22.02.2007 - 27.02.2007 39 °C
Ciudad del Este is a noisy, dirty and very busy city on the border with Brazil. Apparently, it is a paradise for buying cheap perfumes, electronica, alcohol etc. I remember I was witing for the bus more than I was exploring the city as people do not seem to be very prepared to help you out on finding the right bus stop, well, maybe they just do not know from where the bus to Argentina goes.
Anyway, the Itaipú hydroelectric power plant, with the Panama Canal and others one of the seven wonders of the modern world and by far the world's biggest in its sort, is something worth visiting from Ciudad del Este. It was constructed on the Paraná River where Brasil borders with Paraguay. To give a bit of an idea, the amount of iron used in the project is enough to build 380 Eiffel Towers and the volume of concreet used in Itaipú is fifteen times more than the amount used in the Chunnel between France and the U.K.! The plant produces about 90% of all Paraguayan electricity and some 25% of Brasil's. After an introduction movie free bus-tours around and on the dam are offered with a visit to the powerhouse. It is all very impressive, though, in my opinion, a bit short. I could have spent much more time there.
Asunción was not what I had expected. With its 1.3 million inhabitants it is more or less the same size as Montevideo, but compared to Montevideo it is almost dead. There was very few people in the streets and in bars, restaurants etc., although it was weekend when I was there. There is no hostels in Asunción but very cheap hotels and there is hardly any tourists. Moreover it is too warm. There are a few nice buildings and squares to visit, but that is about it. On Sunday, I walked six kilometres in the baking heat to the Botanical Garden which was quite nice but nothing special. There is a little zoo there as well, with two lions, a hippo and an elephant, not quite like the zoo in Antwerp! After 22 hours of bus, I was happy to arrive in the cool Montevideo! Next time in Paraguay, I will visit its nationals parks but they are very difficult to reach at times and you need a permision to pay them a visit.