2013-11-22_Paraguay
The Paraguayan day
Woke up after 9am, breakfast; on the contrary to my Uruguayan memories, the Paraguayan breakfast includes dulce de leche too - but one can still find butter as well, hooray.
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These many months later I cannot recall the needs for Paraguayan Guaraní when every place accepted the Argentine pesos (by my memories) but probably because of the on the fly improvised rates we wanted to get some local money. And we had time, so got the explanation on the bus terminal that many blocks farther we can find a shopping center, there's an ATM machine. Walk, city visit.
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The ATM was well hidden next to the S6 shopping mall; my card obviously wasn't accepted as it's Argentine but 110,000PYG feast in our hands, goes into the wallet.

If the gentleman looks familiar, Roque González de Santa Cruz it's not a mistake: he already appeared yesterday in the story of San Ignacio Miní.
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La mujer paraguaya - The Paraguayan Woman.
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We returned to the bus terminal then and with luck the bus departed in 10 minutes.

The hygiene of the bus left many questions unanswered but there are some good news: a French man heard our foreign words so we'll split the expenses of the later moto taxi.
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Santísima Trinidad del Paraná
The Encarnación-Trinidad ride takes approximately 40-60 minutes, it's worth to mention to speak with the ticket inspector because without active GPS you might stay on the bus.

The entrance fee costs 25,000PYG per head, is valid for 3 days and can be used to enter the Jesús de Tavarangüe too. You can get to Jesús by two meaning of transport: you already have a rented car or locally there's a mototaxi/moto-tricycle: 4 relatively average sized man can fit and the return ticket takes out 60,000PYG - but since we had the Frenchman there, it's only 20,000PYG per kopf.
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The Wikipedia page for starter and before walking around you'll see an about 15 minutes video in a shady room about the history of the location and the region.

The Jesuit mission - for the sake of easiness, let's call it only as Trinidad - was established in 1706 by Juan Bautista Primoli's lead and it's one of the last built missions; thus remains among the best preserved ones. You can find 30 other missions in the region, but the iron teeth of Time wasn't that gentle with those.

The below panorama was shot at the entrance: the buildings with arches were the dwellings for the natives. In the distance you can see the Main church.

Santísima Trinidad del Paraná and the next Jesús de Tavarangüe Jesuit memories too belong to the World Heritage.

panorama01
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The bell tower.
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The southwestern wall of the original, smaller church.
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Walk toward the Main church - and hearty congratulation toward the dumb vandals.
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After the Jesuits left, neither the Time, or slavers or other native tribes spared the ruins in the current Paraguay: for example in the hope of finding gold, everything was ransacked and if they hadn't found anything, still demolished the buildings and beheaded the statues.
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The pulpit.
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The underground grave below the church.
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Not much internal height. - murmured the Viking warrior with the sack of gold on his shoulder.
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panorama02
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Jesús de Tavarangüe
Wobbled with the mototaxi, would be a bit far by foot.
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The rural architecture of Northeastern Argentina.
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Tavarangüe in its heyday.
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Again in Encarnación
After we strolled through the ruins, the mototaxi took us back to Trinidad. There were some slight surprise when we picked up an extra passenger - thus you might start to think if the return ticket costs 60,000PYG for 3 persons, then who will pay the ride of the extra person? The story was even stirred with a refueling as the driver didn't have money, he planned to pay it with the money we give him; so we'll pay the fuel. Finally we gave him 50,000PYG.

The bus arrived in 5 minutes and while we were jolting toward Encarnación (14,000PYG for each) the thought emerged to figure out the hard facts: exactly how much did the mototaxi ride cost with 3 + quarter split + refueling, but the answer arrived summarily: 60,000PYG was about 14,11USD and out of this we paid 50,000PYG what's 11.75USD and split by 3 it's 3.91USD. Making this even lower, wouldn't make too much sense. The Argentine cashier was more annoying than if we calculate that the mototaxi driver took 1-2USD for his advantage. At least he worked for his money.

Short walk in Encarnación.
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Then a lunch, 50,000PYG for a pizza. Vicio's again because the 5pm for Paraguayans too is like the 8am: nothing else is opened yet.
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Agustín Pío Barrios, Guaraní-Paraguayan classical guitarist (1885-1944).
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Returned to the hostel, picked up the backpacks, strolled to the bus terminal and after paying 10 Argentine mangos we were on the road again to Posadas.
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The Paraguayan border
Those who read the entry to Paraguay can exactly foresee the sequel of the story - what we realized only step by step among the adrenaline cloud. The bus slowly reached the border, a customs guard with an indifferent look got on, checked the DNIs or its Paraguayan equivalent: CIC, Cédula de Identidad Civil.

What happened with the two world travellers? The man took the passports, flipped some of the pages and without any words put them into his pocket. What do the two world travellers assume in such situations? He'll take the documents to his colleague who will stamp into it. Yet, forming feelings afterward is hard but an unconcerned, bored face isn't quite reassuring, especially if the mouth stays closed too.

