Thursday, May 15, 2014

Independence Day Weekend and Ybycui (1)

Any time there is a long weekend, there is always the buzz of "where are you going for the weekend?" and "what are your plans?" That is one of the cool things about being surrounded by a group of adventurous, traveling type- a four-day weekend spells ADVENTURE!

Originally we had talked about going camping, but the weather forecast was terrible. Instead, we found a really cute "hotel" with separate cabins/bungalows. (What is the difference anyway?) In two cars, eight of us (6 teachers and 2 visiting friends) set off for our adventure.

The first delay happened almost immediately...we were pulled over. This happens ALL THE TIME in Paraguay, and they don't have to have a reason to pull you over. You're driving along and there are check points, and they just pull over whichever cars they feel like. Normally you show your paperwork and are on your way in under a minute. However, this was the exception. We STILL don't know what happened. Apparently they didn't like that we had a cooler with an (unopened) package of beer in it-although they didn't ask for us to give it up. Maybe they thought our driver had been drinking, but they didn't ask him to take a breathalizer. Maybe they wanted a bribe, but they didn't ask for one. Maybe our skin was just too light-we'll never know. After about 45 minutes, they got sick of our mediocre Spanish and sent us on our way.

I always LOVE when you first get out of the city and the land opens up. It's so pretty!

We got to our cool cabins and got moved in. A couple of us drove into town for provisions for dinner, others started preparing food they'd brought. There was some relaxing and frisbee and plenty of beer and wine too. Eventually we'd cooked up an admirable spread and enjoyed a relaxed dinner outside. All the cabins had a quincho (grill) and big outdoor tables. We were at the very end of the property, no doubt because they knew we'd be rowdy troublemakers. :) 

Of course I didn't take pictures of this, but when I think back on this weekend what I remember is playing games outside after dinner. We played Bananagrams, Catch Phrase, Phase 10.... We stayed up late and laughed until our stomachs hurt and we ran out of wine.

The next day, the weather was a little crummy, making us glad we weren't camping. The hotel had a decent breakfast, we all moseyed over as we woke up. Eventually we decided to head to the park, even though it was raining a bit.

 Once there, we hiked all over the place, and had to cross the river multiple times. We also saw lots of cool waterfalls, and these cool red mushrooms. I tried to see other wildlife but was unsuccessful. Ybycui is one of Paraguay's most popular parks, and is 5000 hectares. We saw Salto Mina, below, and Salto Guarani, below some more.

The Canadians! (and Maggie, honorary Canadian)

Going back, the water was much deeper.
Apparently the rain we'd driven through
had made it's way down the mountains
a bit. But not one of us fell in!

We were standing around eating some snacks when these cows came running by at a fast clip. I was a little worried about being gored, but they just raced on by.

Did you notice all that bug repellent in the top picture? Well I used it, as I'd been warned about the mosquitos this time of year, especially in the park of Ybycui. However, all that wading through streams must have washed it off because I was in bad shape by the end of it! Oh the agony!

No comments: