Santa Cruz (translated: Saint Kruse)

12 July

Did I mention my hotel room here has no blankets?  Lots of places in the far north didn’t – but that was where it was warm, and they provided a topsheet instead, which was enough.  Here – nothing.  And cold.  So – use my sleeping bag for the first time.  Turns out to be stupidly warm – just used as a blanket.  Get out from underneath it, and it’s freezing.  Anyway – today checked out museum.  Not too interesting.  But they had caught one of every creature in the area, and stuffed it.  Hundreds of birds, weird mammals, frogs, snakes, insects, etc.  Then – go to tourist office type place to ask about bus to Bolivia.  200 Guaranis.  Luckily, they also mention a bank next door (disguised as a non-bank), where I change all my seppo & brasilian currency.  Now have enough for the bus, and some extra.  As long as I can pay for hotel with Visa.

13 July

Get up early for my 6am bus.  Wait for bus, next to tourism-type shop.  About 7am, the lady who’d given me information arrives.  Looks confused at seeing me.  After a while, I figure out she meant 6pm last night.  Not 6am this morning.  Dumb.  But – she reckons there’s another one at 10am.  So – hang around, meet three seppo girls – give them some advice on the town.  Then, I sit at ‘bus-stop’.  (Side of road next to tourism shop & my ‘local’ ‘bar’.  Wait, and wait.  At noon I decide I’ve earnt some food and cerveza.  Chap talks to me, doesn’t like it when I don’t understand spanish very well.  I think he tells me I should leave Parguay ‘rapido’ in that case.  Lucky I didn’t say I didn’t understand drunk mumbling spanish very well.  But, after a while of him talking to others, I overhear “aleman”.  I jut in, and say I am NOT German.  Everybody becomes a lot friendlier.  I don’t think the local population is too happy with the german mennonites.  We talk about money, which I’m never too comfortable with.  In Uruguay, when I was forced to tell my annual wage in US$, the guy thought I was getting my zeros mixed up – thought I’d put two too many on the number.  I reassured him I was right, much later I realised I’d admitted to being a double-millionaire by his standards.  Here – I’m a half-billionaire.

Old man starts talking to me.  All friendly-like, a little creepy.  Says there’s definitely a bus at 4, and until then – he knows a cheaper place to drink.  So – we go.  He offers to take my small bag as we walk in the narrow doorway.  Fair enough.  Puts it down beside him, under the table opposite me.  I feel a little uneasy.  We chat.  I notice his hand under the table, obviously moving, as if itching his ankle.  Uneasiness grows.  He asks me to see the brasilian & uruguayan coins I’d shown some guys earlier.  Mistake on his part – as they’re in my small bag.  As soon as I make a move for it, he realises, and pulls it out for me.  In the process, I distinctly hear the zip being done back up.  Shit.  I get the coins out – put them on table for him to look at.  While he’s doing that, I check my stuff.  Obviously has been gone through.  Only thing missing I can identify is my Leatherman.  Not happy.  I ask him if he has something, about ‘this size’.  He reckons ‘no’.  I tell him goodbye, and storm out.  Soon regret it, and think I should have forced him to give me it back, but by now he (if smart) would have stashed the swag.  Go back to my local, get a cerveza, and fume.  One guy I’d talked to the last two days turns up, and we chat.  I don’t mention anything, but somehow have remembered the thief’s name.  Ask my friend about him – and he says he’s ‘no good’.  After a while, the thief sheepishly comes back, and sidles onto the bench seat next to me.  He’s holding one side of his face, and hands me back the Leatherman.  Tells me a Paraguayan hit him?  I’m a little confused, as I hadn’t told anybody.  Maybe the bargirl at the other bar had guessed what had happened?  Anyway – I get it back, and he asks for a beer.  Cheek deserves a beer, I guessed – so pour him half a glass, and tell him that’s the last one.  My more trustworthy friend, not knowing what has happened, cautions me to move all my bags away from the thief.  Later, the thief asks me for money as well.  No chance.  Tries the sympathy vote because he’s been hit.  For thieving from me.  Demonstrates by hitting me.  Very softly, but still – bad strategy.