The man didn't say a word and left the bus, so the feelings of the deepmost subconscious recommended in 30 seconds to do the same. It was a good idea. He already disappeared and very soon the bus closed the doors with a loud bang and hasted away. Wow. It's still better to stuck on the Paraguayan border having the passports in the line of view, than on the other side of the bridge at the Argentine side get into even bigger troubles. Is it not?

We walked forward to the box of the customs officers, a woman sat behind the window, next to her right arms a heap of CIC cards, a bit farther we can see two little velvet books with golden ÚTLEVÉL label. The female customs officer leisurely and one by one wrote the CIC numbers onto a paper. Later Mariann knocked the window and explained the situation (fluent Spanish is better). The officer some time later told us she won't give back the passports because it doesn't have the stamps of the entrance: we are staying illegally in the country. Consternation. She closed the window and turned again toward the CIC cards.

Knocked the window again, she opened it now only for a few inches and with a dramatic act of hands she put the passports farther away - like any of us would try to snatch them with a terrorist attack then ran away. We explained the yesterday evening. No response, only the friction of the CIC cards can be heard. We started to explain the events of the last evening for the third time.

The officer with elevated voice (stupid tourists, whose passports were impounded without any explanation - annoyed and disturbed the work) and in a lardy and rheumy style gave a lecture that we were idiots, we deserve it. Among others This isn't Europe my little friends, additionally you must watch the signs here, why didn't you do it yesterday? She closed the window again and grabbed some CIC cards. Dumbfounded.
She was right. World travellers must know the entry and exit procedures of the world's countries. Yet there's theory and reality - last evening the reality couldn't exactly work in the usual South American chaos. After 9pm, who knows when the next bus arrives, with luggage, with pushing crowd of people + the empty customs officer buildings can twist the mind of the world traveller.
Alright, this cannot be questioned we don't have entry stamp for Paraguay, even if we wanted we couldn't change this. What can be done? We knocked the window again to besokind and help us with the information. A minute goes by again, she opened the window again for a few inches. Lackadaisical words were thrown at us, you have to go to the opposite building and pay a fine.

Okay, we walked there, meanwhile the officer from the bus was wandering around too with a still so neutral face that the transaction must be prepared. We were assured by the paper as well on the window: the fine costs 193,000PYG per person (about 45.35USD that time). Surely we weren't the first and be the last ones. There's one glitch, after a one-time visit you quite likely won't keep local money with yourself, we couldn't liberate even one passport of ours held as a prisoner - we had about 30,000PYG - especially not three hundred eighty-six thousand Paraguayan mangos.

A male officer handled the situation there. I told him our little sad story. He started to think for a while, then meaningfully came out from the room to personally treat the situation. On the first run he delivered his system of reasoning: If you kill someone but you don't know that you'll go to prison for that, then being unaware of the law won't clear your punishment. Super. I thought: My friend, you have brilliant examples., I said: A murder is a bit of different thing. He accepted my implicit premise. I exhaled the air.

A few seconds passed by - that awkward silence when one changes the weight of the body from one leg to the another: we really don't have this amount of Guaraní. Is-there-any-possibility? Obviously the fine cannot be paid by credit or debit card. Do you have dollars? Ohh... unfortunately not (really). Euro? Neither (really). Argentine peso? We have that (no man has ever been that happy to own Argentine mangos). Alright, then It'll be 400ARS.
What means 200 pesos for each, although the exact numbers vary: my notes say we paid 200 pesos each but 400 pesos per head memories have been recalled too. Since I remember that I took out more than 2 notes from my wallet, I favour 400 pesos because women are always right. :)
We put the money together, I gave it to the officer, he counted it and the parcel disappeared. Listo. One must try out everything in a lifetime. Then he went to the previous female officer, they spoke something for some minutes. We didn't hear the conversation but she really must had a bad day, based on her expressions we couldn't figure out if even now she really gives the passports to the man or what else may happen. Happiness in disguise, with peevish lips but she handled the passports to the man, who rotated the stamp one day back, then to the current day so we received the entry and exit stamps.

Posthumously in the story, only the attitude of the female officer was out of understanding. Maybe she really had a very frustrating day, maybe she wanted to stress us this way, to highlight the serious nature of the situation and ease our wallets, or simply would have been satisfied if we had stuck at the border, not to mention taking into custody as highly dangerous invaders. The mystique of the human soul.

Some adrenaline still worked for some time but with the passports we walked to the stop of the transfer bus, which arrived in 10 minutes and we continued our path toward Argentina. I won't write down the events on the Argentine side, because everybody knows them.

Traveller philanthropy
If you go to Paraguay from Posadas by bus: try to schedule the trespassing not in the late afternoon or the night. Crossing the border looks that you get off from the bus at the Argentine side, go to the building to get the exit stamp. If the bus leaves, then wait the next one, your ticket is valid for that too. With the bus you go to the Paraguayan side, get off, search and request a Paraguayan border officer to expressly stamp the entry into your passport. With the next transfer bus you get into Encarnación. The strategy is the same on the way back.
The accommodation in Posadas
So, again Argentine dust came to rest on our boots, we arrived to Posadas, strolled to the hostel (http://www.hostelposadasmisiones.com), threw down the luggage.

