Sunday, 13 January 2013

Moments in Paraguayan Time

The traffic cones are lined up down the centre of the carriageway, the standard indication that somebody in a uniform is about to emerge from the verge to carry out an official duty. There’s a roped-off area with a set of mobile weight balances set up. So it’s not the Gendarmeria National, the Caminera Policial nor the Policial National for a change, but the National Vialidad. It’s the roads people, and they’re after the overweight timber trucks. Only there’s no trucks and they’re bored. An ox cart is pulling across the junction, he’s loaded with wet sand, so for a bit of amusement and monotony relief they decide to pull him in. The driver’s up for the challenge, so all five officials draw their camera ‘phones to take some pictures. Only the oxen aren’t so stupid and they execute a sharp right turn. We do the same before they decide to weigh us.

Moments in sporting time...

‘esta muy tranquilo’…must have a different connotation in the minds of the locals, from what I might consider as tranquil. It’s Saturday evening and there’s a football match that has attracted more players than spectators. Yet the firecrackers are flying. These aren’t your ‘wee squibs’ but howitzer shells. I know, I can see the smoking cardboard casing bouncing past my wheel as the reek clears and the percussion fades from my ears. It’s rowdy Saturday on the peaceable municipal camp ground……sorry, not tonight.

Moments in Educational Time...

It’s graduation Day in Oviedo. The final year students have hired a cattle float so they can perch on the roof trusses and blast the local population with rap, as they paseo around the streets. They will this evening take over the hotel that we’ve established ourselves in, to celebrate through the night.

In the morning as we leave at first light, long before sunrise, in the utter silence of a post prandial party night, a piece of paper flutters in the gutter. Somebody has scrawled a note: ‘No Molestar….Sexo en Proceso’