Chat to some more locals, including a ladies man.  Getting a little antsy about the bus by this point, but my new amigos notice – and reassure me.  Eventually a bus arrives.  My amigos say it’s not my one, but I rush over to check.  It turns out it is.  So – hurried goodbyes, and I get on a bus where the aisle is too thin for me to carry my small backpack down.  Bus eventually gets to Mariscal E-something, the military settlement.  I get off near the edge of town – where I see a hotel sign.  Is now fairly late at night – so figure I’m going to have to catch the bus to Bolivia tomorrow.  Go to hotel, get a room.  Have to pay in advance – not usual.  Then – go to local bar.  Largest man I’ve ever seen in real life – large enough that I am genuinely surprised when he gets out of his seat to get me a burger/beer.  I actually expected him to ring a bell, and for somebody else to come out and do his bidding.  But, we watch some Jean Claude Van Damme together, and I discover that the only bus to Bolivia passes through at 3am each morning, and is 240 Guaranis.  I now have approximately 265 – luckily have already paid for burger/cerveza and hotel.  I go back to hotel, and hòpe I can wake up at 2am.  Am very very tired, but am stuck here for a full day with no money, and no way of getting money, if I don’t.

14 July

Hooray – managed to get up.  Leave my key in my door, in case I miss the bus and need more sleep.  Walk to the migration station, and arrive there just as a bus arrives.  Busman (guy not driving, but kind of sidekick) – very keen to get me onboard.  Sure.  250 Guaranis.  Hand him my pack, and he rushes me towards the queue for exit stamps.  Where there’s a dozen people in front of me, and I wait for some time in cold, making friends with the police dogs.  Get stamped out, then get on bus.  Very very little legroom.  Fall asleep for several hours, and then woken at 8am for the Bolivian migration checkpoint.  Awesome – Bolivia.  As soon as I get off the bus, it strikes me as being everything one expects and wants from South America.  Tiny village on a dirt road, wooden huts, roaming chickens and pigs, army base.  Get my entry form, and change my Guaranis into Bolivianos.  Buy an orange juice.  Fill out my form, then remember seeing a poster on the wall in the migration ’shack’ that looked to be a list of prices for various nationalities.  Lowest price was 15Bs, I now have 12.50.  And I can’t go back to Paraguay.  Dumb.  But, get to the front, a bit of delay when he can’t find my Paraguay exit stamp, and won’t let me find it for him – but doesn’t ask for money.  Sweet.  Back on bus, where I give my seat to the wife of an army guy, with two kids.  BusMan not happy, and insists I sit down – finds a seat for me further up the front.  Breakfast is served – biscuits and chocolate milk.  Any liquid is appreciated by now, dry biscuits are not.  But I force them down.  Several hours later – lunch is served.  A choice – the better of which (according to guy sitting opposite me, whose taste I respect after he booed the BusMan for putting Rambo II on the TV) – is the cold piece of chicken with a chunk of mandioca.  And a bottle of soft drink.  I eat as much of the food as I can before soft drink is gone.  Impossible to swallow without liquid to wash it down.

Eventually get to Santa Cruz, Bolivia.  Bolivia is cool.  On way in, drive past a grass airstrip.  Complete with abandoned fuselage of an aircraft.  Didn’t get close enough to see the bulletholes, but I assume they’re there.  The traces of the last shipment of cocaine is bound to be long gone though.  Bus doesn’t go to terminal, so I have no idea of where I am.  Except in a small walled compound with barbed wire.  BusMan is keen to get me a taxi (rather eager to please overall, the BusMan) – and does so.  Insists on an address – so I pick first hostel from guide book.  Get there, and hostel is full – so original plan of walking around looking for somewhere is not ruined after all.  Original plan turns out to be bad though – as next three hotels are all full also.  Find a restaurant, and order a jug of lemon juice, and food.  Lemon juice fills me up, so can’t finish my food.  Much food, for little money though.  I do manage to finish my cerveza.

Decide to head towards bus terminal.  There are several hostels there, and worst case – can get on the next bus to somewhere.  Pass one last hostel in central city – listed in the guidebook as being very popular, and bookings much recommended.  Not much hope – but they have room.  Sweet.  Joy fades as I walk into the courtyard, and hear very american accents.  Having a very seppo conversation.  Decide very quickly I won’t be joining in their conversation.  Ever.  Drop my stuff off, and leave to look for small local bar.  Can’t find one – end up settling for a bar in a shopping mall where some locals are playing backgammon.  Looks to be the best I can expect in the central city.  Back to hotel, and wait for seppo and canidiot in my dormroom to finish talking about seppo sports before I can go to sleep.  In my book-o-notes I actually wrote that the bus journey was 36 hours.  That’s how long this day has seemed.