Likewise to Encarnación, we met an interesting guy here as well: a Brazilian guy who lived already for 6 months(!) in the hostel. He didn't deliver his exact motives but wrote some sociology-statistics book and will stay for 5 more years.

Adela and Celsa Speratti, Paraguayan teachers (1865-1902, 1868-1938). Allegedly the right lady isn't Celsa Speratti but her daughter can be seen.
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José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia, Paraguayan lawyer, politician and one of the first leaders of the country following the departure from the Spanish Empire.
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The evening walk
The sculpture of The Mate Drinking Terminator (I only improvised but it's possible this is the real name).
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The City Hall. More words come tomorrow, it's too late for now.
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About the church too.
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Strolling and a dinner
The downtown really wakes up by nighttime - the best is the screaming and running up and down children in the playhouse, then came a slight empanada dinner and that kinda drink the what's called jorum wine punch with fruits or what.
The rise and fall of the Jesuits
The services of the Jesuits in South America started in 1609 and ended 168 years later in 1767. What was the reason? The Jesuit missions have numerous resemblances to the history of the medieval Knights Templars: their power, privileges, independence and at last but not least their wealth poked many jealous eyes.

The stepping is different but the same applied to the Jesuits. They enjoyed tax-exemption, the European authorities didn't have direct political, religious and military power over them, they were self-sustaining thousands kilometers away in the jungle, because of the battles against the Portuguese Brazilian slavers they had weapons, ten thousands of natives were under their hands and indirect authority, and although their revenues didn't match the prosperity of the Templars, their income from the stock-farming, agriculture, handmade products were significant.

The earthly royal authorities, especially Portugal, France, Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and at some point neither the motherland Spanish Empire liked this autarkic and beyond control rival organization. By the second half of the 18. century the Jesuits weren't seen as the mundane servants of God but troublemakers who effed with political matters, gathered the financial matters into their own sail, who furthermore wanted to fortify their own and the papal power.

By 1767 the Jesuits were completely crippled, expelled from Spain and from its European and oversea territories: the final thrust arrived on 21st of July 1773. The monarchist lobby threatened Pope Clement XIV. with leaving the Church, so he was forced to promulgate the Dominus ac Redemptor papal brief what suppressed the Society of Jesus.

The order regained their rights and existence in 1814 when Pope Pius VII issued the Sollicitudo omnium ecclesiarum (The care of all Churches) papal bull but the by that time different layout of the world didn't give the chance to flourish the South American missions again.

Jesuits and the natives
The colonization of the Americas postulates various ethical and moral questions and is going to remain as a subject of disputes forever. Maybe the Jesuits-Natives relationship wasn't always idealized and bidirectional under the surface, but that viewpoint may reach the closest to the objectivity which says although nobody asked the Tupi-Guaraní and other natives in lesser numbers about if they want the European awe, if they want to go to a mass on each Sunday or pay taxes - yet one could put next to the Jesuits that they didn't reach their goals by weapons and ammunition but communication. They took the time and energy to get to know the Guaraní culture, their language and every day, thus although the big picture still pertains to the meaning of colonization but this can be considered as a probably more acceptable solution than a blade into the kidney. Further the literate Jesuits with the sciences of Europe aided the life of the missions and the natives, not forgetting they domesticated the yerba mate.

One neither can forget other aspects, for example the organized settlements of the missions, the knowledge about using advanced weapons and firearms gave and taught certain level of self-defense against the slaver bandeirantes, which continuously threatened the missions; they had to flee multiple times and rebuild their settlements from zero again. For these dry land pirates the existence of the missions was unfortunately lucky: it was easier for them to manacle the natives in one place than running after them through the bushy jungle. The most favourite timing was Sunday morning when everyone gathered for the mass, so the slavers without any serious work could take the capable natives to the flesh markets of São Paulo, the rest were butchered.

The Guaraní War
On the 13th January 1750 the Treaty of Madrid between the Portuguese and Spanish restructured the borders of the South American territories: the eastern part from the Uruguay River was given to the Portuguese, the rest to the Spaniards: the natives were chopped like the Berlin Wall used to split West and East Berlin. There were 7 missions in those days in the region but under the treaty they were ordered to close or forced to go to else. To compensate the loss, Spain offered 4,000 peso severance payment or 1 peso for each native after the 30,000 natives in the 7 missions - while the cultivated lands, the cattle and the buildings had the value around 7-16 million pesos of that time.

In 1754 the Jesuits handed over and left the missions but the chieftain Sepé Tiaraju's leadership the Guaraní showed resistance, saying if you habituated us for hundreds of years into the settlements, then thank you very much but we won't return to the jungle or anywhere else. That's how the Guaraní War broke out.

Still in the same year smaller Portuguese-Spanish forces tried to shoo the natives away but their attempts weren't successful. So in the February of 1756 3,000 heavily armed Portuguese and Spanish soldiers returned and attacked the missions. It would be a false impression to call it as a war, on the European side 4 people died, the Guaraní lost 1511 persons. After the slaughter the groups occupied the seven missions and this story inspired about 200 years later C. J. McNaspy Jesuit priest to write and publish the Lost Cities of Paraguay book in 1982 what later became one of the most important sources for The Mission movie.
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