Simons Paraguay https://simonsparaguay.com/ My guide to anything and everything about Paraguay Fri, 12 Apr 2024 18:29:31 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.4.4 https://simonsparaguay.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/cropped-Simon-Fav-32x32.png Simons Paraguay https://simonsparaguay.com/ 32 32 Taking a day trip by bus into Asuncion https://simonsparaguay.com/taking-a-day-trip-by-bus-into-asuncion/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=taking-a-day-trip-by-bus-into-asuncion https://simonsparaguay.com/taking-a-day-trip-by-bus-into-asuncion/#respond Fri, 12 Apr 2024 18:29:23 +0000 https://simonsparaguay.com/?p=1427 I live a good life out in the Paraguayan countryside. I do though like however to take the occasional trip into Asuncion. In Asuncion I can do a little sightseeing around the city or visit one of the modern shopping malls. Visiting anything even vaguely resembling a shopping mall out in the countryside is just […]

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I live a good life out in the Paraguayan countryside. I do though like however to take the occasional trip into Asuncion.

In Asuncion I can do a little sightseeing around the city or visit one of the modern shopping malls. Visiting anything even vaguely resembling a shopping mall out in the countryside is just not possible.

So a trip into the big city is something of a treat for me.

This week was my birthday and that seemed like a very good reason for a day out.

With travel to and from Asuncion taking several hours a trip to the city is always a long day. It is also a day that must start very early so as to allow the maximum time there.

I have travelled the route often enough to know how much time to allow for the journey.

Accordingly it was a far earlier start to the day than I would normally make.

Leaving home after a quick cup of coffee I was in Piribebuy by 7.15. Once there I dropped my motorbike off at the petrol station and strolled casually to the bus stop. There was ample time to get there before the 7.30 bus arrived.

My motorbike was quite safe at the petrol station. It would sit there untouched until my return later in the day. Seeing that rain was forecast I made sure to park it somewhere that was covered by a roof. No point in leaving it out in the rain if I did not need to.

Over at the bus stop the Asuncion bus came past pretty much on time. Well, not exactly a bus stop. Instead I just flagged the bus down as it came along the street.

Then I got settled in my seat and was on my way to Asuncion. It is only 80 km but does take a while.

Fortunately with it being mid week the bus was not too crowded. The roads for the most part were also not too crowded. Traffic was fairly light with few hold ups.

This was how the journey was though Caacupe and then down from the hilltops and through the lowland towns of Ypacarai, Itaugua and Capiata. Capiata being the last town before we reached Greater Asuncion from there onwards to traffic started to build.

Onwards then into Greater Asuncion. There as we travelled through San Lorenzo and Fernando de la Mora forward movement often slowed to a crawl. Nothing unusual, that’s just how traffic always is though Greater Asuncion.

I have on many occasions seen it much worse. The last 10 minutes as the bus slowly creeps towards it’s destination are always the longest 10 minutes of the journey.

With traffic out in the countryside flowing well we made Asuncion in good time and after 2 1/2 hours were pulling into the bus terminal.

As I and the only other passenger left on the bus disembarked I was fresh, rested and ready for a day in the city.

Just one more bus ride. Though the bus terminal and into the streets outside and I was soon seated on a local city bus.

That took me directly in about 15 minutes down to the Villa Morra district that was my finally destination.

I had come to Asuncion for a day in the air conditioned delights of a modern shopping mall. I would be spending the day in Shopping Mariscal, the largest of the malls in the area. Just a short walk from my final bus stop.

In the end though I got off the bus a stop early to stretch my legs a little before heading into the shopping mall.

Nothing like this can be found in Piribebuy or any of the nearby towns. So a trip to a shopping mall is always a bit of a treat.

Inside the shopping mall I looked around a few shops and purchased a couple of things before remembering that one of the items I wanted was to be found elsewhere.

That elsewhere was the large department store Feria Asuncion. Three floors of interesting things.

It was only a 10 minute walk away so Headed down there to pick up something I had spotted, but forgot to buy a few months before. That accomplished I headed back to Shopping Mariscal.

By now it was lunch time so my next destination was the large food hall. Plenty of options to choose from and I settled for filling a plate with the offerings of one of the buffet restaurants. A good filling meal and enough to fuel me for the rest of the day.

Once lunch was over I had a relaxing hour wandering from shop to shop looking for anything interesting to add to my list of purchases.

None of the Asuncion malls are huge so that was long enough to see everything. That done I popped out into the street and to the smart supermarket next door.

I had been watching the sky get darker for a while and while I was in the supermarket there was a heavy shower that filled the store with noise. The sound of water beating on a tin roof.

When there is one heavy shower there is always another. So I finished my shopping and then rather than returning to the mall headed to the bus stop to start my journey home.

There was no sense in pushing my luck by staying away longer. It was a 5 minute walk to the bus stop and had it been raining I would have got soaked just catching a bus and had to travel home in wet clothes.

As it was I got back to the bus terminal without incident and jumped on a bus back to Piribebuy just as it was pulling out. The short run across the platform was far preferable to waiting half and hour for the next one.

Travelling through the streets of Asuncion and into it’s suburbs I could see that we were heading east behind the storm. It may not have been raining but there was a lot of water in the streets.

By the time the bus reached San Lorenzo wide rivers of flood water were running down the roads. The water was deep, muddy and fast flowing spilling out in places across the pavements. To save passengers having to swim across to the bus the driver a number of times pulled up onto the pavement to let them board.

All the while I could see dark clouds out in front which we were chasing across Paraguay. For the most part the storm stayed in the distance and we passed though just a couple of light showers.

That was until we reached Caacupe where the driving rain greatly reduced the visibility of the world outside the bus.

Caacupe is the last town before Piribebuy and I was a little concerned that after staying dry all day I might arrive there while the storm was at it’s heaviest.

