I’m as American as they come. Hot dogs and beer are regular parts of my diet. I love football and think soccer is boring. So my two week trip to Paraguay was filled with some eye-opening moments, considering I’ve never left the country except for brief stints in commercialized tourist spots like Jamaica, Cozumel and the like.
Here’s the five things that stood out about Paraguay.
1. The moment I stepped into the Paraguay airport I saw people wearing masks over their mouth. I was told it was to avoid the swine flu. Now, I don’t anticipate that Paraguay is trying to become a major player in the worldwide tourism industry, but if they ever plan on it, they might to avoid having half the people in the airport looking like this:
Also, I’m obviously no doctor, but is the swine flu really going to be stopped by a flimsy paper mask? Anyway, I caught a minor cold in Paraguay but no swine flu, so no harm, no foul.
2. People in Memphis always complain about how bad Memphis drivers are. All of those people need to shut up, immediately. Paraguay has driving like you’ve never seen. Most of the roads are big 2 lane roads. Drivers treat them as the tightest 4-lane road possible. Motorcycles are everywhere and weave in and out of the lanes. At most stoplights there are people walking beside the car trying to sell you bootleg DVDs, gum, fruit, bread and other random items (I saw a total of 0 purchases). Plus, there’s guys trying to wash your window for coins. To top all this off, you finally get off one of the main roads and you find yourself on painfully bumpy cobblestones roads desperately trying to hold in your bowels. If going without pooping was a sport, the Paraguayan cobblestone roads would be Augusta.
3. There’s a ton of cheese eating down there. I love cheese as much as the next guy. It’s awesome. I like cheese on my cheese. My stomach finally met its match. After about 1.5 weeks of constant cheese eating, my stomach finally clogged up and said no more. The real loser in this situation was the dry cleaner’s bathroom I had to use after the cobblestone roads loosened me up. (And by the way, in Paraguay the pipes are relatively small, so you don’t flush toilet paper, you simply wipe and put it in a trash can with a lid on it next to you. It’s different).
4. America still dominates. I drank lots of Coke. There was McDonald’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut, T.G.I. Friday’s and Hooters. I even ended up one night in a stereotypical Irish bar listening to a band cover mostly American songs (Pearl Jam was the best).
5. I got to see cool things I never would’ve seen before. Seriously, just look at the picture below and bow down.