Vegas?  Nope, the Venetian in Macau
Vegas? Nope, the Venetian in Macau
Hassun: Osaka pressed Sushi featuring Mackerel, Prawn and Eff, Sea Bream, minced Chicken Cake covered with Poppy Seeds, small River Fish rolled with Kelp, Petit Arrowhead Bulb pickled with Sweet Vinegar and Ginger
Hassun: Osaka pressed Sushi featuring Mackerel, Prawn and Eff, Sea Bream, minced Chicken Cake covered with Poppy Seeds, small River Fish rolled with Kelp, Petit Arrowhead Bulb pickled with Sweet Vinegar and Ginger

C is for Chipá

Paraguay Comments Off
Mar 142011
C is for chipa.  On the way to San Bernardino.
C is for chipa. On the way to San Bernardino.

One of my favorite things about traveling in Paraguay are the vendors which jump on board buses at just about every stop.  They sell just about anything one could need on a long trip.  Socks to snacks.

Chipá, a type of cheese bread, is by far the most common snack and the good stuff is served warm from the oven.  I’m not quite sure how those guys manage to deliver oven-fresh chipá to the aisle of just about every passing bus but they do and it is an excellent for staving off hunger on long bus rides.

A truckload of chipa, the much-loved cheese bread eaten across Paraguay.
A truckload of chipa, the much-loved cheese bread eaten across Paraguay.

One of the  few eating establishments open in downtown  Asunción on the weekennd.One of the few eating establishments open in downtown Asunción on the weekennd.
One of the few eating establishments open in downtown Asunción on the weekennd.

Above you can see the very first place where we dined in Asunción, the capital city of Paraguay: an Esso station.  Exciting, eh?  We arrived on a Saturday afternoon from the States and, as promised, the city center is more or less dead on the weekends.  For the most part it is just you, the mosquitoes, a handful of stray dogs and endless rows of heavily-fortified storefronts (closed, of course).

After our initial failure at finding food, the clerk at the hotel clued us in to a mall of sorts with a supermarket that was a few blocks away.  We picked up some fresh fruit, crackers and other snacks and then headed back to the hotel since it was getting dark.  Sunday was equally quiet although we did track down local restaurant called Lido Bar which was open for lunch.

My first real meal in Paraguay: Ñoquís (gnocci) with tomato sauce and cheese and a fresh OJ on the side.My first real meal in Paraguay: Ñoquís (gnocci) with tomato sauce and cheese and a fresh OJ on the side.
My first real meal in Paraguay: Ñoquís (gnocci) with tomato sauce and cheese and a fresh OJ on the side.

On Monday, we awoke to an entirely different city.  Stores were open, people were rushing to work, and vendors were on the street peddling everything sunglasses to Tereré.  Sightseeing in Asunción doesn’t take too long and we were able to walk to most of the sights in the downtown area in one morning: a government palace, a few parks, a train station and a couple museums.

Later in the afternoon we jumped on a colectivo (city bus) and headed to one of the city markets.  I say “jump” because you quite literally jump on and off the buses while they are rolling!  Of course, the real fun is watching the driver weave his way through the congested streets at an easy 40MPH.  The market itself was the usual developing-country mix of cheap clothing, fresh food products and housewares.  Certainly an interesting destination.  I even got my first taste of chipá…more on that tomorrow.

Palacio de  Gobierno, Asuncion, Paraguay
Palacio de Gobierno, Asuncion, Paraguay
Asunción skyline
Asunción skyline
A busy street near Mercado 4 in Asuncion
A busy street near Mercado 4 in Asuncion
All city buses are driving with reckless abandon.  I'm certain these guys could give Indian bus drivers a run for their money!
All city buses are driving with reckless abandon. I’m certain these guys could give Indian bus drivers a run for their money!
...and horses having a snack right in the middle of it all.
…and horses having a snack right in the middle of it all.

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