June 9, 2010
Monday was a nice day to travel. After a cold, wet weekend, everyone was a bit stir-crazy. The sun came out and the temperatures climbed up into the high 60's. I ignored the fact that it seemed the cold I'd been avoided had passed through the whole house and landed on me that morning, because we were ON THE ROAD! I love road trips!
We planned to pack a whole lot of activities in one day. First we wanted to cross into Argentina and show Hollie around the city of Posadas. (Okay, I must admit that there is a store there that sells Milky Way, and that came into play....) Then we planned to visit our friends, the Kurrle family, who live about 30 minutes from the border, and deliver some of the blankets they bought from Carapegua to give to needy families in their neighborhood. After that, we planned to see the Jesuit ruins that are about 15 minutes from the Kurrle home. A full day, and when you factor in the 3-4 hour drive one-way from our house to theirs, we were starting to think we might not fit it all in and be back before midnight.
So with lots of nose-blowing supplies and a bag of snacks, we made for the Argentinian border. We had a hard time convincing the Paraguayan side to let us leave, as they had lots of questions about Hollie's passport and Visa. Her papers were all in order, but we've heard they get sticky at the border and sometimes try to talk you into paying some sort of fine. We were finally allowed to exit Paraguay, after much convincing, and we crossed the long bridge over the Parana River.
On the other side of the bridge awaited the border patrol of Argentina. They checked over our paperwork, let us through the first stop, and then inspected our car. This is routine, and they do it to every car, so we weren't surprised. What happened next was a bit of a surprise, though. Keep in mind that in our car were Ken and Saul up front, Hollie, Camille, and I in the back, and Caroline crammed into the third row with all our cargo. So we were definitely a family on a family trip. HOWEVER, we looked a bit suspicious to the border man, who wanted to know why we had blankets. I told him the whole story, but he didn't believe me and got really ugly about it. I kept my smile and chatted it with him for a while, as he defused a little and began to believe our story, I think. He finally said we'd have to go back to Paraguay to leave the blankets because it seemed that we were merchants coming into their country to sell Paraguayan blankets. At least they didn't confiscate them, which does happen. By then, we'd already used up all the time we'd allotted for sightseeing in Posadas, Argentina.
So we whipped a U-turn, went back through customs and border patrol in Argentina AND Paraguay, explained to the Paraguay side why we were only there for less than an hour, and were on our way. We chalked that one up to God knowing what was best for us and tried not to be disappointed about the Milky Ways. ;)
What a treat to arrive about a half-hour later at the home of the Kurrle family, but I'll save that for another post. Check back soon!