15 July

Woken up by loud seppos having an early breakfast, just as I’d overheard them promise last night.  But – get back to sleep.  Other people in dorm slip out quietly.  Then, seppo below me gets up.  Turns on light, packs loudly and lengthily, and then leaves – leaving light on.  So I get up also – but too late to explain certain things to Uncle Sam.  I go for a walk.  Town is dead, as it is Sunday.  Another country where they still hold Sunday as a family day type deal.  The central plaza, however, is fairly busy.  And pretty cool.  Perfectly maintained gardens, trees, etc.  Most other south american plazas – more concrete.  Here – beautiful.  Still, of course, containing the statue of some fellow – almost always a military chap.  Apparently there are some sloths living in the trees here, but I don’t see any.  Don’t look too hard either though – rather hungry.  Eventually find a place for food.  Interpret one menu entry as being something-of-duck soup.  Very cheap.  Sweet – order that.  Get some soup and bread.  Has offal in it – I think I eat the heart, but can’t manage the kidney.  Seems to be far too large for duck-bits.  Still a little hungry, considering a sandwich or burger from a street stall.  Then – the second course arrives.  Menu item was actually the soup of the day, and then fried rice with shredded duck.  Far far too much for me to eat, for a little over NZ$2.  Sweet.

Back to the hostel.  See a toucan on the roof.  Sweet – take a photo.  Then, it flies down onto table in the courtyard.  Sweet – photo.  Then, jumps onto arm of chair.  Photo.  Then, it starts eating my shirt.  Okay – photo, then run away, as it has a very long beak, and dangerously close to the groin.  Then, it jumps onto ground, and chases me.  While I’m wearing jandals.  I think it got annoyed when I tried to give it a jandal to eat.  And has short-man syndrome.

Go for another walk.  Don’t get very far before a local asks me the time.  Then uses that as an opening for a chat.  I understand very little, but manage to bluff my way through.  Much talk about how cold it is.  He seems interested in how many layers of clothing I’m wearing.  I show him my Icebreaker is made of wool – so warm, and he grabs it to see what’s underneath.  Odd.  Then, after finding I’m from New Zealand, I think he starts talking about New Zealanders having large penises.  Odd.  Goes on and on about it.  Then, about nudist beaches, I think?  About being naked anyway – pretty sure I got that bit right.  And goes on about that.  And then a cycle of those two topics, with it being cold thrown in occasionally.  When he pauses for breath after a while, I use my perfect knowledge of how to say “I have to go now, goodbye” to great effect.  Find a cuban cafe, and order a bottle of wine.  Sit there for a while, reading the graffiti all over the walls.  Notice one piece on the ceiling.  A map of New Zealand with “New Zealand    Aotearoa    Viva la revolucion   Bro”.   Awesome.  Am most pleased.  Then I notice the date on it – only two days ago.  Sweet.

Back to hostel – and drink some yerba mate while watching the Copa America final.  Then, am forced into going to “Irish Pub” for dinner.  No Guinness.  But, order irish stew & a bottle of red wine, and watch cars driving around the plaza with brasilian flags.  Rather happy, and loud, brasilians.  Back to hostel, and drink some more mate.

Filadelfia – yep, that’s it’s name

Meant to get up on 09 July to watch OZ vs SA at the rugby thing.  Set my watch for 6am, when I thought it was on ESPN+.  But, changed my mind at 6am, funnily enough.  Found out later on that it actually ended at 6am – so good sleepyhead judgement.  Anyway – eventually got up.  Walked around town searching for my list of souvenirs I, at sometime, decided I would get from each country.  Also, asking in every sportswear store for a Paraguay national team rugby shirt.  Found an Adidas outlet store, with All Blacks stuff.  Lots of All Blacks stuff.  Posters of Lomu on the wall.  Staff wearing All Blacks.  Security, not part of uniform, wearing All Blacks scarves.  Customers, wearing All Blacks jackets, looking at All Blacks jerseys.  Later, in the update, I will flash my New Zealand badge around as much as possible in this shop, and buy an offical All Blacks jersey for NZ$55.

