Archive for the Paraguay Category
We spent a few nights on an estancia in Caapucu (pronounced ca-a-puu-ku) to do some horseback riding and relaxing, before heading to the missions in the south of Paraguay. This ranch had the normal cows, horses, buffalo and dogs, but sadly they also had a jaguar, a puma, mountain cat, and some kind of monkey. Apparently the owners´friends caught these animals up in the Chaco, and brought them to the farm to be kept in cages. We also learned that there were two jaguars, but one of them escaped and killed a few people.
We made a quick stop over in Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay to check out city life where tradition meets modern ways; a mix of old colonial and semi-modern buildings. The colonial buildings throughout the city that have been restored are brightly painted and pleasant to look at, but the city itself looks a bit tired.
Walking through the city we happened upon a demonstration where students are hoping to amend the college acceptance policy. A few blocks later we found ourselves in a political rally for Blanco, who will quite possibly become the first woman president of Paraguay. Presidential elections are being held here next week, and posters and banners for the candidates are everywhere. The current political party has the biggest budget, as the city was dominated by their campaign slogan, ’somos 1′ or ‘we are one’ for Blanco. Although Paraguayans have long been activists demanding rights and working around their corrupt government ways, they are also resigned to know that things won´t change overnight.
Another long standing tradition in Paraguay (and in much of South America), cutting across all socio-economic classes is that of drinking yerba mate (dried holly leaves) steeped in hot water. A bombilla or metal straw with a sieve at the bottom is used to drink the tea. When the weather is in the 90´s, than they switch to iced tea (called terere) to which they will add medicinal herbs. Paraguayans will carry their own gallon sized thermos filled, along with a cup and a metal straw, which is not only practical on a hot day, it´s also very social. Groups will share one cup and straw, refilling and passing it along to each other.