I live a good life out in the Paraguayan countryside. I do though like however to take the occasional trip into Asuncion.

In Asuncion I can do a little sightseeing around the city or visit one of the modern shopping malls. Visiting anything even vaguely resembling a shopping mall out in the countryside is just not possible.

So a trip into the big city is something of a treat for me.

This week was my birthday and that seemed like a very good reason for a day out.

With travel to and from Asuncion taking several hours a trip to the city is always a long day. It is also a day that must start very early so as to allow the maximum time there.

I have travelled the route often enough to know how much time to allow for the journey.

Accordingly it was a far earlier start to the day than I would normally make.

Leaving home after a quick cup of coffee I was in Piribebuy by 7.15. Once there I dropped my motorbike off at the petrol station and strolled casually to the bus stop. There was ample time to get there before the 7.30 bus arrived.

My motorbike was quite safe at the petrol station. It would sit there untouched until my return later in the day. Seeing that rain was forecast I made sure to park it somewhere that was covered by a roof. No point in leaving it out in the rain if I did not need to.

Over at the bus stop the Asuncion bus came past pretty much on time. Well, not exactly a bus stop. Instead I just flagged the bus down as it came along the street.

Then I got settled in my seat and was on my way to Asuncion. It is only 80 km but does take a while.

Fortunately with it being mid week the bus was not too crowded. The roads for the most part were also not too crowded. Traffic was fairly light with few hold ups.

This was how the journey was though Caacupe and then down from the hilltops and through the lowland towns of Ypacarai, Itaugua and Capiata. Capiata being the last town before we reached Greater Asuncion from there onwards to traffic started to build.

Onwards then into Greater Asuncion. There as we travelled through San Lorenzo and Fernando de la Mora forward movement often slowed to a crawl. Nothing unusual, that’s just how traffic always is though Greater Asuncion.

I have on many occasions seen it much worse. The last 10 minutes as the bus slowly creeps towards it’s destination are always the longest 10 minutes of the journey.

With traffic out in the countryside flowing well we made Asuncion in good time and after 2 1/2 hours were pulling into the bus terminal.

As I and the only other passenger left on the bus disembarked I was fresh, rested and ready for a day in the city.

Just one more bus ride. Though the bus terminal and into the streets outside and I was soon seated on a local city bus.

That took me directly in about 15 minutes down to the Villa Morra district that was my finally destination.

I had come to Asuncion for a day in the air conditioned delights of a modern shopping mall. I would be spending the day in Shopping Mariscal, the largest of the malls in the area. Just a short walk from my final bus stop.

In the end though I got off the bus a stop early to stretch my legs a little before heading into the shopping mall.

Nothing like this can be found in Piribebuy or any of the nearby towns. So a trip to a shopping mall is always a bit of a treat.

Inside the shopping mall I looked around a few shops and purchased a couple of things before remembering that one of the items I wanted was to be found elsewhere.

That elsewhere was the large department store Feria Asuncion. Three floors of interesting things.

It was only a 10 minute walk away so Headed down there to pick up something I had spotted, but forgot to buy a few months before. That accomplished I headed back to Shopping Mariscal.

By now it was lunch time so my next destination was the large food hall. Plenty of options to choose from and I settled for filling a plate with the offerings of one of the buffet restaurants. A good filling meal and enough to fuel me for the rest of the day.

Once lunch was over I had a relaxing hour wandering from shop to shop looking for anything interesting to add to my list of purchases.

None of the Asuncion malls are huge so that was long enough to see everything. That done I popped out into the street and to the smart supermarket next door.

I had been watching the sky get darker for a while and while I was in the supermarket there was a heavy shower that filled the store with noise. The sound of water beating on a tin roof.

When there is one heavy shower there is always another. So I finished my shopping and then rather than returning to the mall headed to the bus stop to start my journey home.

There was no sense in pushing my luck by staying away longer. It was a 5 minute walk to the bus stop and had it been raining I would have got soaked just catching a bus and had to travel home in wet clothes.

As it was I got back to the bus terminal without incident and jumped on a bus back to Piribebuy just as it was pulling out. The short run across the platform was far preferable to waiting half and hour for the next one.

Travelling through the streets of Asuncion and into it’s suburbs I could see that we were heading east behind the storm. It may not have been raining but there was a lot of water in the streets.

By the time the bus reached San Lorenzo wide rivers of flood water were running down the roads. The water was deep, muddy and fast flowing spilling out in places across the pavements. To save passengers having to swim across to the bus the driver a number of times pulled up onto the pavement to let them board.

All the while I could see dark clouds out in front which we were chasing across Paraguay. For the most part the storm stayed in the distance and we passed though just a couple of light showers.

That was until we reached Caacupe where the driving rain greatly reduced the visibility of the world outside the bus.

Caacupe is the last town before Piribebuy and I was a little concerned that after staying dry all day I might arrive there while the storm was at it’s heaviest.

However I was in for a surprise when I got there. Not only was it not raining but there was far less water in the roads than I had seen in other towns. It appeared that no more than the edge of the storm had been through Piribebuy.

As a result of the weather it was a slower trip back taking a little over 3 hours. However it was still light, which was good.

After picking my motorbike up I then had to travel the final 15 km back to my house and as the last 5 km was along a dirt track I wanted to travel in daylight so as to avoid any muddy ditches the rain had caused.

I found the track to be far less muddy than I was expecting. The bulk of the storm must have gone elsewhere,

Back finally home I checked the time. It was just gone 6 pm.

A day trip to Asuncion is enjoyable but it is always a long day with at least 6 hours spend on buses.

But I had a very good day out and look forward to doing it all again in a few months time.