Thursday, 26 April 2007


Large flocks of tiny yellow butterflies have occupied sections of the road in between here and Mbaracayu. They huddle together, in what looks from afar like a yellow spot on the road, about the size of a shoe. When I get near them they fly up suddenly in a colorful little whirlwind, diving for my face and eyes like uncannily accurate little yellow kamikaze pilots. (Reading over this I realize there are a couple ways the phrase ‘little yellow kamikaze pilots’ could be interpreted).

Welcome to the Jungle

I saw a giant, hairy spider crossing the road one day as I was slowing down to try and navigate a muddy patch. It was the kind that is so big that one is reluctant to step on it, because it’s not certain whether that would kill it or just make it mad. Naturally I ran it over on principle, but that doesn’t make me feel any better: what if there are more? On the same ride I caught a glimpse of snake slithering away into the underbrush. With such a huge beautiful sky over head, and the long picturesque jungle views, it’s easy to forget just how many truly gross little creatures live out here.


Curuguaty is where the asphalt gives way to dust. About 20 kilometers more and the large fields give way to unkempt individual plots surrounding single-family wooden huts. Ten more kilometers and all one can see are low rolling hills covered in verdant tropical forests. Another ten kilometers and, on top of one of these hills, one finds Villa Ygatimi.
(Just ‘Villa’ for short. I know calling it that sounds like a pretension of a foreigner trying to sound like a local, but in the local language ‘Y’ is an irritating guttural sound).
The main road would be about wide enough to allow two cars to pass each other in the opposite direction, but since there has never been much of a call for that, and since it is impossible to paint lane divisions on sand, the two lane system devolved long ago into a one, rather wide, lane, which is also a sidewalk, depending on traffic, system. The sides of the road are occupied by corner shops, butchers, a gas station, a few tiny motor bike workshops and two stores that call themselves ‘Supermercados,’ which should never be confused with actual supermarkets. Since Villa is on a hill, there are huge, graceful topical vistas to be seen just around the buildings of main street.
One or two blocks out from the main road are houses with mowed lawns and maybe the occasional satellite dish, the high school, another gas station, and a beauty salon.
After that there is nothing. One day I picked a random road that was perpendicular to the main street and started walking. After three blocks I found myself surrounded by waist high grass, banana plants and trees, the road having half heartedly petered out.