27) Paraguay - Who wants to be a millionaire?...

September 22, 2008 - Asunción, Paraguay

Andy has us out for an early start from Brasil to cross the border into Paraguay. The border crossing is fairly painless, although we're getting used to officials not rushing themselves. So far, Argentina and Brasil have been quite civilised and relatively affluent - by Latin Amerian standards. Boy, is this place poor! It's evident just as soon as we enter Paraguay at Ciuday del Este (City of the East). What a dump - this is the first real taste of 'Poor' Latin America.

It's an all-day drive due west (I've sussed out where the sun is now!) to the capital city - Asunción. This is another example of the anomolies of cities in S America - differences between rich and poor, although this appears poor and very poor.

I change up some money - I've a couple of hundred U S Dollar American Express travellers cheques left - I've already realised (to my cost) that AMEX Travellers Cheques are about as welcome in Latin America as a Pork Pie at a Barmitzvah - at best I'm getting $95 for each $100 cheque.

Still, this country will take anything (believe me!) so I get something just over 970,000 Paraguyan Guarani's for my effort. Enough to buy the country, I reckon - well, at least enough to fund another revolution.

Our hotel in the capital is a wonderfully tired old colonial style building. The whole of the downtown area is pretty - pretty old and tired as well. All the cars appear clapped out , as are the diesel-fume spewing 1960's mercedes buses and trucks.

I hestiate to stop and ask a truck driver if he realise that his carbon footprint may be just a bit larger than normal. Mainly due to my reticence of finding his bootprint on me - up where the sun don't shine.

We have a wander around the city - the Presidential Palace some of the downtown buildings around Calle Palma are quite smart, although it was more than a little disconcerting to see heavily-armed police on just about every street corner. When I say armed - I mean with huge Reamington Pump-action shotguns. Best not to photograph them, I decide. Pity really - they do look mean!

Nikki finds us the most amazing Malaga-style bodega and resturant not far from our hotel. She and I nip out for a couple of after-dinner drinks at a bar across from our hotel, 120,000 of my near-million gone already.

I'm looking forward to Monday, there's a tour of the city and duty-free shopping to be done. I must need something teccy, but can't decide. I'll find something though, after all, I'm a millionaire...






Clapped out buses
Memorial to the Presidents
Our Tour Guide (on left) being quizzed by John
Car spares for sale

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