Thursday, March 8, 2012

Not much shopping in Ciudad del Este

taken from bus seeing people walking along the bridge
Leaving the family in Joinville, we went to Ciudad del Este, Paraguay in the hope that we can buy a good backpack with bargain price for Maria, who had a hard time on the old backpack. With great help from Eduardo our Joinville host we went to the bus on time. We are so used to the long distance bus, of which the stuffy air-conditioning and moldy sofa scared us to cover from head to tail.

We were greeted by Mr Big Nose in the hotel
...also the attention-seeking boy
In Ciudad del Este we found an air-conditioned room with breakfast and wifi for just G150,000 (around HKD300) a night. Hoping to buy something cheap in return, also thinking about our next couchsurfer host Eduardo who would kindly take us to Asuncion and his way back, we took the room after other more expensive choices. The town was a really a shopping mall in South America. Many goods, especially clothing, were sold in bulk. Electronic products were sold much cheaper than in Brazil, but similar prices in Hong Kong (that means more expensive than in China or for any produce made in China). With that in mind, we were less attracted by that. We kept looking for outdoor gear shops, but mostly they were selling fishing gears. We bought a battery charger with rechargeable batteries costing US$7. We paid in credit card in Paraguay Guarani and got exchange in an unfavorable rate (USD1=G5000, while local money exchange shops only change G4300). We should have pay in US dollar cash as we had some. Paid by US dollar things did sell in good price there, so Maria bought face-washing cream (USD3.5), a good water-bottle (USD8) replacing a broken one. That’s it. It seems not a deserved trip to stay behind in this town not buying the backpack we want.

There were lots of packaging rubbish on the street when the shopping streets in the town were closing at around 4pm. It also became a nearly-dead quiet community when shops closed. People came from the border early in the day, did shopping and/or business and left on the same day. With a town like that, many people come to do business and shop and leave quickly, it is difficult to expect many people loving her and the local residents may have a hard time to do anything long-term to build the community. That makes me think about Hong Kong. While agriculture and possible industry can make locals live and build the city. Commerce, finance and tourism alien them from their own land. The more we are developing the latter aspect the more difficult to help us think long-term about the city, so do the government officials and politicians who are educated to do business but not to cultivate.

In the same evening we went to the restaurant of Hotel Austria next to us. It is one in German background, we went there for the “Munich” set that was so big with sausage, the yummy soar vegetable and the pork knuckle. We could not finish in one go but with a lunch box (Thanks to Carrie, a very good gift from Hong Kong to Buenos Aires) we took away for the lunch next day. The dinner was not expensive and costs only G130,000 (with chop beer).

The next day we went on finding any outdoor gear shops. Without success, we packed early and went to find Eduardo who left an address of his insurance company. The local taxi driver was a very nice and honest guy who made sure if we found the right place instead of dropping us on the street of nowhere to find the address. After a long wait when we sorted out our photos and blogs and he was working, we finally started the way to Asuncion at 7pm.

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