However I was in for a surprise when I got there. Not only was it not raining but there was far less water in the roads than I had seen in other towns. It appeared that no more than the edge of the storm had been through Piribebuy.

As a result of the weather it was a slower trip back taking a little over 3 hours. However it was still light, which was good.

After picking my motorbike up I then had to travel the final 15 km back to my house and as the last 5 km was along a dirt track I wanted to travel in daylight so as to avoid any muddy ditches the rain had caused.

I found the track to be far less muddy than I was expecting. The bulk of the storm must have gone elsewhere,

Back finally home I checked the time. It was just gone 6 pm.

A day trip to Asuncion is enjoyable but it is always a long day with at least 6 hours spend on buses.

But I had a very good day out and look forward to doing it all again in a few months time.

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Living a life in the Paraguayan countryside https://simonsparaguay.com/living-a-life-in-the-paraguayan-countryside/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=living-a-life-in-the-paraguayan-countryside https://simonsparaguay.com/living-a-life-in-the-paraguayan-countryside/#comments Tue, 27 Feb 2024 18:42:46 +0000 https://simonsparaguay.com/?p=1422 For many people the most pleasurable aspect of Paraguay is it’s countryside. Living there can be a very enjoyable thing to do. It is a relaxed and friendly place to be. An easy going lifestyle can be found here. One where in general terms everyone is left to live as they choose so long as […]

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For many people the most pleasurable aspect of Paraguay is it’s countryside. Living there can be a very enjoyable thing to do.

It is a relaxed and friendly place to be. An easy going lifestyle can be found here. One where in general terms everyone is left to live as they choose so long as that does not cause harm or inconvenience to others.

That said that in common with Paraguay more generally it is not to everyone’s taste. Everything seems to happen more slowly, many things don’t work quite as they should and it is on the whole still quite undeveloped.

However if you can see the charm and character that such things give to a place and are of an adaptable and flexible nature then the Paraguayan countryside may be somewhere that at the very least you investigate.

It is the sort of place that someone who feels the pull of such places would have little trouble settling into.

The local population is almost universally welcoming of outsiders. Those within a few hours travel of Asuncion are used to people from there visiting for extended periods, and there have been for a long time expat communities scattered across the country.

To feel part of the community and to be treated as such by those who have been there for many years is really quite simple. Integrate with the local community,mix with the people take an honest interest in local events.

Then invites to local events will soon come in.

First though before all that you must if you are considering Paraguay ask yourself what sort of person you are or want to be. A city person, a town one or someone of the countryside.

City life offers those luxuries such as shopping malls that cannot be found elsewhere. It is also a place more vibrant and full of life. However it is hardly reflective of Paraguay as a whole. It is far to easy for the likes of safety for example to stay almost entirely in the modern upmarket districts that bare no relation to the vast majority of the country.

A better way to see and appreciate Paraguay is to be in one of the country towns. There are a lot of nice towns within a couple of hours of Asuncion. They are all surrounded by countryside, which they tend to serve. An advantage of being in a country town is that it is possible to live without owning your own transport. Stores will be within walking distance and buses available for heading further afield.

There are through a few downsides to being based in a town.

A couple are, firstly that the open spaces of empty countryside will be nearby while you have neighbours all around.

And secondly care is needed in choosing where in a town to be. Country towns are on the whole safe peaceful places, but every town in the world has it’s better areas. Also as often there is little going on bored teenagers (as they do in similar places everywhere) will be looking for something to do to liven up their lives, and those somethings could be quite loud.

The final option however for somewhere to live in Paraguay should be far more peaceful. The Paraguayan countryside.

There is no reason to live far from a town with most being surrounded by green countryside. Unless the aim is to be living off grid it makes sense to be just a short trip away from a town and it’s stores.

Once out of the towns roads leading off the main paved roads are dirt, so the quality of the road and the likely hood of it becoming impassable in bad weather need to be considered. Life down these dirt tracks has a slower more rural feel about it.

A complete antidote to the rush of modern life.

The houses out here everything from simple one room dwellings to mansions and everything in between, by way of farm houses and summer homes.

Then of course if you were to find the right spot but discover there is no house there it is quite possible to buy the land and have one built. However when considering building I would suggest finding somewhere with a run down house and removing and replacing it. That way connections to both water and electric should already be on the property.

There are many fine areas of countryside in Paraguay. The one that I know best is the Cordillera hills area which contains towns such as Piribebuy and Caacupe.

Other areas such as Villarrica and Aregua amongst others also have a lot to recommend them, but it is Cordillera that I know best.

It is just a couple of hours travel from Asuncion so within easy reach of the capital for those things that can only be done there. I take day trips to Asuncion a few times a year just to see a little city life. It is though always nice to head home away from the city afterwards.

Cordillera is the nearest region of higher ground to Asuncion and it is just a little bit fresher there. It has a landscape of hills and valleys, all of which are pleasing on the eye. It is also where many of the streams and rivers in Western Paraguay start as crystal clear mountain streams. Cool, clear and refreshing.

Properties can be found, more commonly around Piribebuy, with their own private stretch of river. A stream is one of the few places where the heat of summer can truly be escaped.

I myself may not have a river but I open the curtains every morning to look out upon tree covered hills that rise sharply across the valley from my house. Then at night I can sit out behind the house looking up at a star filled sky that does not have to compete against a single artificial light.

And for most of most days I hear like is to be heard in much of the countryside little beyond the sounds of nature.

That nature must be considered as part of the countryside. It is packed with life. This includes insects and spiders of all shapes and sizes as well and larger creatures such lizards and snakes. So if you do have an issue with bugs the Paraguayan countryside might be a challenge for you.

Alternatively though there are also many colourful and exotic birds to be seen every day.

As I hope you have seen in this brief overview the Paraguayan countryside has a lot to offer anyone of the right frame of mind. Someone who wishes for a new life somewhere more peaceful, or as they say in Paraguay “tranquillo”.

