A Dragon In Paraguay
Flying into Asunción, the largest and capital city of the country of Paraguay, you see nothing but green, jungle-like landscape as far as the horizon. Then you see this little city poking out from the middle of nowhere. “The middle of nowhere” is pretty apt. Deep into central South America, there is nothing out here, just the little city of Asunción.
As a future Paraguayan citizen, I’m here to get the residency process started and learn more about my new “home.” Being here has been an interesting experience to say the least.
Normally, as soon as I arrive in a new country/city, my immediate impressions regarding whether or not I will like it are pretty accurate. If I love it as soon as I see it, I’m probably going to love it even more after a week later when I leave. If I hate it, or at least consider it no big deal or boring as soon as I see it, that’s usually my opinion when I leave a week later. In other words, my experience of the city usually confirms my initial impressions.
But not with Asunción. I had to fly into the country late; I landed at around 11:30pm. I knew that Paraguay is damn near a third world country, so I prepared for the worst, and I got it. Foreigners from certain other nations have to purchase an entrance visa the first time they visit. It’s as much as $160 USD, and they only take twenty-dollar bills, and they only take certain kinds of twenty-dollar bills.
As always, I did all this research beforehand and was prepared. I arrived with a wallet jam-packed full of twenty-dollar bills, as well as hundred dollar bills, as well as Paraguayan currency (called guaraní). So I was prepared, but the desk clerk was not, nor were all the other idiot Americans and Canadians I was standing in line with.
Just about everyone in front of me in line had no idea they needed to have multiple 20-dollar bills to enter the country. (Sigh.) People were panicking, screaming, trying to borrow money from random strangers, calling other people on the phone, and so on. One woman, an over-33 American mother of two, was throwing a temper tantrum about how expensive it was and how it was insane that they only took twenty-dollar bills. (Then maybe you should have done your research before leaving the country, bitch.) All it did was waste everyone’s time, including mine, since the staff didn’t even speak much English.
Long story short, I sat in line for about 90 minutes at midnight waiting for idiots to clean up their own messes. It was late, I was tired, I had to get up early the next morning for an appointment with my immigration attorneys, and there was an additional two-hour time change meaning I’d be getting up really fucking early, and I hadn’t even left the airport yet.
Moreover, I had to listen to the friendly-but-talkative Canadian standing in line behind me bitch about Donald Trump as soon as I identified myself as an American. (As just a quick side note, why does every Canadian I meet in my international travels have to bitch and moan and crack jokes about Donald Trump? Yes, you fuckers, my country is a embarrassment, yes, I already know this, that’s why I’m here, getting the fuck out of the Collapsing USA. But Jesus, my country was also an embarrassment during Pussy Barack and Idiot Bush and Sociopathic Bill. This Trump bullshit isn’t anything new. Do you Canadians seriously think the USA was just fine before Tantrum Trump? Please, for the love of god, leave me alone about the fourth ridiculous president the mentally retarded voters in my collapsing country have elected in a row. Oh, and by the way, guess what happens to Canada when the USA finally goes down the shitter? Take three guesses, ay?)
So, irritated and very tired, eventually I got out of there and crashed to bed an hour or two later, way too late. Then I jumped up just a few hours later to make it on time for my appointment, still half asleep. Unsurprisingly, Paraguay has no Uber (there is a local app in Spanish but that wouldn’t help me), so I had to find a taxi, which isn’t always easy in Asunción. I finally found one, showed the Spanish address to the taxi driver (I had it in my phone ready to go; I’m always prepared), who thankfully could read it and knew where to go.
Taxi drivers in Asunción are very friendly and helpful, but they don’t use GPS at all, and have no concept that you can get there faster if you follow the roads the GPS tells you based on traffic conditions. (Or maybe they just don’t care.) So I’m watching Google Maps on my phone as the guy takes every wrong street with the most traffic. I try to explain this to him once, but he doesn’t speak English of course, which is my fault (since I could have learned Spanish before now), but it doesn’t help my mood.
After bouncing around on Los Angeles-like third-world roads, I finally arrive, easily 45 minutes late for my appointment and still half asleep. Thank goodness this is Paraguay, and everyone is always late, and the attorneys don’t even notice. Hilarious.