Walked towards shopping centre where shop assistant thought I might find Paraguay rugby jersey.  Stopped for internet.  Researched.  Shopping centre is actually many many miles away.  Paraguay rugby jersey made by a company called “Flash”, which as any computer nerd will know – makes it very difficult for internet searches.  Back to central city.  Very good steak to make up for my failure.  Finally manage to follow through with my idea of getting a plain piece of paper/card laminated, and buying a whiteboard pen – to use as a very portable whiteboard.  Ben knows how useful this is.  Imagine language difficulties, both parties raise their eyes to the heavens wishing they could write or draw something… and BANG!  Kruse produces a handy pocket-size whiteboard with appropriate marker.  Situation solved.   Later, in the update, I will have my invention stolen by a small child.   Not happy about that part – because you can’t imagine how difficult it is to convince a shop-worker that all you want is a plain piece of white paper laminated.

But – at this point I’m happy.  So, go back to my local Asuncion bar.  Meet some Chileans & Argys.  One Argy wearing a NZ Rugby shirt.  End up going back to this chap’s apartment, as he works here – the rest of the crowd are visiting him.  Lives 50 metres around the corner.  Cervezas.

10 July – leave my residencial.  Walk around town with full pack – and buy an official (and yes, I think it actually is official, although from an outlet store) All Blacks jersey for NZ$well – you already know.   Back to my ‘local’.  Guys I met up with last night turn up.  After I missed my date with their local friends.  One cerveza, then they leave, and I catch bus to long-distance bus terminal.  Then catch bus to Pozo Colorado.  Guide book describes it as a “small crossroads town”.  I get there in the late evening, and first impression is “two large service stations”.  But, have a quick cerveza to get my head right, and try to explore town.  Find a shed selling food.  Buy food.  Kruse very hungry.  Then cerveza, as an attempt to find out who works there and who doesn’t, and to ask where there is any accommodation in ‘town’.  The answer is “here’s your cerveza, there is no accommodation in town”.  Well, that was my understanding.  But then, he followed up with something that sounded like he didn’t understand what I was saying.  I thought hopefully.  Finished cerveza (if there’s no place to stay, I might as well be drunk – I thought) – and then returned to service station.  Seemed like a place where people wore uniforms, rather than a place with a dozen kids running around – and half of them seemingly running the joint, might give me better advice on where to stay.  But the lady there agreed.  Nowhere.  No beds to hire in Pozo Colorado.  Nada.  Night time now.  Not cool.  And cold.  So very very cold.  News article on the telly entitled “FRIO EXTREMO EN PARAGUAY!”  Frio means cold.  I spend night in service station / truck stop.   Sporadically sleeping, resting my head on the table using the bits of my scarf I can spare as a pillow.   Chatting to drunken truck driver once when I wake up at 1am.  I think he was trying to hint he could give me a ride.  I had impression from guidebook that I had to get my Paraguay exit stamp in my passport here.  And he had three empty (small) whiskey bottles on the table.  And was swaying when he stood up.  We chatted, and waved goodbye.

11 July – woke up several times more, until I woke up with many more customers in the truck stop.  The TV breakfast shows are all about the newspaper headlines.  People dying from the extreme cold.  Polilce picking up homeless people, to take them to jail, to protect them from the cold.  Good timing for me staying in a truck stop with no heating.  But… survived.  Went and asked a lawman about getting a migration exit stamp.  He reckons I can get one at the border.  My guide book reckons ‘nah’.  And also reckons that if it is right, and the copper is just bullshitting me, it’s a very long and dodgy trip back to rectify the situation.  Sweet.

Eventually paid my tab for spending about 14 hours in the service station.  Could have lied about everything from previous night – due to new crew, but I’m a nice guy.  I am.  Went to wait for bus.  At bus station.  Bus station is a very old, very broken-down bus – with tarpaulin forming a verandah.  Waited a long time.  On the bus – played the smiling game with a small girl.  Rather stricken by the strange blonde-haired man.

– side note.  Have now been mistaken for russian, finnish, and german.  Always, always for german in Paraguay.  To the point where I had actually taken down a note in my mind that “alèman” must be another word for “country”.  It was only this morning that I checked, and it means “german”.  And, Nathan please note especially, as I am constantly terrified that you may grow an uncontrollable crush on me…   all of these countries’ stereotypes have one thing in common, and it is not oranges.