If you would like to discover more please do contact me either by leaving a message below, or through the Contacts page on the website.

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Summer in Paraguay and it’s eventual end https://simonsparaguay.com/summer-in-paraguay-and-its-eventual-end/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=summer-in-paraguay-and-its-eventual-end https://simonsparaguay.com/summer-in-paraguay-and-its-eventual-end/#respond Wed, 14 Feb 2024 18:41:11 +0000 https://simonsparaguay.com/?p=1418 Although Paraguay is warm for most of the year it is during the summer that the heat becomes the most extreme. The summer months here run from December to February. It is no coincidence that the schools have their long summer holiday over those months. Exactly how hot the summer is and what in the […]

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Although Paraguay is warm for most of the year it is during the summer that the heat becomes the most extreme.

The summer months here run from December to February. It is no coincidence that the schools have their long summer holiday over those months.

Exactly how hot the summer is and what in the way of storms it brings varies from year to year, but even on a slightly less hot year temperatures will climb from time to time above 40 C.

It is the time of year when much of Paraguay slows to a halt. In addition to all the children being off many professionals take a large parts of January off as a summer holiday. Legal work can be hard to get done at that time of year.

During the summer anyone living in the countryside heads for the cooling waters of a crystal clear stream, or at the very least the shade of a large mango tree.

For city dwellers a weekend at a country park and bathing in it’s stream or river is a must.

Summer is also the time when electricity usage peaks in Paraguay. Air conditioning units run all day and all night. In even the smallest of houses fans turn continuously in an effort to take some of the heat and humidity out of the air.

Although the heat can be as fierce in December as in February summer can be split into three phases.

First from the end of November until Christmas and New Year. This is the time for finishing the school year and putting the final touches to any tasks that need completing before the end of the year. It is a busy time with all the build up to Christmas and New Year as well.

Christmas and New Year are both celebrated at night. A sensible action is such a hot land. There on the patios of houses around Paraguay large barbecues are roasted and many drinks are drunk in celebration.

The Christmas celebrations are for the family whereas New Year is more of a party with groups of friends travelling from house to house and the youngsters often heading out to larger parties in the early hours.

Then once Christmas and New Year are over January is very much the holiday month.

Those that can travel either overseas to the beaches of Brazil and Uruguay or to upmarket Paraguayan resorts such as San Bernardino with it’s lake and night life.

They are however the privileged few as most people either settle for weekends in the countryside, or if already living there seek out a river to bathe in nearby.

I always consider that phase of summer being over after the last of the summer festivals. That is San Blas on the 3rd February. Once that last summer party is over it is time for everyone to head back to work, and for children to think about the approach of the new school year.

This makes February the worst of the summer months. By then the novelty of a bright sun and 40 C of heat has well and truly worn off.

Everyone all across Paraguay waits impatiently for the weather to break and the air to have a slightly more autumnal feel to it.

That always happens at some point during the second half of February. The is no certainty as to when the weather will break. All that is for sure is that by March the heat will be far more pleasant.

This year has been a hot and very dry summer. It remained around 40 C for days on end and the rains didn’t fall. The normal pattern is for the heat to build then every week or two for a storm to freshen the air and bring the temperature down for a couple of days.

However the storms did not come this year. The last was over Christmas. The result was day after day of extreme heat and hot and humid nights.

I spent much of December and January in England and so missed most of the summer. It was though still very hot when I returned to Paraguay in late January.

All the humidity in the air meant it took much longer than normal to adjust from the cold of and English winter to the heat of a Paraguayan summer. It was a couple of weeks before I was fully at ease with all the heat.

Now in mid February is seems that the highest of the temperatures may be over for this year.

A blanket of thick cloud rolled up from Argentina and overnight the temperature dropped 10 C and the humidity vanished.

There are many reasons why Paraguay traps differing amounts of heat from year to year. Global and continental weather patterns are the real drivers. However behind it all the undeniable fact the Paraguay like elsewhere in the world is by incremental steps becoming a hotter place.

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Paraguay’s national instrument the Paraguayan Harp https://simonsparaguay.com/paraguays-national-instrument-the-paraguayan-harp/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=paraguays-national-instrument-the-paraguayan-harp https://simonsparaguay.com/paraguays-national-instrument-the-paraguayan-harp/#respond Wed, 29 Nov 2023 17:38:28 +0000 https://simonsparaguay.com/?p=1412 In June 2023 a 15 metre tall statue of a harp was installed along the Costanera in Asuncion. This is a monument to the Paraguayan harp the national instrument of Paraguay. The statue is made of metal and being positioned along the road leading from the airport to Asuncion city centre is one of the […]

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In June 2023 a 15 metre tall statue of a harp was installed along the Costanera in Asuncion.

This is a monument to the Paraguayan harp the national instrument of Paraguay.

The statue is made of metal and being positioned along the road leading from the airport to Asuncion city centre is one of the first images of Paraguay many visitors will see.

It was built as both a monument to the country’s national instrument and to pay homage to Felix Perez Cardozo.

Felix Perez Cardozo (1908-1952) was one of the best know harpists and a composer of many pieces of music for it.

The monument itself was made by the artist Junapi Pistilli.

On the day of the installation of the monument a large festival of Paraguayan harp music was held on the lawn in front of it.

The Monument to the Paraguayan Harp has become a popular place to visit and take photos. There is even a stand to hold the phones of those wishing to take a selfie with the harp.

Roots of the Paraguayan Harp can be traced back to the arrival of Christian missionaries with the Spanish.

They sought to bring religion along with some of their European culture to the Guarani of Paraguay.

It was the Franciscans who first noticed the natural musical talents of the Guarani. They taught them an number of instruments to be played alongside the singing of hymns. Of all these it was in the harp that the Guarani found the greatest mastery.

Once the missionaries departed the Guarani did not disguard all they had bought with them. The harp they retained and it soon found a central role in their culture.

