June 29, 2012
Crash, Bang, Boom
Things are a bit calmer here than when I wrote my last post, but we're not out of the water yet. There are still protests throughout the country--peaceful demonstrations so far, where folks group together and block half of the road while cheering and waving flags. We went through a couple of these roadblocks the other day, and it just makes for longer travel times and possible interviews with news reporters.
As far as the state of the country, that's pretty iffy. Most of our neighbors, as well as other countries around the world, have refused to recognize our new president, Federico Franco, saying that the process of his impeachment and removal was unconstitutional and against democracy. The rumor is that ex-President Lugo is setting up an alternate government, one that probably WILL be recognized by those nations I just mentioned. Where that leaves the Paraguayan people remains to be seen. The biggest worry I've heard is over Venezuela's promise to no longer sell us oil. Many are also worried about the border closings which began this week. Crossing the border sounds intimidating, but normally here, it's a bit like going from South Carolina to North Carolina, but stopping at the rest area that welcomes you at the line. Many people cross every day into Brazil and Argentina, to work, to go to school, to make purchases. So we'll see how this all plays out.
As for us personally, we're just a few days from our move to Encarnacion. We are packing the house up one box at a time, and we signed the rental agreement this week on the little house we'd been looking at.
We had a bit of unexpected and unwelcome excitement a couple of days ago coming back from my PT and Caroline's dentist appointments. It's never recommendable to drive in Asuncion during rush hour, but we got stuck in just that. I held my breath and closed my eyes for most of the ride while Ken bobbed to avoid the motorcycles that were passing us on both sides and weaving in and out of our lane. We made it through the worst of it--no small miracle--and then a few miles from home, an oncoming car decided not to turn fully on a 90 degree curve. Ken realized he was coming into our lane, but there wasn't time to get fully out of his way. He plowed into the side of us just behind the front tire, then scraped all the way down that side. And kept going.
As we watched him leave, we noted that the car behind us had to take the side of the road because the crazy driver kept heading straight toward him, even after hitting us. He appeared to be a bit intoxicated, based on how much swerving he was doing in the crowded traffic. Thank God that the ugly damage to our newly fixed car was the worst of it. We've pretty much decided that it's not worth it to have the insurance we pay for monthly, fix it. I think the last time they did that it ended up costing us more than if we'd just skipped over them and paid for it ourselves. Ugh.
On a positive note, we plan to move to Encarnacion Monday, and the traffic there is much calmer. There aren't nearly as many city buses, and the folks are just nicer on the road. We don't hear the constant horn honking of Asuncion, nor have to slam on brakes as motorcycles fight us for our spot. To say I'm looking forward to that is an understatement. Encarnacion, here we come!