But – am now in Filadelfia.
Half the population are german.  Half native indian Guarani.  Supposedly the hostility has died down between them, but I’m pretty sure I was hissed at by a group of Guaranis earlier.  Luckily, have made friends with some of the older ones rather quickly.  A bit of the old drinking will do that.  Turns out that to get to Bolivia, there is no direct bus from here.  Have to get a bus to some military town (some of you will know how well I get along with army types), at 5:30 am on Fridays or Mondays.  So… Kruse, turning up to a military town at 6:30 in the morning, with very little sleep, in a country with a rather paranoid military – which were, until only recently, in entire control of the country.  And on the border with their most recent war enemy.  Good idea.  Still, got to be done.  And – not entirely sure if there is actually going to be a bus from this military town (named after a war hero, including General, and four names), to Bolivia or not.  And when it rains, everything gets stuck.  In Colonia del Sacramento, the young English bloke asked me if I’d got “off the beaten track” at all.  I didn’t much like the hackneyed phrase, and especially didn’t like the fact that I had to say no.  But, when I started telling him some of the anecdotes, his eyes opened in awe, and I wondered if perhaps I had.  Or if he was just a young kid with a suitcase with wheels.  And now, I reckon he’d probably think I was TRAVEL GOD.  I, of course, know otherwise.  When there’s an american accent on your bus here, you’re not too far off the tourist path.

Babbling. Anyway… hopefully will upload photos soon.  Haven’t done so in a while, and I always get a little antsy about my camera when I haven’t backed up photos.  However, may not be able to access internet for a while.  Looking at map, and reading description – between here and Bolivia is rather hard terrain.  In fact, the “toughest rally IN THE WORLD”.  Or some such.  And I’ll be catching a bus across it.  A 1970’s Mercedes bus, most likely.


Well – I didn´t make it to Paraguay.  Not the day after last update, anyway.  Tried.  Didn´t succeed.  Will tell the story while listening to Ace Of Base.

05 July

Got up – sent a package home.  Some very very small souvenirs home.  A lucky few will get tiny souvenirs from my trips.  As small as they were, it was still a relief to get them out of the backpack.  Anyway – spent ages getting the postage thing sorted.  Cost me twice as much in postage as the value of the contents.  Had one last (I thought) brasilian churrascaria for lunch.  Then – convinced a very drunk man that I didn´t want him to give me a ride across the border, and that the bus was fine.  Took a long time.  Then – caught the bus.  Bus went to the border, and kept going.  We got on the bridge between Brasil & Paraguay, and I realised that this was another border where migration formalities aren´t so formal.  Got off the bus in Paraguay, walked back past Paraguay migration, across the bridge – and ´checked out´of Brasil.  Back across bridge to Paraguay migration.  Remembered, well – was reminded, that I need a visa.  Walked back, and re-entered Brasil.  According to my passport – for the fifth time.

So – back to Foz Do Iguacu.  Back to the hostel – where there was a pair of scandinavian girls giving each other back-rubs.  Ignored this.  Chose a different bed, and then walked up and down the street which was supposed to contain the Paraguayan consulate.  Didn´t see anything.  Was evening by now, so bought some dodgy DVDs off the street, and some beer, and returned to hostel.

06 July – asked hostel owner where the consulate was, and actually took notice of the number of the address in the guide book.  Her thoughts and the guide book matched.  Reality did not.  Asked dairy owner (who didn´t even flinch at my portuguese/spanish – sweet) – and he reckoned two blocks up, then two blocks to the right.  Not too sure how much to trust a brasilian with numbers – but he turned out to be nearly spot-on.  Girl at consulate gave me list of requirements.  Involving photocopies of tickets into and out of Paraguay.  Tried to convince her that seeing as I could, and would, walk across a bridge there – I didn´t have or need tickets.  Wasn´t convinced.  So – found photocopy place, copied my credit card, and two copies of the ´ticket´stub given to me by bus driver yesterday.  Quite pleased with my cheek, I was.  But – girl was not.  Tried to convince me to go buy a prepaid taxi chit from down the road, and when I hesitated for a while (just trying to confirm exactly what I needed), called somebody with a bit more initiative.  Who must have told her to chill out, and it was all good.  Then – waited for an hour or so, chatting to another consulate worker about the All Blacks.  And was then asked for US$50.  Had to be US$.  The seppos have got a lot to answer for.  So – left, went back to hostel, and got my backup funds which are US$.  Back to consulate.  Person who can stamp the visa to make it official is at lunch.  For two hours.  So I go to lunch.  Expensive seafood restaurant.  Order white wine and alligator stew.  Out of alligator, they reckon.  Dumb – I was looking forward to that.  Have boring crab stew instead.  Eventually, back to consulate, and get my passport with visa.  After a long day, I buy more dodgy DVDs, a bottle of wine, and some beers.  Spend evening utilising them, and chatting to the scandinavian girls (turn out to be danish), and a norwegian couple.

