What a change a few days makes. Last weekend we were in a big, empty house in Asuncion living out of suitcases with only meager household items and furniture that came with our house. Today, we have our car. It made all the difference in the world. I picked it up from customs at the Port of Asuncion and had my first driving adventure in Asuncion, a mid-sized city of about 750,000 inhabitants. (Actually, Paraguayans drive fairly sanely, quite uncommon considering that Paraguay is a developing country, and drivers in developing countries often drive notoriously bad.) Our vehicle arrived in record time–just two weeks after our arrival. Tomorrow, our major household shipment from Korea arrives, and I’m taking the morning off to receive the moving vans. This weekend, our air shipment is scheduled to arrive from Virginia, although I have a sneaking suspicion that our good fortune is bound to end sooner rather than later.
People at work were quite aghast at how quickly our belongings came. Many waited months for their automobiles and personal effects to arrive. We were fortunate because our vehicle and household shipment left the U.S. in early June after sitting in crates at the Port of Miami for four months. Still, forces of nature could have increased the transit time. During the southern summer season (November-February), the Paraguay River, the main waterway from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Asuncion, evaporates signifcantly, lowering the water level below what can sustain cargo barges. People moving to Asuncion between these months often find their automobiles and personal goods stuck in transit, waiting in Buenos Aires until the water of the Rio Paraguay rises again. In our case, Mother Nature was very kind to us. For a time, I almost felt a bit trapped between work, home, and whichever destination in between we could reach by taxi. Now, we have our car, and I feel much better. Asuncion does not have a subway, so one must be reliant on cars, busses, or taxis to get around time. Ah, it feels like America.
Blog Notes: Paraguay is absolutely fascinating. I will try to post some photos soon, so please stand by.