Asunción was hot, wet, and fascinating. I spent a day and a half exploring the old town's grid, at first quite vigilant for the threat of violence that nearly every guidebook and travelogue promised. So much for warnings. The central city definitely feels gritty and in some places intense, though I did not feel unsafe once. More on Asunción and Paraguay to follow; for now, some more images.
Graffiti and faded posters.
The remarkably lush Plaza de los Héroes in late morning.
Government Palace from the Manzana de la Rivera complex.
Central city corner in the evening, after the torrential rains.
Friday mid-day I returned from a truly satisfying Southern Cone hopscotch, which took in Buenos Aires, Asunción, Montevideo, and Chihuahua, a beach settlement near Punta del Este. It was one of the most exciting trips I've taken in a while, full of moments of reconnection with favorite cities, exploration of new places, and the discovery of good new friends and acquaintances. I've got a lot to write about here and elsewhere on the jaunt.
Here, some highlights:
• Riding Asunción's public buses with anthropologist Christine Folch and learning a lot about Paraguay's sheerly fascinating cultures, economy, and history very quickly.
• Wandering through Punta del Este during the day and discovering that the South American Hamptons has far more charm and cute corners than the sterile corner of Long Island to which it is compared. (Apologies to any readers who enjoy the Hamptons, sort of.)
• Discovering new corners of Montevideo, including Cordón, Pocitos, and the Feria Tristán de Narvaja street market.