So my first arrival to Asunción wasn’t pleasant and my perception of the place wasn’t the best. But then my schedule calmed down, I was able to catch up on my sleep, and I was able to experience the city. And boy, did my opinion change!
Oh, hell yes. For some reason I thought women in Paraguay would be average-looking like the Mexicans. Ohhhh no. Using my hot / cute / average / ugly scale, while hot women are rare (but they are here!) there are tons of cute women here, and the average ones are usually on the high-end of average.
Even better, the body types here are exactly what I like. Big, shapely asses, big boobs, wonderful hips, even on small, trim women. Heaven. Instead of the USA where big butts are unusual and small or flat butts are the norm, here it’s the exact opposite. Big asses are the norm, and it’s unusual to see a woman who has the typical white-girl small/flat butt. I’ve had a huge smile on my face the entire time I’ve been here.
I’m not saying the women are Asunción are particularly hot. I’m just saying that cute women are much more prevalent and that all women, attractive or otherwise, have the body type I like. Most of their faces are high-average with lots of cuties. I’ve seen very few actual hotties here but with so many cute women with amazing bodies, I don’t care.
The women here seem to be a mix of the darker-skinned Hispanics with the lighter-skinned Argentineans. Therefore, the skin tone of everyone here is much lighter than anywhere else I’ve been in the Latin world so far. The tone ranges from lighter-skinned but still darker-than-white Hispanics, to people who look full-on as white as I do but with one or two Hispanic features in their faces (noses, eyes, etc).
Thus, even with my white skin and blue eyes, I don’t look nearly as out of place here as I did in Mexico or even Panama. I know this because in those places no one expected me to speak Spanish, but here in Asunción they do, and are actually taken aback when they realize I only speak English (or Inglés, to be more regionally accurate). The further south you travel into South America, the whiter the people become, so if you’re white, the more they expect you to speak Spanish. I expect this to intensify when I go to Argentina next.
Surprisingly, I no longer consider Paraguay the third world, but it is certainly on the low-end of the second world, a notch or two lower than even Mexico. A few examples…
The bathrooms are shit. Even in nice hotels the shower, toilet, and sink are all in the same room, and there is no space to leave any toiletries.
Sidewalks are rare, and if you have them, often they are nothing more than rubble or dirt.
The roads are pretty bad. (But again, Los Angeles’ roads are worse.)
Drivers pretty much ignore signs, lights, and even lanes. They aren’t the suicidal maniacs that the Italians are, but pretty close.
My hotel was located in the nicer part of town, with two very impressive malls and some nice houses with some pools…
…but, there are plenty of barrio-type areas here as well, many I made sure to visit, where “homes” are simply wooden or plastic boards nailed together…
Traffic is absolutely dreadful. It often takes 20-30 minutes just to go less than 3-4 miles. The streets are way too narrow and have been constructed in a way where widening them is pretty much impossible. I already wrote an article about traffic once; it seems to be a blind spot in the human condition; not one civilization on Earth can seem to nail this problem. Even the Asians can’t figure it out. Weird.
Internet is slow-ish in most locations, however, I was able to find some spots where it worked surprisingly well and much better than in Mexico. The people here tell me that the entire country has internet and even distant farms in the middle of nowhere have at least 3G.
The Good Stuff
People in Paraguay are the nicest people I’ve encountered yet on this trip, and that’s saying a lot, since the Mexicans and Panamanians are very nice. But the Paraguayans are so nice they may even surpass the Canadians. Here’s a few examples…
I was in a mall buying some underwear. (Side Note; Blackdragon’s underwear travel system: I only pack half the underwear needed for a trip like this, make sure to only pack the oldest pairs of underwear I have, and throw each pair away every day while traveling, until I’m halfway into the trip when I buy new pairs. This prevents me from having to wash my underwear. Time management, baby.) I needed nine pairs and they only had three of the kind I liked. The lady, who could not speak English, offered to walk down the street to another store and get the other pairs for me. Of course I said that would be great, and she did so. Holy crap.
