We arrived in Asuncion, Paraguay on a humid, rainy Sunday afternoon. As we walked down the jetway, we were met by our new team, Mabel and Jazmin from the local U.S. Embassy.
Mabel was holding a sign with an American flag and my name on it, and she navigated the airport with speed like I’ve never seen before. She knew all the staff at the airport, and led us directly to the window where we acquired our Paraguayan visas. We breezed through customs, all the airport staff said “¡Hola Mabel!” as we went by, and we were met by a Suburban to take us to the hotel. It was really something.
When we checked into our hotel, there was a small lizard in our room. The front desk staff came to take a look and said he was harmless. Lesleigh and I stood on the bed with a garbage can and the local info binder from our room, and ushered the lizard into the bin. Ben got some footage of Lesleigh and me corralling the reptile. It’s nice to be working as a team on and off the stage.
Post-lizard capturing adventure, our attention turned to a less-exciting necessity of lengthy travel… We were in dire need of laundry facilities (which we’ve been seeking since Belém, but we haven’t had a day off since we started the tour). We prepared our two weeks of dirty clothes and walked through the streets to a local laundromat service.
It’s not self-serve or coin operated, it’s a service here, so we were apologetic to the friendly, forgiving owner of the shop as she counted our socks and underwear with us. We are adjusting to the extreme exchange rate (approx 5,600 Paraguayan guarini to $1 U.S. Dollar), so our 27,000 guarini laundry order cost us $4.82. We are very grateful to the kind-hearted woman for her much-needed service.
I’m writing today on a van ride in the Paraguayan countryside. Our evening event last night was a four hour drive from Asuncion to Villarica. The city was celebrating its 446th anniversary, and our live concert in the Plaza de Los Héroes was part of the festivities.
There were colorful lights and banners of red, white, and blue (the colors of the Paraguayan flag) throughout the park and city. We spoke with people before the show, who spoke only Spanish, and Lesleigh and I felt proud to be able to communicate with them. Our time spent on long car rides drilling Spanish verbs on the Duolingo iPhone app while on tour in the States this spring, is paying off.
We were warmly received in Villarica, and after the concert we were invited to a reception at a local art gallery. Our hosts gave us three beautiful, handcrafted wallets that are made of leather and the local woven threads.
On our way to our concert at a local school today in Coronel Oviedo, we just stopped in a local craftsman community. We were told that under a former dictatorship, people who performed certain jobs or services were made to live in communities together. The community of Yataity makes one-of-a kind clothing. It was an amazing stop. Thank you for reading! More soon.