A truckload of strange encounters

Asuncion Travel Blog

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Modern shopping plaza (Asuncion; Paraguay)

Paraguay, a landlocked South American nation, of comparatively low profile must surely only really appear on the seasoned traveller's itinerary, and even then it most probably comes across as a piece of curiosity which gives rise to a discovery process of sorts. Background reading had set the scene, but then again, this is a nation like none other, as this alternative-style blog entry should hopefully go to prove. Let's just see if the highlights of Asuncion can explain and manifest themselves through the more inexplicable findings on the trip. Up first is recoleta cemetery, and yes, this is a bona fide tourist attraction, where nothing - repeat, nothing - is quite what it seems.

Wall art (Asuncion; Paraguay)
Whether or not you are familiar with any of the famous Paraguayans buried here ceases to matter, for this is an enclave of burial places consisting of miniature temples, churches, monuments, shrines with unusual displays, and an avenue system intertwined within which has a street naming system to boot (!) Walking further along Avenida Mariscal Lopez, you'll reach the neighbouring shopping plazas of Mariscal and Villa Morra, and what is probably best described as both a garage sale and car boot sales thrown into the midst of a 1st world shopping mall. So, by now, you're probably noticing a trend that some encounters here are more than meets the eye, so try these for size - An upturned, torched car parked 100 metres from the national police headquarters; a TV-evangelist style priest delivering an evening sermon to a spellbound audience, two shoppers freely wheeling supermarket trolleys around town with no supermarket in sight, a shop selling mannequins advertising their goods by way of displaying a nude female mannequin chained to a post outside the store.
Cathedral (Asuncion; Paraguay)
Is the message getting through at this stage? If not, please bear in mind that these encounters came in just a 36-hour time frame, in a seemingly unbroken stream. A spot of shopping was intended to divert from these quirks a-plenty, so it was off to Mercado Municipal 4, named market number 4 for reasons which I am not able to elaborate upon. Either way, a breeze through the maze-like warren of market stalls with a focus firmly upon the items for sale of personal interest, the appeal of the market is bound to manifest itself. If it is individual city sights which you seek, then be sure to drop by the city's 2 or 3 main squares (of which Plaza Uruguaya is one) and follow a trail which will lead you to the municipal theatre, cathedral, nearby court of law, and the cream of the city's buildings, the elegant Government palace, in all its waterside splendour.
Government Palace (Asuncion; Paraguay)
A few museums are dotted here and there, and the museum of the history of the railway is a pleasant enough spot to while away half an hour or so, admiring the diplays ranging from station office interior decor and machinery to rail carriages themselves representing a slice of Paraguayan rail history. As with a lot of cities off the general tourist radar, Asuncion is precisely what you make of it, so plotting a route is a vital pre-arrangement which will enable you to gain a more balanced view of Paraguayan lifestyle and environment. The down-to-earth nature of society coupled with the few random quirky sightings dotted here and there made me wonder if there was intended to be a correlation between the overall mentality of the society and the environment which it has created, but for entertainment factor alone, I'd confidently call this one a home win.

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Modern shopping plaza (Asuncion; P…
Modern shopping plaza (Asuncion; …
Wall art (Asuncion; Paraguay)
Wall art (Asuncion; Paraguay)
Cathedral (Asuncion; Paraguay)
Cathedral (Asuncion; Paraguay)
Government Palace (Asuncion; Parag…
Government Palace (Asuncion; Para…
photo by: Andy99