To their myths and legends it gave a musical backing. Thus becoming as interwoven with their lives as the tales it’s players told.

The Paraguayan harp had also by this time developed its distinctive look and sound. This makes it a little different from the European harps such as the Irish one from which it is ultimately derived.

A wooden Paraguayan harp stands about 5 feet tall and weighing about 10 pounds is somewhat lighter than a European harp. This makes it easier for it’s owner to carry from one performance to the next.

All Paraguayan harps though are not made equal. In terms of strings a harp may have a few as 32 or as many as 46.

These strings are lightly strung and plucked with the fingernails.

For a long time the sound of the harp resonated solely within Paraguay’s borders. Then between the 1930s and 1950s it broke out beyond Paraguay. During that time a number of professional harpist took the sound of the Paraguayan harp all around the world.

This heightened exposure did not though dilute the cultural significance of the harp. The tunes these performers played remained the ones they had bought with them from Paraguay.

A few of these tunes such as Pajaro Campana and La Missonera have become staples of the harp and are preformed whenever there is a recital.

Most tunes though remain unwritten. These are passed orally from master to student with anyone free to make their own additions.

The great majority of these tunes covers themes of national identity and Paraguayan pride. Accordingly there is often a need for new tunes to be written for subjects as diverse as football teams and politicians.

Styles of music for which Paraguayan harp music is most often written are Polka Paraguayas and Guaranies. Both of which provide music to dance to. The soundtrack to many traditional Paraguayan dances.

For a long time the playing of the harp was very much a male occupation. Even now bands of travelling musicians will almost always be all male.

It was not until the late 20th century that woman took up harp playing. Very different from the image of the female European harpist.

Now though although harp playing remains mostly a male preserve there are a number of women playing harps to the highest standard.

Almost no event from a family gathering to a national festival is complete without a Paraguayan harp and the Paraguayan dancing that often accompanies it.

Being such an important part of Paraguayan culture it is only natural that it has a day given over to it every year. 9th June is the National Day of the Harp.

If you are seeking the true sound of Paraguay you need look no further than that of the Paraguayan harp.

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Heroes of the Chaco Bridge, Asuncion https://simonsparaguay.com/heroes-of-the-chaco-bridge-asuncion/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=heroes-of-the-chaco-bridge-asuncion https://simonsparaguay.com/heroes-of-the-chaco-bridge-asuncion/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2023 17:00:53 +0000 https://simonsparaguay.com/?p=1409 Heroes of the Chaco Bridge, or in Spanish, Puente Heroes del Chaco, is the newest addition to the Asuncion skyline. Crossing the River Paraguay it is clearly visible from as far away as the Bay of Asuncion. That is a few kilometres downstream. From there it dominates the distant horizon. The bridge itself is a […]

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Heroes of the Chaco Bridge, or in Spanish, Puente Heroes del Chaco, is the newest addition to the Asuncion skyline.

Crossing the River Paraguay it is clearly visible from as far away as the Bay of Asuncion. That is a few kilometres downstream. From there it dominates the distant horizon.

The bridge itself is a Cable Stayed bridge. That give it a look not dissimilar to a Suspension bridge, although it works quite differently.

In a cable stayed bridge the cables descend from towers placed along the bridge rather from a cable running the length of the bridge as would be the case with a suspension bridge. The effect of this is that it is the towers themselves rather than anchorings at either end of the bridge that support the weight of the bridge deck.

Coincidentally the particular design chosen with cable radiating out from descending points on the towers is called a Harp. The harp is also the national instrument of Paraguay.

There are a number of reason for choosing a cable stayed bridge over a suspension bridge. One is purely artistic The clean, slim look of a bridge held up by cables fanning out from central towers.

Additionally there are practical reason for selecting a cable stayed bridge. Firstly the design is more suitable for shorter spans where building a suspension bridge would be impracticable.

Furthermore geology may affect the choice of design. Solid rocks are required for the anchoring of the chains of a suspension bridge, but with all the forces being passed down through the towers the quality of rocks on either bank is not an issue.

Construction of the Heroes of the Chaco bridge began in 2020 after the awarding of the contracts to do so in late 2019. The work was then done by two Paraguayan firms.

After the awarding of the contracts in December 2019 the first ground was broken on 12th June 2020. The date upon which the work began was highly symbolic marking the 85th anniversary of the end of the Chaco War.

From there work commenced at a pace with a total work force of 1,500 of whom the maximum working at one time was 900. The bridge was scheduled to open in December 2023 but was completed and open a little ahead the projected date.

To build the bridge 7.4 Km of new road ways needed to be constructed. These included viaducts 1 Km long at either end of the bridge and 450 m of the bridge itself over the River Paraguay.

Viaducts were placed at either end of the bridge to lift it above environmentally important wetland habitats along the banks of the river. In doing so anyone crossing the bridge will be able to pass across these natural areas without impacting them.

The height of the bridge deck is 29 m above the normal level of the river. Originally a slightly lower bridge had been proposed. The raised height will allow unimpeded travel for all shipping along the River Paraguay.

For the bridge deck itself the width is approximately 30 m. This allows for two lanes of traffic in each direction. Furthermore the bridge also has a cycle way and a footpath ensuring that it is accessible to all.

This bridge represents only the 3rd bridge across the River Paraguay in Paraguay. The other two are Ramanso Bridge 8 Km further up stream and Nanawa in Concepcion. As such it will represent a mayor increase in connectivity between Eastern and Western Paraguay and the only crossing in Asuncion itself.

Ramanso Bridge has become highly congested and the addition of another bridge across the river will resolve that issue.

The increased connectivity across Paraguay is also projected to improve connections across the region in general and in doing so benefit both Brazil and Argentina.

Linked by it’s 7.4 Km of roadways to the Paraguayan road network the bridge is just a few Km from Asuncion Old Town at the far end of the Costanera. From there it crosses to the town of Chaco’i on the northern bank of the river. Then from there to the growing towns north of the river and beyond.

