At the end, this post has bloody images, unsuitable when you’re having your lunch synchronous with reading this post. But when you’re a carnivore, I urge you to watch them.
The farm had slaughtered a cow as she was having a tumor of some sort. She was released relatively painless.
About a year ago: so, an Austrian guy wandering alone in the bush got lost, now my husband Geo wants to explore the bush a little bit too, on his own. I stay behind in case he needs my voice as a beacon. Geo takes a ‘sport tracker’ with him, yet disoriented by vanishing of paths makes him come back two hours later. I enjoyed campfires and embroidery but get highly irritated by the moist-suckling bees, the stifling heat, the lack of decent food and the hovering negativity of perhaps curses or spirits from the nomadic Ayoreo’s, or Willy’s spirit?
Finally I am in a National Park without fences, I still feel no pleasure. I wanted to climb the hill but I’m lethargic, want to get away, quench my dehydration with a bottle of nicely sugared Coca Cola and have a plate of meat.
We are invited to spend the night at the national park headquarters, where we can wash the caked layer from our wearily, bruised bodies before we’re invited for a very late dinner. This is normal behavior for Paraguay but not so logic when we find out that the national board of tourism needs to promote its national parks, trying to generate an income.
We made our beds in the head quarters until a new batch of rescue military men, in search for Austrian Willy, comes to take it up. Geo and I move to a far end of the camp with our tent and hammock.
Over the years we have been told to eat vegetables and fruit and drink milk to strengthen our bones, I wonder how much this is true? People out here do not always look healthy, many are out of shape, the harshness of the sun and dryness shows signs of tired skins. Often teeth are rotten. Nearly every man has a pouch and almost each Indian is heavily over-weighted, besides having strong declining gums, like me. But quite a few seem to be healthy anyway…
When we meet with Carlos sitting on his porch, having the Bible in front of him, a cat as sole companion I notice his bronzed color, white flashing teeth, shiny hair and lean body. He states eating wild animals supply many of the necessities a body needs, including trees which provide.
It strongly dawns on us how we do not know much, if anything, about staying fit and healthy in a natural surrounding. Of course we lack all knowledge such as the ‘wild’ Ayoreo’s have, who materialize natural pastilles to place under their tongue to keep their mouth moist, who don’t wear clothes nor use a machete. The nomadic Ayoreo’s live as wild tribes in sink with nature and bereft about so-called luxuries they will never know the existence of.
We, white men, whether I want it or not, am not even coming close to be as a Chaco Paraguayan. When the rain falls, a week earlier than predicted, we know we can not move.
Yet we have to move since we have an airplane to catch. Where the truck drivers stop their vehicles and wait until the rain stops, until the mud dries up, until the clay stop sliding their worn out tires, then they move on. Truck drivers start to make yerba mate now the cold has set in, they start cooking, laughing, napping in a hammock under their chassis. They simply carry on with life on the mud tracks, never getting dirty, the soles of their shoes not layered by clay.
In contrast, we keep moving, with quick manners, lacking the traquilidad innate to Paraguayans.
I start walking, because I prefer to stay upright instead of being unexpectedly draped over the motorbike, counting the adding of upcoming bruises. Geo drives careful, experienced and slow yet the mud is unpredictable. Without an extra 53 kilograms (me), clogging of the wheels is slightly delayed. This gives Geo 3 minutes of plowing through the mud until he has to unclog it all with a kitchen spoon. Sometimes truck drivers assist Geo. I walk happily on…
A man in a pick up truck passes Geo, than me, and speaks: ‘This is impossible what you two are doing, get a lift, this way it’ll bring you no where!’ Before I sputter, he continues: ‘I’ll ask that man there whether he can take you,’ and within a few moments Alvino assist Geo in lifting up the Kenton to the back of the pick-up truck. And off we are.
For 150 kilometer we are now in the unruffled hands of an utmost calm peon, the foreman of a mega-multi hectare estancia. That his pick-up comes to a standstill due to a broken driveshaft is no reason for one wrinkle on his forehead. One of the young laborers of another estancia, who’s getting a lift too, fix it, with strips of inner tube (the most used multi functional sort of duct tape/elastic cord of Paraguay).
Two video’s how it looks like for a truck to be stuck in the mud.
He passes our farm Iparoma, and after hours in the back of the pick-up we are back. In the cold, though thankful, for the little red house is exclusively reserved for the two of us. But we both prefer not staying here anymore, we lack privacy, it is bitterly cold in the night-time now winter has set in…
‘They just come and go, when ever they feel like,’ is someone’s quiet comment, answered with ‘but this is their home, they can come and go when ever they like.’ Once my days at Iparoma where of a calm, resting fleet of sitting back, watching the fire, pulling dreads through cotton, combined with a lot of over-thinking. I would work my 5 hours 5 days a week and run off to my little private house in the bush.
I can only handle so much socializing and I can only be a friend if it is not based on a daily base. With Geo coming into my life the void for new friendships and extra socializing is filled, as well as kissing of goats became needless. Mio, the tiny macho deer, has already left the stage after his knife sharp horns were burned off.
Introvert, high sensitive, conditioned, what ever word I can paste to it, I start to avoid a kitchen full of a big mess, of never-ending dish washing and cleaning, of people, an energetic child, clatter and high-pitched sounds.
It turns out, reading the Bible, that what I feel and want is not that weird or too much asked for. Deuteronomy 24:5 ‘When a man takes a bride, he must not go out with the army or be liable for any duty. He is free to stay at home for one year, so that he can bring joy to the wife he has married.’
In 3 days I need to be ready to take off, pack my bicycle, bundle my 30 kilo gear, besides wanting to get my much-needed reflection time. It seems the farm has suited its purpose. I did not expect it to turn out like it has, yet this unforeseen happening is very welcome.
When I was on the farm, over-thinking what to do, I came to a conclusion and it did not contain the bicycle anymore. It felt as if the bicycle had become so integrated, yet it took all the time a day contains, that I found it hard to do anything besides getting from one camp spot to the next. I was still shaping my new plans when Geo entered the stage, and they were inspired on Barbel her way of living. I was thinking of traveling from farm to farm by a little motor vehicle, with enough racks to store my camping gear. The outdoor life I love, the cycling part is over!
In doing what I desire, though it may seem that I have hardships, they are merely self chosen adventures, it sometimes feels as if I have no goal. Cycling from A to Z is not a goal to me. Without a job there’s no need to work towards a yearly holiday. Without ever wanting to have a child, the inner desire to bring up your own offspring, thus a long episode of commitment, is not existent. To life live with content, without getting stuck, daring to change, to find, to search further, to see, to try, to enjoy all that is in between this, and to succeed eventually… that could be the goal.
Traveling this much means the mind changes big time, and sometimes I feel like I am skirting through, avoiding responsibilities and duties. This makes me think of life, reflect, compare and realize. More of this is to read in upcoming posts.
An outdated update about Germany is to read here.
As well as our next plans. Living in a truck!
Note: over-staying your Paraguayan visa will cost you 320.000 guarani ($42).