The national flower of Paraguay is the passion flower. Also known as the mburucuyá or maypop. Some people's gardens may have them, but also if you are lucky, you may find some of them in the wild too. I found them occasionally in better maintained city gardens, but also on some of the private fence/walls of some residences and offices. They are not so much in the wet jungles, but more of the wooded areas.
I could have easily put this under "transportation" topic, but I feel it is more of a local custom instead.
The stones from Cerro Koi [for information on Cerro Koi, read my Aregua page] had been used for years, mostly as paving stones for the roads. While driving on the residential and smaller roads in Paraguay, you'll quickly know which came from Cerro Koi. The smaller stones make a smoother road, however now that the mountain is protected, they no longer pave with these stones.
Regardless, if you are driving in the main cities or the rural villages, you will find a large number of streets are paved with stones. Many streets are so rough, that driving speeds are kept slow and therefore safe. Additionally, the stones are often more resilient to asphalt in the heat of summer, so the roads may be rough, but they last longer.
Guarana is very popular among people of Paraguay especially those who need a healthy, but very energetic drink to cope with intense physical and intellectual activity. With Brazil being a much larger and more prosperous country, guarana is often considered to be of Brazilian origin. Actually the word "guarana" is derived from the Guarani indian tribe which is indigenous to Paraguay.
There are entire industries based on guarana. Though tourists most often find it after it has been processed through modern methods such as stone grinding the Guarani tribe and others in Paraguay use older methods which preserve its intoxicating and medicinal attributes. Guarana is a fruit. Its scientific name is 'Paulinia cupana' and small portions of its powder can be diluted in liquids, such as hot or cold water, milk, yogurt and juices of all sorts. If taken some time before a meal -say half an hour - it can make you feel less hungry and help you reduce your food intake.
There is also a soft drink made out of guarana syrup, which is really delightful, but which keeps very few of the properties found in the guarana powder as described above. It is widely consumed throughout central South America and it is produced by powerful companies, such as Brahma, Antarctica, and Coca Cola.
The old time concoctions are better and much more exciting.
their culture and history, for that matter the whole of the tribe of Guarani's, is highlighted by the brazilian Composer Antonio Carlos Gomes, in his romantic Opera:
more info on the Guarani tribe..
So normally I would not put up a graphic photo like this, but I found it wholy ironic considering the sign. Unfortunately, the sign turned out blurry, but I will explain the situation. For a long time, Ciudad del Este had been charging for public restrooms, which led to a large contingency of its populations to simply pee where and when needed. The government then changed its public bathroom structure to being gratis (free), yet people still peed freely.
The government then put up signs outside the bathrooms clearly indicating that the bathroom was in fact free... the blurry sign said so... but the people of Ciudad del Este are still choosing to fight the government one wee at a time! Here you will clearly see a person peeing not more than 5 feet from the entrance to a public restroom!
Paraguay is the only South American country with two official languages--Spanish and Guarani, the language of the indigenous people. Almost everyone is bilingual and there is a good mix of the two languages in local speech---very difficult to understand for outsiders, but also very beautiful! I saw a lot of bilingual schools and noticed a large emphasis on keeping the language alive. The guy who owned my hostel informed me that at one time there was a law in Paraguay requiring people of Spanish descent and those of Guarani descent to intermarry--they were not allowed to marry others of their own race! As a result, a healthy mix of the two cultures has developed and the indigenous language and customs are still very much alive!
Chipa is a kind of bread with egg and cheese very common in Paraguay. Vendors are found on many corners keeping them warm as long as posible within straw baskets. The one of the picture is taken March 2005 when they tried to bake the longest bread in the world. A Guiness officer confirmed this particular one measured over 25m (about 75-80' )
Paraquay has always opend its borders for all kinds of immigrants, if I may say so. obvious the arrangments made benefitet both sites.
Mennonites, a protestant sect, speaking only german, living in the middle of the Chaco,with they're own farming system & school's and Hospitals.They came from Canada, Soviet Union and the Ukraine..not from Germany as one could think. Banned from Germany many centuries ago, because of they're strong view's and non integration into community's
in those days the native Indians where 'confined' to Missions, actually Reservations, like in America, but where mostly run by charities from the churches. basic schooling, healthcare and foodrations where provided.
small fields where cultivated by the Indians for Manjoka, Corn and Sojabeans to enhance the basic food supplies
preparing the Bow, not an easy task, quite a sophisticated trade. the Bow is still used by the Guarani trib in the chaco. birds, monkeys are the prey....a good bow took several mounth to break in
The custom of drinking terere is huge in Paraguay. Terere is basically a cold herbal tea that is drank out of a "guampa", which is a hollowed out bull's horn, through a "bambilla", which is a metal straw that has holes in the bottom to strain the water through the tea leaves. EVERYONE in Paraguay drinks Terere. Most people walk around with a medium sized Thermos of ice water, and their guampa. The tradition of drinking Terere is: the youngest member of the group pours the water into the guampa and it gets passed around. Everyone drinks a full guampa, then passes it back to the water pourer. As a traveller in Paraguay, you will definately be offered Terere, it would be considered rude not to accept it. Although it is against Western health ideals to drink out of the same straw as strangers, I did it the whole time I was there, and never got sick. If you really don't want to drink it, or if you have had enough, just say "Gracias", and they will stop passing it to you.
This is tip goes for all countries in South America, but was especially bad in Paraguay. When you have large bills it is very difficult to change them into smaller and more managable bills. Sometimes you will be unable to purchase things because stores will be unable to make change. So my advice is to do exactly what the stores do, small notes are valuable, always try to buy things with larger denominations first, then if they can't change it, try something smaller. Also remember which business will always break large notes. They are sometimes difficult to find!!!
Paraguay has a distinctive musical tradition, especially of songs and ballads. The music is European in origin. The guitar and native harp (arpa paraguaya) are popular instruments and songs are usually sad and slow. Typical music for dancing, such as the polka and galopa, a variant of which is the bottle dance where performers swing around with a jar on their head, is much livelier.
One of the most important products of the country is the so-called Paraguay tea (maté or yerba maté), which is still the largest article of export. It consists of dried leaves of the evergreen maté tree, crushed and slightly roasted, and drawn in boiling water. It is the favorite beverage of the country, and is in fact a very popular beverage elsewhere in South America. The Jesuit missionaries introduced the use of maté leaves to the Guaraní Indians of the area in the 16th and 17th centuries and this tea almost entirely displaced the intoxicating drinks to which they had been addicted. Hollow gourds, often ornamented with silver (fine souvenirs), are traditionally used as bowls or containers for brewing yerba maté, and it is sipped through a silver filtering “straw” (bombilla).
Same thing I say for wherever one may go- don't look down at the people, look at them, as people. Paraguay is dual-lingual: Spanish and Guarani. Guarani is the language of the home and the heart. See De Niro's movie The Mission, set in Colonial Paraguay. Its real, its powerful! Xe ane qua Miguel-pe. Mbaishipa nde hera?
We found it difficult to find budget or cheap accommodation in Asuncion. There didn't seem to be any...more
11 de Setiembre y Luis Ma. Argana, Ciudad Del Este, 7000, Paraguay
Good for: Solo
Ruta 1 Kilometre 361, Barrio Quiteria , Encarnacion, 6000, Paraguay
Good for: Families
More Regions in Paraguay