Paraguay and Iguazu

30 09 2009

Paraguay

Currently, I am in Asuncion, Paraguay. My parents and I arrived here a little over a week ago, and I am happy to say that we have been enjoying our stay. As mentioned in my previous post, we are visiting my foreign exchange sister from high school, Gabi, and her family. Never in my life have I met such a close-knit family. They are like the Brady Bunch times ten!

On the day of our arrival, Gabi’s family had us over for a delicious barbecue with what they say was some of the finest steak in South America, even better than Argentina. Her mom’s siblings and their spouses joined us. In total, there were 22 family members present! Tomorrow, there will be an even bigger dinner at a cousin’s house with more family members.

Delicious BBQ

Delicious BBQ

They have been great tour guides chauffeuring us all over Paraguay. We visited two hydroelectric damns, one of which is the biggest in the world and supplies 95% of Paraguay’s electricity. We also went fishing on the Parana River, a huge river in South America. They are such a warm family; Gabi’s mom even took me to see her cousin who is a dentist because I had a toothache!

Parana River

Parana River

Parana River

Parana River

In my short time here, I’ve learned some random facts and have made some general observations that I’d like to share:

1. The currency is called guaranis. There are 5,000 guaranis to one dollar!

2. Paraguayans are incredibly friendly and hospitable. When meeting with people, you kiss on both the right and left cheeks, even if you don’t know them well.

2. A huge portion of the population drinks a beverage called terere. It’s a type of herbal tea, but they drink it cold. They pour the herbs into a tall cup, and then they pour in the water from a thermos and drink it through a straw with a filter.

Terere Thermoses

Terere Thermoses

Terere Cups and Filtered Straws

Terere Cups and Filtered Straws

3. Paraguay is very green. The environment is much more sub-tropical than I had anticipated, and the green landscapes are beautiful. There are also lots of parrots and interesting wildlife.

Parrots in Asuncion

Parrot in Asuncion

4. Many kids wash car windows because they want money. Even if you say no, they still might continue in hopes of getting some. If you refuse, some of them get angry and hit your car. I had similar experiences in Peru as well.

5. Typical food: Chipa – Chipa is a type of bread that oftentimes has cheese in the middle. It’s a very tasty snack. It can also come in a cracker form. Milonesa – Basically, this is breaded chicken, beef or fish. Also very good. Steak – The steak here is great. The best quality steaks are the ones where the cow has been fed all natural food.

6. Some fast food places, like Burger King and Pizza Hut, deliver.

7. Asuncion is the capital and only has 1.2 million people.

8. Most people live at home until they get married.

9. It’s unfortunate that there is not a tourism infrastructure because the country is beautiful.

I have five more days in Asuncion before I head to Buenos Aires.

Iguazu Falls

Iguazu Falls is incredible. In fact, it’s so incredible that I voted for it to be one of the new wonders of the world. My parents and I visited both the Argentinian side and the Brazilian side of the falls. It was sunny and warm when we visited the Argentinian side. However, the next day, when we went to the Brazilian side, it was cloudy and cold. Nonetheless, both sides were gorgeous, and we saw tons of wildlife.

Argentinian Side

Argentinian Side

Argentinian Side

Argentinian Side

Brazilian Side

Brazilian Side

Wildlife

Wildlife

Wildlife

Wildlife

Wildlife

Wildlife

Wildlife

Wildlife

Wildlife

Wildlife

* Many more pics of Paraguay and Iguazu to be posted on my photobucket site shortly


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2 responses

30 09 2009
Heather Tzanninis

Gorgeous pics! You’ve got real talent.

Did I read correctly? Do some fast food places in PGY deliver? Amazing.

Heather

30 09 2009
alexahart

Thanks! Yeah, crazy how some fast food places deliver, Burger King especially…

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