Greetings from Ed and Edith,

Paraguay is the wild west of South

America with lots of cattle and

cowboys called Guncho's. As we

traveled toward Asuncion the climate

became a little less harsh and we

seen a lot less of the Chaco(covered

with trees) and more cleared land

and cattle. We did not see crops

like the Mennonites had around Filadefia

and Loma Plata. They really understand

dry land farming with very little

rain!! Asuncion is huge and quite

modern and it was 104 degrees so

it is a hot country during the summer. I

guess it cools down some in June,

July, and August(winter here). We decided to book

the bus north for Brazil for Bella Vista. We had to wait

about 4 hours. Much to our disgust

when the bus came they said it was

overbooked and we did not have seats.

What a company!!! Finally after

they let others on way after we

were there we just got on the bus

since we had tickets. Of course we

had to stand but fortunately a young

boy let Edith sit and he sat with

his Mom and another boy so they

were small and fit OK. I stood

from 8 pm until 4 am when we got up

north. Eastern Paraguay is much

wetter and much easier to make a

living and we found lots and lots

of nice towns. The land is gentle

rolling with some trees and pasture

but there is farming here. Once

we got up north we needed to get

on another bus to go to the border town

of Bella Vista. It was a real

pain during the problems as I can

not understand them. There Spanish

is horrible with so much accent and so fast

I just can not get it and they

could not understand me so it was

a mess!!! We did not know we needed

to go to the other bus but they

came and found us, apparently from

a list the bus company had. We had

bus trouble on the way and had to

stop about 5 times. Something was

rubbing underneath. We stayed with

the bus until it got to the bus station

which by that time only Edith and I and

a lady and two kids were left. The

bus station was a locked building

and no one was around. I knew right

then we were in for an adventure of the

highest caliber!!! I was not wrong!

Fortunately the lady and I could

communicate to some extent in Spanish

and she was on the phone working

on getting a taxi to come and get us!

I read the Lonely Planet some more

and realized I had chosen the wrong

border town and we should of went

to Ponta Pora and not Bella Vista although

in the end it really did not matter.

We got a taxi lined up and he took us

to the Paraguay aduana and of course

it was closed for the week end and

so was the Brazil entry. They all said

it is no big deal and for locals

it is not. It is a total open border

like I have never seen and people

just come and go and never bother

with immigration. We got to the bus

station and I must say it was decent

and the buses were the best we have

seen since we got to SA. We got a

ticket for Jardim where I thought

the lady and kids were going to stamp

into Brazil. Later I found she

was actually going to Ponta Pora

where we should of gone. We gave

the kids a couple of ball point pens

which the loved! She would of liked

on to but we were out. Anyway in hind

sight I should of tried to change

the ticket or just threw it away

and bought another for Ponta Pora.

In my defense it is a little disconcerting when

everything is in Portagese and suddenly

you need Portaguese money and you

don't know exactly where you are. In about

20 minutes we were headed to Jardim as

I was able to pay for it with a

credit card as he would not take

Paraguay money which was all I had!!!!

Well on the way to Jardim I collected my thoughts

and decided we would just turn around and go

to Ponta Pora and check out of

Paraguay in case we were on a computer

system. When we checked into Paraguay

they just took our passports and went into

a building so we did not know if

anything was entered into a computer

or not??? At Ponta Pora we could also

check into Brazil. Pretty weird given

at Jardim we were 100 miles into Brazil.

At Jardim we bought tickets for Ponta Pora

which were for 3 pm so we had about

3 hours. I walked down town(about 1 mile each way) and

figured out how to use a Portaguese ATM

and then came back and got Edith

at the bus station and we walked

about a block and there was a place

serving beef on a steel spit which

they cooked over a barbeque. The lady

owner could speak only Portaguese but

she wrote out the two things they

had and showed us what they were

by what others were eating. Fortunately

the number system in Portugese and

Spanish is the same. We had all

the beef we could eat, potatoes,

rice, beans, salsa and bottled water

for about $7.00 each.

We left on the bus and went back

to Bella Vista and then headed for

Ponta Pora and we though we were

there and had gotten our bag and the

bus lady saved us and told us to

get back on the bus. She heard

me talking to a taxi guy and realize

we were getting off way to soon. She

understood some Spanish!! WOW we

still had 20 miles to go. A lesson

learned even if you can not speak

the language try and write the name

of the town or show it in the guide

book if this is where we are using

sign language if need be.

Brazil is by far the best we have

seen for infa-structure, you can use

the credit card, lots of ATMS, most

of the food is safe and the buses

are wonderful with air conditioning

and the bus stations are nice. It

was really pleasant riding the bus

on the oil road and lookings at

the rolling land, belly deep grass

on the cattle and cattle every where

and some fields of soybeans.

It cost us some extra money for bus

tickets but it was a great experience. We

ended up in Ponta Pora which is

a border town and all the Brazil

people go across into Paraguay to

shop. I bought a couple of Kingston

zip drives cheap and I guess for

a reason as one didn't work at all

and the other gives errors.

We found out we could not get our Brazil

stamp until Monday morning so it did not hurt

anything going to the wrong border town

other than some extra bus ticket

money. It was worth it for the

country and culture we experienced!!!

The hotels in Brazil have fabulous

breakfasts with the room. The big

thing is cake!! There must of been

10 kinds of cake. These were the

best breakfasts in SA so far.

We got a taxi driver to take us to the

Paraguay aduana and then Brazil and

then our hotel and then the bus

station. He could speak Spanish

so we had a great time. We had

to go to Campo Grande which is the capital

of Mato Grosso Do Sul which raises

more soybeans then any other state

in Brazil. It was a wonderful bus

ride and we seen field after field

of soybeans. They have a huge planting

season here as there were beans

ready to combine and a few beans

just coming up and a lot that would

be like August in SD. We also seen

lots of sugar cane and pasture and

cattle and termite mounds. We seen

lots of farms with big grain handling

facilities. We seen one large sugar

cane processing plant and a large

soybean processing plant. We seen

a number of manufacturing places and

all kinds of outlets for farm machinery

and tractors! It appears to us that

things were more prosperous here

20 years ago than they are today. They

stores and super markets look like

they have the latest stuff!! On

a down note we seen some horrible

shacks where people who do labor

in the fields work. It looked like

terrible living conditions.

Campo Grande has the best bus station yet

and beats out Potosi in Bolivia. We will

headedhead across more of Mato Grosso

Do Sul for the Pantanal to a town called

Miranda! The Pantanal is a huge

wetlands area with the best wildlife viewing

in Brazil and is better than the Amazon.

It is about the size of France.

We had another great beef dinner/

barbeque on a steel spit that the

cook brought to the table and sliced

off beef until you could eat no

more. There was plenty of things

to got with it but we did not have

much besides beef. With a 1 liter

$7.00 each! We are getting along amazingly

well in communicating even with no

Portaguese. Bom is good and

Spanish words are the same in both


After the Pantanal report we are

headed for Iguazu Falls the biggest

in the world and then Uruguay.

Ed and Edith