Thursday, July 26, 2018

Paraguayan Arribada

This summer I was afforded one of the most memorable trips I have had thus far, a trip to Paraguay. While this Earth Expedition trip was not my first choice originally,  things in life changed and so did my trip. It's funny, for the past 3 years in the Project Dragonfly Program, I had been planning on going to Guyana. However, a change in careers lead to a change in schedule which lead to a change in locations.  I could not have been more grateful though. I have always felt you end up on the Earth Expedition that is just right for you and this trip to Paraguay really showed me that.

It all began with the instructors for the course, Jamie and Joshua. They happened to have been my instructors for my first course and it was nice to see we were going to have the opportunity to reconnect for my last trip. Additionally, the readings for the course really aligned with the goals of the school that I am teaching at, so I felt a really strong connection.

The trip doesn't exist unless,
 there is a photo out of the plane window 
Leading up to the trip,  I have to say I was nervous! This was the first place that I had traveled to in which there was nearly no tourist information and I knew nobody personally that had been there. So I really had no idea what to expect, which gave me a little bit of butterflies in the stomach feeling.

The Arribada (Arrival)
First off, I was amazed that the trip to Paraguay was going to take the same amount of time as my flight to Kenya, the year before. After the nearly 24 hours of traveling, I finally arrived in Asuncion with a classmate, Lisa,  I met in the Sao Paulo airport. The trip through customs was no problem, however I was a little intrigued as I watched everyone just line up for customs and skip the visa line. I asked the immigration officer whether I needed to get a Visa and he verified that I needed to.  Apparently, Paraguay only requires Visas for citizens of countries that require Paraguayans to obtain a Visa to visit. I thought this was an interesting policy.

Portal del Sol 
Lisa and I arrived at our hotel, Portal del Sol. It was a cute hotel with a little courtyard and a pool and large trees in the center. It really reminded me of the Chocolate Hotel in Nicaragua. That evening, a group of about 8 of us walked to the mall. I was expecting to see a strip-mall or something. However, as we walked down the cobble stone streets to the Galleria, I was amazed. The mall was huge, beautiful and very new. Seeing this really changed my exceptions for what was coming next.

Instant coffee by the pool
Unlike my experiences in Central America
Paraguay does not have great coffee.

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