The bridge will greatly shorten journey times to and from Asuncion and it has been designed with an anticipated capacity of 10,000 vehicles per day.

This new bridge and a number of other infrastructure projects are aimed at ensuring the continued economic growth of Paraguay. This growth will be both in Asuncion and in the towns across the country that will benefit from increased and faster connectivity.

The recent upgrading of the main East – West route across the country is another example of this policy.

For those though who are in Asuncion without any great need to get anywhere quickly the graceful profile of the Heroes of the Chaco bridge will simply be something of beauty to observe and enjoy.

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International food festival in Paraguari, Paraguay https://simonsparaguay.com/international-food-festival-in-paraguari-paraguay/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=international-food-festival-in-paraguari-paraguay https://simonsparaguay.com/international-food-festival-in-paraguari-paraguay/#respond Mon, 06 Nov 2023 16:38:21 +0000 https://simonsparaguay.com/?p=1405 This weekend was as is normally the way warm and sunny in Paraguay. To make the weekend even better there was a festival to go to. That was held on Sunday in Paraguari. A festival of food. For the first time the town was hosting an International Food Festival. Judging by the crowds it will […]

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This weekend was as is normally the way warm and sunny in Paraguay. To make the weekend even better there was a festival to go to.

That was held on Sunday in Paraguari. A festival of food.

For the first time the town was hosting an International Food Festival. Judging by the crowds it will not be the last.

Paraguari is a good sized town with all the facilities a town of it’s size would require. That includes venues suitable for housing events. These include a number of football grounds and such like.

The food festival was not held in one of those but instead at a new sports complex behind the old railway station. Here there was a large open but roofed area and next door an indoors sports hall.

It was the outdoor space that was used for the festival. The indoors hall was hosting a chess tournament but was used by some performers for their final preparations.

As I arrived I saw just how many people had come out to Paraguari for a Sunday afternoon. The streets and every bit of grass around the venue had been turned into a temporary car park.

Free parking of course along with free entry to the festival.

On top of all those arriving by there own means there was also an open topped bus travelling backwards and forwards between Paraguari and Asuncion all day bringing out groups of excited tourists.

I passed the bus just outside Paraguari. It made a very unusual sight out in the Paraguayan countryside.

Once I had parked up I headed inside to join the crowds and find out exactly what was going on.

And there were crowds, all sampling flavours from around the world.

The first thing I passed was a stall crushing sugar cane to extract the juice. That produces and cold refreshing drink known here as Mosto.

After seeing the Mosto stall at work I headed into the open air hall to see what was there. By the sheer number of people walking around with food in their hands it was clear the answer was going to be snack foods.

It may have been an International Festival but it would have been unthinkable for there not to have been Paraguayan food on offer.

The stalls selling that were on the whole along one side of the hall. Those had on them the usual Paraguayan barbecue as well as the more uniquely Paraguayan foods such as Sopa and Chipa.

Around the remaining sides of the hall stalls offering foods from all across the world had been laid out.

International foods are not a common sight in Paraguay. Often they involve considerable time and effort to obtain or are simply not available. Yet here they all were for everyone to experience.

The line up of flag covered stalls started with one from Israel and then one from the Ukraine. Food prepared by members of those communities living here in Paraguay.

Next things took a more Latin turn with offerings from Venezuela and Chile. Tasty and traditional streets foods.

After that was the produce of the local German community followed by offerings from a local organic farm.

Then finally along that side of the hall was in the corner a stall selling Japanese foods. Those manning that stall had gone the extra mile in their display. Not only was the stall decked out in Japanese flags but the staff were dressed Japanese style.

Beyond Japan and along the next side of the hall the international flavours continued.

First French, then Colombian and finally Mexican before one final stall where all the meat was rabbit.

There was so much to choose from that it took a while to decide which cuisine to try.

Eventually I settled on Venezuelan and ended up with something that was somewhat like a taco. Very nice and hot straight off the hotplate.

In addition to all the foods on offer the centre of the hall was filled with stall selling arts and crafts.

There were wood carvings, knives to cut the barbecued meat, cactus and hand crafted sauces and preserves. Plenty of bright and interesting objects to look over.

Furthermore as no Paraguayan festival would be complete without music and dancing. One end of the hall had been filled with a stage and dance floor.

Here visitors could take a seat and enjoy the various bands and displays of traditional Paraguayan music.

That was all very enjoyable, especially the Paraguayan dancing. However it was also the one failing of the festival.

Some of the bands, not helped by the tin roof, had their instruments turned up a little high. That did make it a little difficult to communicate with any of the sellers on the various food stalls.

However on such an overwhelmingly successful day that was just a small issue. One that I would hope will be rectified before the next International food festival.

Then finally outside for all those children who had had quite enough of being dragged around looking at food there were a couple of bouncy castles to play on.

All in all it was a very good afternoon and demonstrated that there is an appetite and audience for such events out in the countryside beyond Asuncion.

I look forward to it’s return and the arrival of other events with anticipation.

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Piribebuy has everything you need for living https://simonsparaguay.com/piribebuy-has-everything-you-need-for-living/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=piribebuy-has-everything-you-need-for-living https://simonsparaguay.com/piribebuy-has-everything-you-need-for-living/#comments Fri, 27 Oct 2023 17:15:30 +0000 https://simonsparaguay.com/?p=1402 The small country town of Piribebuy in Paraguay contains everything anyone living there would need. Everything for the daily business of making a home somewhere. It is though a country town. As such things like shopping malls, cinemas and international brand name stores are nowhere to be seen. Not such a bad thing as their […]

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The small country town of Piribebuy in Paraguay contains everything anyone living there would need. Everything for the daily business of making a home somewhere.

