After our Close of Service Conference, about 30 peace corps volunteers and I took a trip to the Salto Cristal waterfall. Somehow all the norteamericanos and all our bags (we have LARGE bags) fit on a bus that was already half full. Most of us were standing in the aisle, meaning people who needed to get off before us (picture on the left) needed to squeeze through.
My Peace Corps friend Ian mentioned something really funny (and true!). It was a little surreal being on those buses with a bunch of other PCVs, like an alternate reality. Usually it’s just one of us and a bunch of Paraguayan strangers. This time around it was a WHOLE bunch of us, with just a couple (extremely amused) people from Paraguay. Weird.
Anyways – it made for a really crowded bus.
I was impressed that the lady selling chipa (bottom right picture) made it through carrying the chipa on her shoulder. I am ALWAYS impressed by the chipa ladies. They make it through crowded buses like this one everyday, with 10 or 15 lbs of chipa in a basket on their shoulder or head. Somehow they manage to not fall over on these moving buses, not to drop what they are carrying, all while giving you what you order and making change. In a mini-skirt and pantyhose! Impressed.
Chipa is really great when it’s still warm. The smell test works well for this: if you can smell the chipa when the vendor is 3 rows away from you, it’s probably still warm. Otherwise, probably cold.