Thursday, April 25, 2013

Asuncion, Paraguay, Small-Scale Charms

In Asuncion, Paraguay, Small-Scale Charms and a Complex History - " . . . Asunción, a city of about 500,000, is not poised to become the next tourism capital of South America. But it is a fascinating window into Paraguayan history and culture. Over the last 150 years, the country has been beaten up by two punishing wars and one wicked dictatorship, but has emerged with a fierce and peculiar independent spirit represented by (among other things) a national indigenous language — Guaraní — that just about everyone mixes liberally with Spanish. The city (and country) make for an interesting side trip from Buenos Aires or Iguazú Falls — or, though it would be a bold call, a trip of its own for travelers who prefer their destinations off-beat, unexplored, mighty friendly and shockingly inexpensive. Asunción was a bargain in just about every way imaginable (except for the $160 entry visa for Americans); for starters, its buses cost 2,000 guaraníes, or 50 cents at 4,000 guaraníes to the dollar, and get you just about anywhere. . . ."

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