Home > Paraguay > Welcome to Paraguay Relocation

Welcome to Paraguay Relocation

Panteon in Plaza de los Heroes

Our first impression of Paraguay was of red soil, palm trees and the Paraguay river. We arrived  by plane on a friday morning in august 2010. It had been a long journey from the UK and we were tired, but it reminded us of Sri Lanka. This was a good start, we like Sri Lanka.

We had never been to South America before but had decided to emigrate as we were newly retired and felt that we had poor prospects going forward in the UK. This was the opportunity for a new life and one that we were excited to take. We chose Paraguay as it fulfilled our criteria of adequate water and farmland, a young population and a reasonable cost of living.

We had our documents legalised at the Paraguayan consulate in London before we arrived and were able to begin the permanent residency process immediately. We had arranged for a lawyer to help us before we arrived via a contact we had made in the UK. We have now been granted permanent residency. The whole process took seven months and we are really beginning to feel like this is home.

At first we thought that Paraguay reminded us of different places that we had been to on previous holidays. It had buses spewing fumes like in some Mediterranean cities. There is an elegance to central Asuncion that was familiar enough, but each time something felt different. Asuncion has it’s own identity. There are still some aspects of life that have been lost in places like London. There are stalls selling chipa, the Paraguayan staple made from maize or manioc flour, campesinos selling indigenous art in the streets. The buses have vendors jumping on and off, selling everything from soft drinks and snacks, to umbrellas and fans depending on the weather and my favourite, the man that sells radio antennas, batteries and cotton. Life seems to be lead at a less frantic pace.

There are modern stores for clothes and household necessities and a wide variety of places to eat. There are high quality restaurants that by Paraguayan standards are expensive, but quite reasonable by western standards. There are the usual fast food chains such as Pizza Hut, Burger King and McDonalds, but not at every turn. You are just as likely to see the small Paraguayan chains such as Lomitolandia selling burgers and milanese, or Dona Chipa with the tempting smells of stuffed chipa. However, most of the eateries, especially outside the centre of Asuncion, are still privately run family bars and restaurants. In these you will find a menu that changes daily being written on chalk boards with regulars like milanese, empanadas and lomito. Every evening we see the man in the pan arabe bar around the corner from where we live preparing his fresh meat, salad and condiments.

Fruit and vegetables are cheap and usually grown in Paraguay. There is a good choice of seasonal produce. Anything that is imported is usually from Argentina or Brazil and not from the other side of the world. The supermarkets run offers twice weekly and the things on sale are often the freshest and most plentiful. Street markets also present good value options. As a life long resident of the UK, I cannot describe the difference in taste between fruit that has ripened on the vine and the refrigerated, irradiated produce that is found on the shelves of supermarkets in London.

Paraguay is considered to be  a third world country. There is no longer any railway with much of the produce  arriving by riverboat. There are asphalt roads between the major towns and cities but most other routes are either dirt or cobbled roads. in many ways, it reminds us of the UK in the 60’s.

Has my lifestyle suffered? Not in the least. I live in a country that still has old fashioned values. Families meet regularly and eat together, rather than in a series of individual meals. The electricity is hydroelectric and sustainable. There is cable TV and plans for half of residents to be digital by 2015. There is also still a tradition of harp making, Paraguay’s national instrument as well as nanduti making, which is a delicate lace and  ao po’i, a beautiful type of cloth that is carefully embroidered and still worn with pride by professionals and as formal ware.

The fixed line telephone network is expensive for calls to mobiles and abroad, and is old. As a result 85% of the population have mobile phones. There is a fixed line internet option, but it is just as easy to get WIFI. The service speed has improved recently and is fast enough for VOIP. The cost is about double, at £25 a month, for similar speeds in the UK.

Paraguay is also a very colourful country. With it’s subtropical climate there are always trees and flowers in bloom. The local park gives a small taste of the vast array of plants and trees in the hundreds of miles of Paraguay countryside that we have yet to explore. Your find orange, lemon and pomelo trees everywhere, laden with fruit growing all over Asuncion.  There is stunning abundance here.

We hope to offer short articles on daily life, the cost of living and other areas of interest to people contemplating a relocation to a country that we have found to be a wonderful place for any age group.

Advertisements
Categories: Paraguay
  1. Brad
    March 29, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Wow,

    You’ve really captured the feel of ASU, makes me smell/taste/feel it as I read. Congratulations for an auspicious start and thanks for sharing it with us “wannabe’s”!

    Brad

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: