The day after our trip to the majestic Iguazu Falls, it was time to cross back into Paraguay and show off the cozy little town we’ve been calling home for the past 8+ months. And while crossing the border back into Paraguay eventually proved to be possible, it wasn’t without some delays and four slapped wrists.
The good news is that although there was absolutely nothing stopping us from riding our bus straight out of Paraguay without a glance at the place where foreigners would need to show their passports and receive their exit stamp (perhaps our bus driver didn’t notice the four white people speaking English and carrying large backpacks who boarded his international bus), the woman in charge of letting us back into Paraguay noticed that this stamp was missing.
For that, we were impressed. But also disappointed because there wasn’t much we could do at that point to go back in time to get our exit stamp. Luckily, the woman made some calls, checked around on her computer and eventually must have felt satisfied in verbally slapping our wrists by her countless stern reminders that two stamps (not one) are needed. We kept our cool, explained that we understood, blamed it all on our bus driver, and thanked her profusely as we scurried out of the office and into Paraguay before she could change her mind in letting us enter.
Another lucky break was when our bus paused halfway to our site so the bus drivers could enjoy some lunch. Normally this annoys me (try as I might to hide it, in my efforts to be a culturally integrated volunteer) but this time it was perfect. The traditional Sunday lunch is a big asado – grilled meats, yucca, salad, and other traditional dishes. Since we were en route I didn’t think we’d be able to share this big meal with Jen and LaMont.
But instead we all four hopped off the bus, checked out the large grill lined with huge cuts of meat off the patio of someone’s yard, purchased four portions to go and chowed down as our bus bumped along the road toward Yuty.
Here’s a secret. Ever since I arrived in our site I imagined friends or family from back home visiting. So as I’d walk along on normal days I’d often think about what I’d point out or show off. Just when I had gotten used to herds of cows sleeping in the middle of the road, I’d smile thinking about showing that strange site to our visitors. It was amazing to have real, live visitors to finally do that to.
With Jen and LaMont we drank terere, snacked on guacamole with our Paraguayan friends, did some walking tours around town, took a bike ride, admired the setting sun and even had a chance to take them to the soup kitchen where the kids absolutely adored them.
I was beyond impressed at how Jen and LaMont both dove right in to playing frisbee and other games with the kids, chatting and answering all the questions the kids had for these interesting new visitors, serving the food and even helping clean up. The kids kept asking if they were going to live here and to this day someone will still ask about our friends, wondering where they are and saying they miss them. So to say they won the kids over is an understatement.
Dusty as you claimed your Spanish was, my friends, you were impressive and it was an honor hosting you in our town!