Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Asunción, Paraguay

We spent 4 nights in Asunción staying with the Alló family. Naty and Vivi knew my cousins and Aunt and Uncle in Italy through an exchange program. Their family were kind enough to let us stay for a few days to get to know a bit of Asunción.

In Paraguay they have a distinct indigenous culture called Guaraní, Guaraní folklore has lots of mythological figures and animals with strange and wonderful powers and stories attached to them. Most of these stories seem to be designed to scare young children so that they obey their parents!

The little blond guy below is called Jasy Jateré, and he is considered the lord of the siesta. According to one widespread version of the myth, Jasy Jateré leaves the forest and wanders the villages looking for children who are not napping during their siesta. He lures them towards him and according to Naty and Vivi (there are lots of different versions of what he does as this folklore is spread by word of mouth) he kisses them and leaves them mute.

Looks quite innocent, doesn´t he?!

This is an example of one of the ridiculously loud, rattly and colourful buses that transport you around Asunción. They only cost the equivalent of 30p! There are no actual bus stops, they just seem to stop wherever and pick up passengers wherever as well. We got one to the bus station and only figured out there was a bus stop because there seemed to be a group of people standing around the side of the road! Naty and Vivi were also telling us that a couple of years back people were going on the buses and stealing girls hair to sell! If you had a plait in your hair it was risky getting a bus because they`d just come along and cut your plait off!

Plaza de los Héroes

The Train Station - this is the first Train station in South America which took the Asunción-Encarnación route. It´s a pity it´s not still working as a real train station as we reckon tourists would love this kind of thing. It´s used as a venue for concerts and things now apparently.

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