When Isaiah told me he needed to travel out of town this past weekend for a meeting for the JEP business camp that is coming right up, I began scheming a trip to Encarnación to meet up with some gals from our training group to watch our beautiful friend, Aleks, dance in the huge and popular Carnaval hosted by Encarnación each year!
Encarn is just a 3ish hour bus ride from Yuty so Nalena, who had traveled to me from her site of Villarrica, and I arrived in the third largest city in Paraguay in perfect timing to meet up with Aleks, Sara, Sarah, and Kelly who were on their way to a local ice cream shop.
After licking up my bowl of smooth ice cream and crunchy toppings, we all headed out to one of the beaches in Encarn, a city surrounded by water. You could look across the Río Paraná and see Posadas, Argentina on the other side.
Although the summer here in Paraguay has been sweltering most of the times, lately we’ve enjoyed a break on the pressing heat so as the sun set over the river the air became cool and fresh, a feeling we had all but forgotten.
Fast forward through seeing Aleks’ abode and grabbing a tasty dinner to around midnight when we headed to the main event: Carnaval.
It’s quite normal for parties and festivals to start very late in Paraguay but listening to the live music from passing floats and seeing the magnificent costumes all the dancers (including our very own Aleks!) wore as they danced away in choreographed synchronization kept us alert and awake.
Oh, not to mention all the espuma (foam) being sprayed around by audience members everywhere. All part of the tradition and fun that is Carnaval!
When the dancing parade was over, Nalena and I made our way to the bus terminal to catch the 5am bus back to our own towns. I arrived back to the house a few hours later to find Isaiah, who the day prior had headed off to the wrong JEP leader’s house therefore missing the meeting so returning home with his proverbial tail between his legs. He wasn’t sure spending money just for the thrill of a lumpy, bumpy 6 hours on a bus was quite what he had in mind for his Saturday, but así es, such is life. An adventure in its own way!