I screwed Gangsterville.

Trip Start Oct 06, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Paraguay  ,
Monday, April 4, 2005

English Steve, one of the guys I traveled around Nicaragua, Panama and Colombia with for one month, called Asuncion for Gangsterville. I liked the name he came up with, so I decided to use it in the title of this blog entry. So I am here in the capital of Paraguay, and although I for some reason have difficulties making up my mind about the place, I really enjoy it. It's a pretty sleepy capital, but they still know how to party. The people are extremely friendly, hospitable, helpful and curious. There's not a single tourist around, at least I haven't seen any. So the only Westerners I see are a few US Peace Corps volunteers and German Expats. Most of all it's the cheapest capital I have ever been to. After feeling that you get ripped off all the time, it's really fun going to a bar or restaurant here. It's almost like you run out the door after paying the restaurant bill, as you think they have made a mistake. Forgot a zero or something. But no, it just plain and simply cheap here. Hence the title "I screwed Gangsterville".

Paraguay is poor, in fact one of the poorest in Latin America. But you still see tons of souped-up Merzedes Benz, BMW and SUV's. Maybe not a big surprise when Paraguay's "Claim to Fame" is corruption and contraband (Gangsterville). They have very few foreign tourists and not many natural attractions (at least not any world class ones). But it is still a beautiful country with a good few national parks and some well preserved Jesuit missions worth a visit. But the most memorable for me are the people, plus it feels a bit different here. I don't know what it is, but I like it.

I only plan to spend a day or two in Asuncion, but end up staying a week. The city itself got a few nice sights, buildings and plazas. Some posh residential and shopping areas, with fancy clubs, bars, restaurants and cinema complexes. I spend the days walking around, meeting lots of friendly people. I get invited to BBQ and birthday parties. People show me around town, and take me to the illegal clubs who stay open after normal closing time. They try to learn me the local lingo, Guarani, and are curious about what Norway is like. Where is it? They take me to San Bernardino and Lake Ypacarai a couple of hours outside the city, and have me taste Tereré (they drink it everywhere around Paraguay). They talk to me on the bus, show me where to get off, if I would like an apple? In general some of the friendliest people I have met so far on this trip, I met in Asuncion, a capital city. I didn't expect it at all, but it truly made my visit. So go check out Paraguay, now!

I could have easily spent more time in Paraguay and Asuncion, but I have to make my way south before the winter sets in for real in Patagonia. I plan to catch a flight to Ushuaia from Posadas, a city in Argentina just across the border from Paraguay.
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whereshegoes on

Love this part:

It's almost like you run out the door after paying the restaurant bill, as you think they have made a mistake. Forgot a zero or something.

Keep up the great posts :)


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