.  He started with the bank so we could exchange money.  4500 guarani is equivalent to 1 US dollar; therefore things in Paraguay seem very inexpensive.  After the bank we stopped at a restaurant for lunch. The restaurant gave us our first taste of Paraguayan food.  I had empanadas choclos and some others had chipas. Choclo is cheese and corn.  Chipa is like a dense bagel with cheese.  Both were delicious.  During lunch, President Fernando Lugo was giving a speech.  Interestingly, the President was giving his speech about 10 minutes away from where we were sitting.  Many people in Paraguay would like to impeach the president, so there are many protestors.

After the tour, we returned to the hotel to have a meeting and get organized.  Then we went to a delicious all you can eat buffet restaurant.  After dinner we had down time, hung out in our rooms and had fun.  Overall, the start of the trip has brought the group closer, and I know as the trip continues that we will only grow closer.

Rachel B.

 

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