We tried shopping in Cuidad del Oeste, but we were overwhelmed. It is another border town (with Brazil) full of sketchy bargains. There are electronics and perfume shops for blocks and blocks. But, the electronics seemed to be cheap knockoffs, unknown brands, or last year’s models if they were even real (a white tablet PC with a peach silhouette on it?)
Usually, shopping in a big market town like this can be fun. Here, there wasn’t much appeal. The aggressive touts and crowds made us anxious to get the hell out of there.
North of town, on the Parana river, is the Itaipu Dam shared by Paraguay and Brazil. The hydroelectric facility is the largest producer of energy annually (90 TWh) in the world. They are definitely proud of it.
There’s a free tour – sign up at the nice visitors center, watch a movie about how great it all is – they claim it is one of the 7 wonders of the modern world. Then, you take a big tour bus to the dam. We even drove all the way across to Brazil. No visas needed. Of course, they didn’t let us off the bus.
A few years back – before the Three Gorges dam in China opened – this was also the largest dam in the world. Funny… I thought it would be bigger.