It is though a country town. As such things like shopping malls, cinemas and international brand name stores are nowhere to be seen. Not such a bad thing as their with their absence the town remains more traditional. What there is though is generally sufficient.

On those occasions when what is available in the town is not enough larger places are easily reached. Caacupe is just a short distance away and the drive into Asuncion takes less than two hours.

For the most part however when just looking for supplies everything can be found in Piribebuy.

The town has a relaxed laid back atmosphere which make shopping or simply spending time there a pleasure. It is the sort of place where no one is rushing to make their purchases and where you could just sit in a cafe for a couple of hours watching the world go by.

There is just a small compact area of the town which functions as it’s commercial centre. Two streets which bisect each other in the centre of town.

An infinitely walk able town there is hardly any need to drive from store to store outside of making trips to stock up at the supermarket.

That supermarket is modern and well stocked. It is by far the largest store in town and privately owned rather than being part of a chain.

It does mean that the bulk of anyone’s shopping can be done in one location, rather than requiring visits to a whole host of smaller stores.

Thankfully the arrival of a supermarket did not kill of the small stores and the great majority of the stores in Piribebuy are still small family owned businesses.

For general shopping the supermarket may be the only store in town you will need to visit. It is also one of the few places in Piribebuy where payments can be made with credit cards.

Heading away from the supermarket you soon reach the commercial streets where the bulk of the businesses in town have their premises.

These include stores which in other places supermarkets have driven out of business such as general stores and green grocers. These continue to attract trade and offer a more personal service than the supermarket. All the general stores in Piribebuy have had refurbishments over the past few years and continue to thrive.

The greengrocers tempt customers with fresh produce displayed out in the street.

Also in town are to be found clothing stores. Some of these sell functional items reflecting the rural nature of the surrounding countryside while others sell more fashionable clothes. The fashions on display are generally those of younger shoppers and of that market mainly aimed at the female portion.

Piribebuy is additionally like most Paraguayan towns well served by building suppliers. Everything needed for building and maintaining a house can be obtained with ease. From bricks to paint, from spades to light bulbs.

For larger purchases home delivery will be available.

Then once the house is built it will need fitting out. To that end there are a couple of national chains plus a number of local businesses selling a wide range of electrical goods and furnishings.

These again offer delivery which is usually the same day and normally free.

The town is not just somewhere to head to buy things before heading back to your house. It is also a good place to relax for a few hours.

It is a quiet town and a very easy place to walk around. There is rarely much traffic on it’s streets and there are plenty of green spaces.

In addition to a couple of large plazas Piribebuy has the Rio Piribebuy running just a couple of blocks from it’s centre. This has been laid out as a smart park where the river runs through the town.

There is a paved boulevard running along the banks of the river with ample benches from which to take in the view.

For much off the year a dam built across the river is closed. This creates a lake which is the town’s swimming pool. Access to the pool is free and unrestricted.

Piribebuy is also a town of culture and history. The town’s principal church contains a number of old carvings and items of church furniture which are all worth seeing.

Furthermore there is a well kept town museum with a helpful and knowledgeable keeper. The museum focuses on the Battle of Piribebuy and the men from Piribebuy who fought in the Chaco War.

After exploring the sights it is good take a seat and watch the world go by.

To do this in Piribebuy you may wish to visit one of the many cafes that are to be found around the town. The majority are simple traditional Paraguayan cafes supplying the local population with snacks such as empanadas and chipa along with cold drinks. Places where both locals and visitors eat.

There are a number of bars around town. They do not generally open until the evening.

In terms of restaurants there are a couple of places that offer restaurant meals, however on the whole as most of the customers are locals on their lunch breaks most places that serve meals offer simple but tasty traditional Paraguayan country dishes. These are well worth a visit to experience for the price of a few dollars real Paraguayan food.

Around Piribebuy can be found other services you may need from time to time. There are hairdressers along almost every street and dressmakers if ever that should be required along with other similar businesses.

In terms of health the town has a small hospital, a private clinic and a several health centres. There are also dentists and opticions to be found in town.

All considered with the stores and services to be found in town and the beautiful countryside that surrounds it Piribebuy is a good place to live and a very pleasant place to visit.

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Brand new modern house for sale in Piribebuy https://simonsparaguay.com/brand-new-modern-house-for-sale-in-piribebuy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=brand-new-modern-house-for-sale-in-piribebuy https://simonsparaguay.com/brand-new-modern-house-for-sale-in-piribebuy/#comments Fri, 20 Oct 2023 13:20:15 +0000 https://simonsparaguay.com/?p=1398 The small country town of Piribebuy is located in the hill country approximately 80 km from Asuncion. It is a peaceful picturesque area. All around are green open spaces, hills and crystal clear streams. Unsurprisingly given all that it is a popular resort area. Many people head out from Asuncion on a summer’s weekend to […]

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The small country town of Piribebuy is located in the hill country approximately 80 km from Asuncion. It is a peaceful picturesque area. All around are green open spaces, hills and crystal clear streams.

Unsurprisingly given all that it is a popular resort area. Many people head out from Asuncion on a summer’s weekend to enjoy it’s numerous country parks.

The town is a quiet place but contains everything anyone living in town or visiting would need. In addition to a well stocked supermarket there are bars, cafes and restaurants along with a couple of streets lined with small family owned stores.

All this makes Piribebuy a suitable candidate for somewhere to make one’s home. The Paraguayans came to realise this long ago and there have always been holiday homes belonging to residents of Asuncion and other places in and around the town.

The same factors, the ease of access to Asuncion and the prettiness of the countryside, have also drawn expats to Piribebuy. There is a small established expat community spread lightly around the area.

Enough to give new arrivals people to meet up with but too few to change the character of the town.

Many of the properties out in the countryside are rural in nature, but that is not the only way to live in and enjoy Piribebuy.

One alternative option is a small gated community that is slowly being developed on the edge of town. It currently has just three residents with a fourth house being the property that is up for sale.

