It was a six hour bus ride from Asuncion to Pilar. The weather has been balmy – upper ‘teens at night and maxing at about 28 in the afternoon. The streets are patrolled by countless stray dogs and there are otters and stingrays in the river.
I laughed when Kelly first referred to Pilar as a ‘city’, given that its population hovers around 30,000. Though barely a large town it has all the life and effervescence of a city. Though not a single fast food joint has been established, food – chipa, empanadas, pizza, hamburgers – is rampant and delicious. June is the month of Santa Ana and calls for night markets with street food, warm drinks and live music.
Fundación Para La Tierra is hoping to change the way Paraguayans think about conservation science. The HQ is a sprawling house with a floor plan reminiscent of the Winchester mansion. PLT is run by a dedicated staff and interns from across the globe. Being new to Pilar PLT is currently establishing and surveying their newly acquired field sites for habitat variables and species distribution. This is the first time any ecological research has been done in the Paraguayan state of Ñeembucú.
May through August is supposedly the dry season but I call bullshit.
So far I’ve punctured two pairs of waders (fuckin’ bromeliads), prepared four frogs for the museum, eaten twelve slices of pizza and drank one bottle of Breeders Choice Paraguayan whiskey. Pilar is a city of tranquility – until you go to a night club at 2am.
The people are wonderfully friendly and always excited to see a new face. I start every morning with two jamon empanadas and a cup of cocido. I can see Argentina from my house.