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Tuesday 21 Jan 2014
Asuncion, Paraguay

Wealth Disparity

Breakfast in a beautiful courtyard garden- a huge creeper growing making a roof. Shared a bottle of pop. The buildings in Asuncion are beautiful in an old Italian style way- some of the walls are crumbling but you can see ornate balconies and details on the walls and edgings. Very picturesque.

Very striking poverty in parts of Asuncion- like Sao Paulo in the sense that it seemed people were living their lives making home in the parks and alleys. There was a water fountain by one of the parks and people were drinking, washing their clothes and bathing in it- right next to a marble floored pristine hotel. We walked down one street and a child poo'ed on the street in front of us. You also see lots of families where parents and children are all sorting rubbish out. Although also you see the families and children playing and chilling and living their life on the street really. Many of the poor people have an indigenous look about them different from other Paraguans- but we don't know the politics behind that.

We walked around the main buildings and a large cathedral. There was a big police presence around- I hate seeing police holding rifles. By a government building we saw a car which had a solid gold numberplate!!
The old book was a bit of a pain as some of the things had changed. The other pain is the arbitrary opening times things keep here- we went back to the museum twice within the opening times as we thought it was closed for siesta but alas never got in! Its also difficult to get in sync with how long siesta lasts for- so finding somewhere to eat has also been tricky.
We ended up in an English themed pub! It was quite surreal, and funny to see what is seen as quintessentially British in a pub; playing very good old music which was nice to listen to- pictures of Big ben and London Bridge; posters up that I can remember from the 90's; chintzy lampshades; traditional bar.

Then for dinner we went and had a chicken and cabbage dish, alongside calamari fried rice. Most dishes seem to be to share in Paraguay- who love to share everything! So they serve your dishes in large portions to the middle of the table then you share them.
Another very hot and sticky night, even with 2 fans! Also, I am getting a smokers style cough- I think because of the pollution here- all the vehicles spit black smoke. There are lots of cough sweets for sale in the corner shops and we have even seen adverts for nebulizers so I think it must be something other people struggle with too!

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