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Living with the Paraguayans

Paraguay is a Latin country and as in many if not all Latin countries punctuality isn’t high on the list of priorities. When setting up a meeting, either private or for business you should be aware that your Paraguayan counterpart will probably be late maybe even really late. The time you have to wait can be from 15 minutes up to a couple of hours, depending on the previous commitments your friend has to fulfil before meeting you. With time even the most punctual expat will get accustomed to this habit of their new co-patriots.


Just be aware that not being on time doesn’t apply to social meetings only. If you have to get some repairs done in your house or wait for the guy from the telephone company to set up your phone and internet, 2:00 pm doesn’t actually mean 2:00 pm. It can be anything from 4:00 pm to closing hours or any other day in the week.


Paraguayans are very friendly people and when you move to your new neighborhood you should start saying hello to your new neighbors from the start. When walking or driving down the street a friendly “hola” goes a long way. People will get to know you and if you need any help or assistance they will not doubt to come to your rescue. After some time you will be invited to their homes and even though your Spanish might be just rudimentary you should go, as it is a sign, that your neighbors accepted you as part of their community and family. Always bring something to drink like a bottle of wine or a dessert for the hosts.


And as mentioned before don’t expect to get your food served the minute you arrive. If the invitation says 7:00 pm guests won’t arrive until 8:00 pm and the dinner, most of the times a great barbecue, will start even later. Just enjoy your time with your new friends and have a great time with great people, good food, music and wine.


Paraguayans love their tereré, which is basically the yerba mate tea known in Argentina but prepared with ice cubes, ice water, and fruit, fruit juice, sweeteners, or herbs. A Paraguayan is rarely found far from their “equipo de tereré,” or tereré gear, which consists of their “guampa” (a cup shaped like a cow’s horn), “bombilla” (filtered straw) and “termo” (thermos). In the countryside, people tend to use a jar or pitcher rather than a termo. Paraguayans drink the tea year-round and throughout the day. In the morning, people often add medicinal herbs, leaves and roots to the water. Some herbs target indigestion, others lower blood pressure, and some are just for flavor. So just get your tereré gear and your tea and join your new friends in their daily routine.


Paraguayans are fond of sports. While football (soccer) is the most popular sport, fishing, tennis, basketball, and golf are also common. The annual Transchaco Rally, a three-day motor rally covering thousands of miles of dirt roads of the sparsely populated Paraguayan Chaco, is held in September. So if you are an active person who likes outdoor activities you will be right at home in Paraguay.

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