The community is behind a gate and fence but those are there to define it’s borders rather than as a security requirement.

It is enclosed by a wire mesh fence not a wall and this allows for unbroken views of the surrounding countryside. The gate ensures there is no through traffic keeping down noise and allowing children to wander and explore where ever they choose.

From the paved road access is via 1 km of good unpaved road and on foot the centre of Piribebuy is just 10 minutes away.

The house that is for sale here is brand new. All is in place for an owner to move in and make it their home. It is the building shown at the top of the article.

It sits on a plot of 912 m2 of which the house occupies 180 m2. This gives ample room for a garden to be planted up and a pool to be installed.

Throughout the building the best quality of materials available have been used. From the roof to the floor tiles, from the doors to the windows. Many of those items were imported and the property is built to European standards.

For example the doors are all heavy wooden ones with solid locks and the windows contain built in sunshades to keep out the strongest of the sun’s rays. Being integral to window units they are than out of sight when not in use.

Furthermore Wi Fi is fitted and there is air conditioning in every room.

Within the house there is to be found, a lounge, a kitchen, an office, 3 bedrooms and a bathroom.

The lounge is a large spacious area with a high ceiling and a doorway out onto the terrace. As with everywhere in the house there are ample electrical sockets located at convenient points.

Facing the lounge is an open plan kitchen. Between lounge and kitchen there is a long breakfast bar and then the kitchen itself has a long worktop giving ample space for food preparation. A further door leads from the kitchen out onto the terrace.

From the lounge a corridor runs through the centre of the house to the bedrooms.

There are three bedrooms. All are of a good size and the largest, the principal bedroom again has direct access out onto the terrace.

The bathroom is spacious and in line with the rest of the house fitted with top quality fixtures. A good size shower and double wash basins.

One further room is a little smaller. This is designed as an office space but could equally well be used as a store room.

The property is priced at US$130,000 which for the quality of the build and the location is a very fair price.

For someone wishing to enjoy the peaceful and relaxed lifestyle of the Paraguayan countryside from the comfort of good quality home this house is defiantly worth some consideration.

If you are interested in this property please do get in contact with me. I will be able to supply any further details you require and if you are in Piribebuy arrange a viewing.

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Ongoing saga of a motorbike repair https://simonsparaguay.com/ongoing-saga-of-a-motorbike-repair/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ongoing-saga-of-a-motorbike-repair https://simonsparaguay.com/ongoing-saga-of-a-motorbike-repair/#respond Fri, 22 Sep 2023 18:05:14 +0000 https://simonsparaguay.com/?p=1393 This week is one that has been dominated by ongoing attempts to fix a problem with my motorbike. A repair that has dragged out over several days. It all began one afternoon at the beginning of the week when the speedometer stopped working. The needle swung back to zero and decided to stay there. Fortunately […]

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This week is one that has been dominated by ongoing attempts to fix a problem with my motorbike. A repair that has dragged out over several days.

It all began one afternoon at the beginning of the week when the speedometer stopped working. The needle swung back to zero and decided to stay there.

Fortunately I was in Piribebuy so I could head straight to the little garage I always use. Not so fortunately there was already someone there having a fairly major repair done. All I could do was sit and wait my turn.

There was little point in heading home and returning another day. I was next in the queue and if I did go home and come back another time may well have had to wait anyway.

So I made myself comfortable on a chair and sat back to watch the world go by.

Eventually after a couple of hours it was my turn. It seemed that the repair that needed doing before I could be dealt with was a more complicated one than I had first thought.

While I had been sitting there I had been hoping the the answer to my problem was that something had become disconnected. Had that been the case I envisaged a quick repair.

Unfortunately it wasn’t.

The verdict was that the speedometer unit had broken and would need to be replaced. This would need the entire dashboard removing and replacing. Again not a huge issue as surely one dashboard could be removed and a replacement connected in it’s place.

Before that was started to front wheel came off to check the bearings. I knew they would need replacing shortly, so having them changed now before work started on the dashboard was just fine.

That was swiftly done and the wheel put aside for later.

Then came the rather more complicated task of removing the dashboard. To do this the headlight first had to come off before various bolts could be removed and a whole host of wires cut.

A replacement dashboard was purchased from one of the many spare parts shops and connected up.

That however was worse than before any repairs had been started. Now the speedometer worked but the rev counter was leaping all over the place and none of the dashboard lights worked.

Talking to the mechanic I discovered that it was a common problem, Parts sold as replacements were although brand new often of such poor quality that they were worse then the broken parts they replaced.

It had by now got dark. The garage really needed to shut for the night so it was decided best if I headed home and then returned in daylight another day. Then the repair would be tackled once more.

Riding home was not a problem as mechanically there was nothing wrong with the bike. Along the way I did notice the speed was showing as a good bit higher than I knew I was going.

Therefore one morning a couple of days later I returned. Mid morning to allow whatever work was needed to be done.

In my absence it had been decided to make one working dashboard out of the parts of several. My old one, the one I had just bought and another that was lying about in the garage.

That would require opening up all three dashboards to get access to their cogs and dials as well as electrics, such as the gear selection indicator lights.

I would imagine in much of the world the stripping down of vehicle parts to cannibalise their best bits would not even be considered. Especially not a dashboard as very soon there were soon three sets of dials all registering different distances travelled from just a few up to over 30,000 lying on the workbench.

During the morning all manner of combinations were tried. They was a constant stream of components being filed, milled and adjusted. There was no way for me to tell which item had come from where.

By late morning a dashboard had been rebuilt. Then came the complicated task of wiring it in. There were rather a lot of wires. Fortunately they were colour coded to make to job of attaching each to it’s correct partner a little easier.

The various dials had all been tested individually but predictably when they were connected together none of them worked quite right.

There were a number of false starts during the morning.

It was also discovered that the gear indicator lights were not working on whichever of the dashboards was being used as a base. So a light assembly had to be swapped in from one of the others.

