Asunción – Paraguay

As I mentioned on flickr last week, I went to Asunción, Paraguay for the weekend. It was a long journey. We left Londrina at 5:30 a.m. and arrived in Foz do Iguaçu at noon.

There we had lunch and left the car at a hotel’s parking lot. it’s not safe to go inside Paraguay by car. Why? Because from 1964 to 1870 there was a war… Paraguay against Brazil, Argentina and Uruguai.

Yeah, that little country was shed into smithereens and they still blame us for ruining their country. You see, just because 70% of all male population (11 years old to 70) was decimated and the entire country still looks like it was raided by zombies, they use that as an excuse to hate on us and to exploit us and black mail us all the 300 kilometers from Ciudad del Este (bordering city to Foz do Iguaçú) to Asunción.

“Policemen” stay along the entire road (there is only one) coming up with the most ridiculous excuses to give you a ticket that would set your heart to an arrest, but all can be settled right then and there, with a *little* kickback.

Very well, we crossed the gross Ciudad del Este’s entrance and got to the bus Station and on we went with our trip.

There were lots of miserable small villages along the road that wouldn’t strech farther than a couple of hundred yards from the road. Sad sad situation, ugly scenery.

The three snap shots bellow were taken from inside the bus, and the two first photos display houses that were quite big compared to the others I saw along the way. There were some really impossible small ones, some around 2×2 meters!!

Did you notice the “fog” in the last photo? Weird, huh? I was quite puzzled too, because it was hooot was the fifth circle of hell, and it was around 4 in the afternoon.

Only when I got to Asunción Jota explained to me that Asunción (and pretty much all the neighboring villages) is actually one of the most polluted cities in the world.

All that with near zero industries in the whole country. How come that is possible? Jota told me that Asunción is a convergence center of air masses, aka smog drain. Just it’s not drained. It is stationed atop the country until it rains. It has been 2 months since it rained the last time.

There aren’t many tall modern buildings in Asunción. But Renata and Jota live in one of them, at the seventh floor. The photos below are the view from their flat.

This haze, my friends, is a heavy thick unhealthy layer of the purest pollution only the burning forests of Bolivia can gift Paraguay with.

The yellow building, with a colorful roof is a brothel.

The building with chairs on the roof is a nightclub. This view if of the “little center”, the old part of the city, which ends at the lake. There is the modern center, which is actually beautiful in its “beauty islands”. Asunción is this all around. A beautiful building here, and then ugly ugly ugly ugly around it. Another beautiful building and then: ugly ugly ugly ugly.

As I had predicted, we didn’t got out much for sight seeing. I wasn’t happy with it… at all, but I knew that I was lucky to get anything at all. We only went out saturday morning…

The photos above were taken at the Pantheon, where the bones of some soldiers are buried. These are from the Chaco War. A war between Paraguay and Bolivia and the only one that Paraguay actually won, so they give it a super important status in their history… lots of things in Paraguay are named after this war.

There are many squares in Asunción and most of them are beautiful and well kept. Nearly all of them have Ipês, a tree that flowers furiously as spring approaches. There are many colors, and this time, the pink ones were showing their glory.
On the photo above, can you see a stain of “brown air” near the cathedral? I can never get over the pollution of the city…

This pink building is the city hall, which has a museum inside of it. Right behind the city hall there is the biggest slum of Paraguay.

These photos were taken inside of the city hall.

I looooved these colorful toys 🙂

That’s one of the entrances of the slum, right in front of another official building.

This is the Government Palace or Lopez Palace.

And  ships being fixed right by it…

This was the last photo I took, on the way back from Ciudad del Este to Foz do Iguaçu, from inside a taxi. I hope you have enjoyed peeking at my snap shots 🙂

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16 Responses to Asunción – Paraguay

  1. Ramon says:

    Of course I did enjoy to admire a Very Valiente Lady’s photos!
    Good Job!


  2. Leandro says:

    very nice Anna, as always!

  3. John says:

    hello – yes there are some corrupt cops in South America that are not subtle. Are these the Jacaranda trees? They are in South Africa also (in Pretoria) another african comparison : -)


  4. Rui says:

    Sempre tive curiosidade de conhecer esta capital. Adorei suas imagens, a cidade me pareceu um pouco melancólica.