07 July – walk to bus station, and have a beer at street side stall.  Catch a bus, and this time get off before Brasil migration.  Get stamped out, and walk across bridge.  This time, Paraguay lets me in.  But, my visa – for which I had asked two weeks – seems to be ten days.  Oh well – it doesn´t sound like there´s much to do here anyway.  Except for enjoying the lack of tourists – due to lack of stuff to do.  To the point where, apparently, when I head north to Bolivia – my ´mere presence will arouse suspicion´from the military.  Sweet.

But – back from the future.  Ciudad Del Este… walked up from the border bridge, past continuous dodgy electronic stalls.  ´The Supermarket Of South America´, they reckon it´s called.  And seeing the huge lines of people on the Brasilian side waiting to go through customs with larg bags full of electronics, blankets, and everything else – yeah.  But, I´ve left my consumerism behind – so strolled past, stopping briefly to change my Reais into Guaranis off an old man sitting on the sidewalk.  Then – kept walking, until I found a small cafe/bar.  Stopped for a beer, and to check the guidebook, and figure out what I was actually going to do.  Discovered I´d been walking away from accommodation, and towards the bus station.  Using my normal method of decision making – I figured I might as well continue on this path.  So – kept walking, past a park with a statue of some Chinese president, as well as a chinese junk make of concrete in a dry pond.  Probably just as well the pond was dry, I guess.  Also, next to this park, a sports ground.  With a scrum machine.  And rugby posts.  I´m sure the young kids loitering there weren´t too sure as to why I would take a photo of an empty sportsfield.  Continued on, and found bus station, and took first hawkers offer of a bus to Asuncion.  I got a seat number (not the seat next to remarkably attractive girl which I originally took, (by the way – I took the seat before she was there) but another).  Then, after bus was full, people kept getting on board.  About a dozen people standing in the aisle for most of the 5 hour trip.  I think Paraguay is going to be a nice gentle introduction to such things before getting to Ecuador & Peru.  Got to Asuncion in the middle of a thunderstorm.  Paid the money for a taxi to a pousada, and then went out for food and beer.  Bad food, adequate beer.

08 July – Woken by more thunder.  Went for a walk… Asuncion supposed to be fairly nice just because of the parks and trees and such.  First park I find is filled with makeshift tents.  Protest or homeless, I´m not sure.  Walk on to Plaza Indepencia.  Home of the Pantheon de Los Heroes.  A monument towards heroes.  Outside – sure, nice.  Inside – pretty cool.  Big churchy bit, bit of a shame, but a pit in the middle with the coffins and urns of several Paraguayan historical figures – as well as two ´Unknown Soldiers´ – one a child I believe.  Also, heaps of plaques.  Either for or from heaps of people/groups.  Including the Lions Club of Leblon, Rio de Janeiro.  And the President of Taiwan.  Odd.  I happened to see the changing of the guard, which was rather simple and to the point.  Also – being a Sunday – they then held a church service inside.  I didn´t stick around.  However, being a Sunday, there was absolutely nothing else to do.  Everything closed.  These south americans still cling to that quaint old thing ´family values´- especially on Sundays.  Still raining rather heavily, so I found an open bar with red wine.  Then, checked out the Governers Mansion.  Apparently, at some point, the law was that anybody caught looking at it would be ´shot in the act´.  So I was a little worried when a soldier started yelling at me – but he just wanted me to get off the big bit of grass out the front.

Oh – and did I mention that the flag of Paraguay is slightly different on each side?  The only such national flag IN THE WORLD!  Also, by some reports, Paraguay is supposed to be the cheapest country IN THE WORLD!  And now, back across the road to one of the few bars open in town, to see if I´m too late to watch the end of Paraguay getting thrashed by Mexico.  If I ever lower myself enough to buy a soccer shirt – it´s going to be Paraguay.  I had actually decided on the bus to get one, then figured that rugby seems to be more popular here than I thought, and maybe I´ll spend tomorrow trying to get a Paraguayan national rugby team shirt.