As the work continued to get everything into working order midday came and went.

Eventually early afternoon with one more removal of the front wheel bearings to cure a sound the wheel had been giving out for a few months it was decided by everyone that everything seemed OK. Taking the bike for a good ride was going to be the only way to test everything out properly.

Looking down at the dashboard I noticed that although the milometer did not say zero it now registered about 4,000 rather than the previous 30,000. Also the housing was far brighter and cleaner than the old one. That had had several years of exposure. Now the dials stood out brightly behind the perspex.

It happened that I was going over to Caacupe that afternoon. The run there and back would be enough check if everything was in working order.

I got there with no issue. However one the way back after riding for an hour the dashboard started to make a clicking noise and then the speedometer needle started jumping around wildly. Something had broken or was not properly connected.

So nearly had the repair been finished.

Everything else was once more as it should be. Just the small issue of not knowing my speed remained.

Whilst in town this morning I had a quick word with mechanic to let him know.

Once he sources another speedometer unit he said he will give me a call.

So early next week it will be back to the garage to try and fix finally that one last part of the dashboard. Do wish me luck!

With the poor quality of equipment, such as motorbikes, in Paraguay it is not uncommon for things to break and then for the replacement parts to be substandard. However with in ingenuity of the Paraguayan craftsman there is almost nothing that is beyond repair.

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Properties available in the Paraguayan countryside https://simonsparaguay.com/properties-available-in-the-paraguayan-countryside/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=properties-available-in-the-paraguayan-countryside https://simonsparaguay.com/properties-available-in-the-paraguayan-countryside/#comments Tue, 19 Sep 2023 18:32:49 +0000 https://simonsparaguay.com/?p=1390 Out in the Paraguayan countryside there are many properties awaiting new owners. Far more than there are buyers out there to purchase them. The result of which is that potential buyer will have many places to choose between. If they can only track down properties that are for sale. Some are listed on agents websites, […]

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Out in the Paraguayan countryside there are many properties awaiting new owners. Far more than there are buyers out there to purchase them.

The result of which is that potential buyer will have many places to choose between. If they can only track down properties that are for sale.

Some are listed on agents websites, be they national or local, but the vast majority aren’t. Those are instead simply put up for sale by their owners.

At times a sign may be put up on a fence advertising a properties availability, but more often than not there are no visual clues that somewhere is for sale.

Furthermore even if a sign is put up it may remain there slowly fading for years. It is not uncommon for someone to advertise in this way not really wanting to sell but just to test the market to see if there are any takers.

Additionally without a comprehensive system for valuing properties in place it is hard for an owner to gauge the true value of their house. Unsurprisingly this often results in properties being advertised at over valued prices. It is sensible for a home owner to start by quoting a price rather higher than he wishes to receive and then to negotiate downwards.

To seek a price that is realistic to everyone it can be of use for a buyer to look around the local area to obtain an idea of what the average prices are.

In order to do this and also to track down properties that are only advertised through word of mouth it is extremely helpful to have a local contact to help you negotiate the largely unregulated property market.

This is a service I offer in the Cordillera area. Especially around the towns of Piribebuy and Caacupe which I know best and where I have local contacts.

If this is something I could help you with the services I provide in addition to finding properties are viewing them, reporting on them, acting as a point of contact between you and the sellers and giving guidance on the legal matters relating to a property purchase.

Furthermore I would be happy to assist with any other help you required regarding properties or Paraguay in general.

As for the properties themselves many types can be found out in the Paraguayan countryside.

Here are a few of the most common ones.

Firstly there are town houses which can be found in every town or village. These are often built to the same general with most of their internal space given over to bedrooms. They normally also include a lounge or kitchen diner as well as a small garden.

These are mostly built for the local population to Paraguayan designs and styles. A small place may cost as little as $20,000 but larger properties can reach up to levels ten times that.

The larger more luxurious town houses are generally to be found on the edges of towns. They are built either by a rich Paraguayan family or by a property developer aiming for the international market.

Despite the seemingly high price of some of these properties they are far cheaper than their equivalent would be elsewhere.

Next come country houses. These tend to have larger gardens. Sometimes as much as a hectare or two and on occasion with a stretch of river. The majority are built in a style somewhere between a town house and a farm and as such generally require some modernisation.

Other country houses are in effect simply summer houses., These range from spartan up to high fashion but in almost all cases will require a bit of redesigning as however good the quality of the buildings they were built with only short term accommodation a few times of year in mind.

In this category prices range generally between $30,000 and $100,000. With of course a good number of exceptions.

Upwards from these are farm houses. The main focus of these unsurprisingly is their lands. They all are or were working farms. These lands can be many hectares in extent. Depending on the location it may be agricultural, pastoral or for timber.

A farm house may have been on the site for generations and so they are often basic in appearance. This also reflects the working nature of the properties. A rural and rustic life can be found in one of these traditional farm houses.

With the buildings themselves being generally simple and functional it is the extent of the land rather than the house itself which here dictates the price.

Land prices vary widely from area to area and even between zones within the countryside surrounding a town. Hence giving anything like a set figure is impossible. However working from a figure of $10,000 per hectare does give a rough ball park figure when trying to assess values.

There are even numerous plots of land lying unused an undeveloped upon which a country hideaway could be built.

Life in the Paraguayan countryside is a peaceful and relaxed one. Everything is green and spacious away from the crowds and pollution of the cites.

As I mentioned above my area of expertise is the countryside around the towns of Piribebuy and Caacupe. It is well known as a picturesque area, popular with sightseers. Additionally it is within easy reach Asuncion and an area that is well used to welcoming newcomers.

Elsewhere across the countryside there are variations in property prices but the styles of homes available is relatively consistent.

Even if Paraguay is not as yet on your radar as a potential place to live it may be worth giving some consideration to the quality of life it’s countryside offers.

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