  5. Jarren says:

    If I went to another country I know sight seeing would be priority. You managed however to get some great photos that capture the best and worst of the country. I am so sad for the people who have to live in those conditions houses 2×2 meters.. unbelievable and the gathering of pollution where there is no industry just kicks more dirt in the peoples faces. I feel bad for the kids who are so innocent in all of this. I always learn something from your posts and photos.

  6. Excellent reporting about a very sad situation. Large parts of Mexico are like this. You have to pay off officials and people are very poor, but the average person is always helpful and friendly. Actually come to think of it, I work with 7 programmers from 7 different countries around the world. They all came to the US complaining about the same massive corruption in their home countries!

  7. Thanks Leandro, José! 😉

    Rui >> tenho certeza que você arassaria, tiraria muitas ótimas fotos… tem coisas interessantes para fotografar… índio pra todo lado, com tempo para realmente ver a cidade, dá para fazer boas fotos…

    John >> some people call the Jacarandá as Ipê, others call Ipê as Jacarandá… it’s a bit confusing sometimes, they are a bit similar…

    Jarren >> I’m all about checking everything I can in a city when I travel ;P and I’m usually up set when I can’t, specially because of the lack of interest of others… and indeed, children seem to be unware of the real state of their conditions. Which is good in a way. Maybe.

    Patrick >> Policemen in Brazil were just as bad 15 years ago, now not so much… but with politics, I swear if I had the skills and was getting well paid, I’d kill all of those rotten people who are ru(i)nning Brazil

  8. Yes, corruption is everywhere and it is tempting to dream of having some sort of super powers where you could wipe them all out! One of my friends from Russia worked for a software company. Periodically, the police would raid their office with machine guns, go to the CEO’s office and demand the payment of ‘taxes.’ Not in a violent way but in an intimidating sort of way. And they would go from building to building right during the middle of the day with everyone watching! People just get back to work and say nothing. This only happens in Moscow and much of the country is spared this sort of behavior but Moscow is where most of the business is!


  9. Ken Timbers says:

    A brave piece of photo-journalism, AnnA – and very interesting, too. Not much tends to be known in Europe about little countries like this, and I found this an eye-opener! Well done!

  10. Doug Bauman says:

    I like all your photos of Paraguay, it is very interesting to read your story.

    “with a *little* kickback”
    – that reminds me of my trip to Romania many years ago when they were under communism.
    But that’s another time and another story…

  11. Patrick Emerson says:

    I’ve never seen anything like this set. The atmosphere is so cloudy and murky. The scenes from the courtyard and the statue with shacks beneath it are masterpieces. Despite the dreariness of the trip, you’ve created something which will be memorable forever.

    I can’t imagine visiting a brothel – let alone one set in a public building in the middle of the town. Everything has returned to a time without civilization there…..

  12. Kerry says:

    “You see, just because 70% of all male population (11 years old to 70) was decimated and the entire country still looks like it was raided by zombies, they use that as an excuse to hate on us and to exploit us and black mail us”

    Im not sure if you’re being ironic here or not, but wouldn’t you hate your neigbouring country too, if this situation was reversed? And considering that the war is still within living memory (the memory of the 30% still living) its surprising they don’t hate even more… maybe only their poverty prevents them.

    Im not saying that their corruption is right, or justified but it is, to some extent, understandable. Its not human nature to forgive easily and it will probably take a few generations before the horror of the war fades from memory…

  13. Kerry says:

    wasn’t intending to lecture you, and you would be surprised how many people wouldn’t think it was “so obviously wrong” My apologies for having an opinion, if you didnt want this to be read by people who dont know you, it would be better not to post it on the internet.

    • the internet is just as public as any other public space… it doesn’t give anyone the right to step up to me and start to trash anything they overhead me say.

      people only do that on the internet because it’s “safe”, so you don’t get a kick in the ass if you come face to face to say something stupid to me.

      and if you don’t wanna get angry responses to your comments you shouldn’t leave any.

  14. Pingback: Asunción yet again… « Anna Theodora Photography

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