During one appointment with some immigration attorneys, when they were done giving me extremely valuable advice for 90 minutes, when I offered to pay them for their time, they seemed surprised and told me no, they would charge me if/when they actually got started on my project in January. One of them actually told me he thought I was making a joke when I offered to pay him.
Do you know any attorneys who would give you 90 minutes of free legal advice? I don’t.
I had a taxi driver drive me to a second location for free. Have you ever had a taxi driver offer to do this? I haven’t.
And so on. These people are so nice I just can’t believe it. These are the most laid-back Hispanics I’ve ever seen (and again, one could argue they’re only “half-Hispanic”). Walking down the main promenade on the river (the Costanera de Asunción), there are tons of people out but everything is quiet. No screaming, loud yelling, blasting music, or the other things I’ve come to associate with most Latin countries. Everyone’s just hanging out, relaxing, talking in quiet voices. It’s almost like being in Japan.
When someone does a U-turn right in the middle of a crowded road (and the drivers do that shit here all the time), no one honks, no one gets mad. They just patiently wait and then continue on their way. Just imagine someone pulling that shit in Mexico! 15 drivers would lean on their horns in unison and scream “pendejo cabron!!!”
Moreover, the women here are happy. They are always walking around smiling, laughing, or joking around. It’s radically different than in the West where you have most women walking around with neutral expressions on their faces.
Things are SUPER cheap here. You can buy a good used car for $3000 USD and live in a livable apartment for just a few hundred dollars a month. The cost of living here is microscopically low, perhaps on par with Thailand and the Philippines but I can’t say for sure.
A thing I’ve noticed both here and in Panama; people say hi to each other every time a new person enters an elevator. WTF? I don’t get it, just like I didn’t get how people in New Zealand always thanked the bus driver when they left the bus. It’s so strange how different cultures come up with these unusual, little customs.
Like other Latin countries, there are lots of police and security guards all over the place. They tell me here (and my research has shown) that there is very little violent crime in Asunción, just minor theft. That must be why everyone has guards all over the place. At one attorney’s office I visited, the small building had a locked gate and a metal fence all around it. When I asked why this was when there is no violent crime here, the attorney answered, “Well, we needed a fence, because there is no guard here at night.” Interesting. Having guards seems to be a required thing in the Latin world, whether actually needed or not.
The humidity here is, once again, a fucking problem. It’s about one notch less intense than Panama’s, but that’s still pretty bad. I’m able to tolerate it, but it’s extremely annoying. Granted, we’re headed into the southern hemisphere’s summer right now, and perhaps the humidity isn’t as strong during the fall and winter months here, but I’m not sure.
One last note. As I write this article while here in Paraguay, word has come via the US news that there has been yet another mass shooting in the US, something that appears to happen every week now.
They don’t have mass shootings in Paraguay.
They don’t have mass shootings in Panama.
They just don’t, guys. It’s just not a part of their culture. These cultures aren’t perfect, and some of them have dark pasts, but people in these places don’t walk around shooting mass amounts of other citizens because they disagree with them politically.
Americans like to look down their noses at other, “lesser” countries. I admit I’ve done this myself in the past. But as I’ve mentioned before, the further America slides into slow collapse, the more horrible things are going to happen in America that don’t happen in most other places. Mass shootings. Ultra-high taxes. Ultra-high regulation. Increased violence. Political unrest. Unhappy, stressed-out people.
Every time I see more bad news coming out of the USA while I’m visiting somewhere abroad where those same things aren’t happening, which is all the time now, I’m feel both sorry for my homeland and more safe and more sure in my lifestyle decisions, since I know my Alpha Male 2.0 international lifestyle removes me further away from this bullshit.
Just food for thought.
Anyway, after spending several days here, my opinion has done a complete 180 from when I first arrived. Paraguay and Asunción are, while a little rough around the edges, fucking great. What a wonderful little find! I will be here semi-regularly over the next several years to get my residency, and I can’t wait to come back. How cool is it that the two places I need to return to for my five flags plan (Panama and Paraguay) are two places I am most excited about visiting again regardless?
Next up, the pinnacle of this trip… a week in Buenos Aires! (And a little Montevideo too.)