Took the family today to the Expo here in Asuncion. If I call it the Paraguayan National Fair, then everyone in Kansas and Oklahoma will understand it exactly. German (pronounced Herman) who is our driver for the month, drove us down Avenida Transchaco and let us off there about 1o:30 this morning with a cellphone and instructions to call when we were done.
It was very clean and very safe. I felt safer there than I did at the Oklahoma state fair the last time I went. Maybe it was the Policia with the automatic rifles. There is nothing quite like seeing the good guys carry a lot of fire-power to calm the spirit. My daughters feel differently about this, so maybe I am wrong.
We saw a lot of nice cattle, hereford, brahma, brangus, and some I didn't recognize whose names didn't stick. They were all well-scrubbed just at you would expect animals to be at the fair.
The folks in attendance seemed to be middle-class and upper-middle-class for the most part. I did not see the redneck types I would've expected to see at such an event back home. Maybe I don't recognize the cultural markers or maybe it was just the time of day. We went in the morning and folks in these parts seemed geared to run later in the day.
After a week of trying to sample the local fare, I caved-in to the kids and ate a Burger King. This was a great sacrifice as there was tons--and I mean TONS--of barbecue to be had. There were sheep and goats that were being roasted on skewers over open fires. And Empanadas were to be had for a song.
This reminds me; I haven't introduced you to the empanada yet. Take a piece of pie dough about 4 inches across and pile some ground beef on one have. Put some onion and chopped up boiled egg on it for good measure. Then fold over and deep fry. This gives you an empanada de carne. Replace the beef with jamon y queso (ham and cheese) and you have an empanada de jamon y queso. This can be repeated for other fillings mutatis mutandis. They are pretty danged good as far as I am concerned and incredibly filling. But it was Whoppers and fries for us.
We bought some ponchos and other souvenir type stuff, pumping the Paraguayan economy as much as e could. The we gave German a call and he picked us up at 4:30.