As promised, more on daily life.
Most of the food in Paraguay is terrible for you and delicious. The food groups are meat and bread and sweets. I'm not sure how it is possible that the obesity here is less than the United States-but on the plus side there is a lot less processed food. I've noticed a really common misconception among Americans that don't travel is that pretty much everything south of the border is Mexico. But South American cuisine is quite different than Mexican fare. Here it is all about empanadas, chipa, and asados. Alas, there are a couple of Mexican restaurants in town but nothing as good as what I could get in Denver! I do like a lot of the food I've had here, and there's actually a nice variety of restaurants too (Vietnamese, Korean, Italian, Japanese). This is good as I haven't been cooking nearly as much as I used to but hopefully my new grill will change that!
It sucks. Thank God for wine.
The men of Paraguay are serious rubberneckers. I mean, I'm surprised they don't get in more car accidents because of prolonged staring at any female. They are so obvious about it, actually turning their heads as you walk by. It is actually kind of hilarious. I've never ever felt at all threatened so I'm able to laugh it off for the most part. Last night was walking around with a guy friend and he was a little behind me and asked if it bothered me, but I have kind of gotten used to it. The other thing guys here do is honk their horns at you as they drive by. This is also kind of annoying but easy enough to mostly ignore. *It doesn't matter what you're wearing. Rubbernecking, honking, and the occasional wolf whistle occur no matter what.
However, the campus is a whole different matter. I don't know if all the Paraguayan men that work there had to go through special Anti-Rubbernecking Training or what, but they act normal. Or, you know, what I consider normal.
Paraguayans don't think Paraguay is safe....but the area I live/work in is super safe. I feel completely fine walking around at night (within reason) and have never had any problems. The biggest crimes are robberies. When we started work, a US Embassy guy came and tried to scare us all to death. Don't ride the buses, don't go downtown, don't leave the house!!! There are definitely more dangerous areas but one of the reasons I came here is that it is a safer city than most in Latin America.
As with most (or all) of Latin America, time here takes on new meanings. Here's what I've learned so far: Everything starts late. It's not just people being late. Restaurants don't open for dinner until 7 or 8. People don't go out at night until 11 or 12. They stay out until 3, 4, 5:00 a.m. So if you are an American and you are having a party, like some Americans I know, you might start it at, say, 6pm. Now Americans are also fashionably late to such things, which is fine. However, your party does not end until 4:00 a.m. That is 10 hours of party goodness!
OK local friends, what did I miss? Topics for future posts?