88 Minutes in Paraguay
In September I was in Foz do Iguaçu, a small Brazilian city bordering Paraguay and Argentina, famous for its amazing waterfalls, The Iguaçu Falls (I’ll write a post about them in the future) and for being the “gate” to the thriving duty free
blackmarket in Paraguay.
That morning my Couchsurf friend woke me up asking if I’d like to go to Paraguay because he needed to buy a pair of headphones.
I obviously said yes bud did not expect to be there for 88 minutes, I’m not joking.
I looked at my watch and from the time we crossed the border to the time we were back in Brazil 88 minutes had passed.
This was the shortest time I have ever spent in a country and the reason why I went still baffles me.
We drove to the border and left the car at carwash to avoid paying for parking and crossed the border on foot.
We walked over a huge bridge, packed with people, it was crazy as it was a holiday in Brazil.
Half way across the bridge I decided I wanted a stamp on my passport. As we entered in Paraguay I went to the passport control, they knew exactly what I wanted, but they noticed I didn’t have an “exit” stamp from Brazil so they could not give me “enter” stamp.
So off we went without any visa or stamp, I was worried but apparently nobody cares and just like that, there it was “Welcome to Paraguay”.
My first impression was a bad, total disaster, it was chaos. So many people with huge bags, people shouting and offering stuff.
When the first salesperson approached me I was shocked but nothing compared to the second one. First guns and then cocaine.
Do I really look like I want that stuff?
I couldn’t believe they were selling guns and huge knives right next to the police “Welcome to Ciudad del Este”. I wanted to make sure the guns were real, but my friend asked me to just ignore them and to follow him which I was more than happy to do.
From what I gathered Brazilians flock to Ciudad del Este to buy cosmetics and technology items which are significantly cheaper than in Brazil.
Since we were there to buy things, I bought body lotion (my skin was asking for it) and my friend the headphones he needed.
$8 less in my pocket and 88 minutes later we were back in Brazil.
I’m still trying to process how ridiculous the trip was, but it was an adventure, one I would recommend if you are in the area and are looking for a bargain.