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Old 08-27-2013, 05:31 AM   #61
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Drag Race Staged Rally

The traffic lights on route 2 often include one of these.





You know exactly how many seconds before you have to gun it hard to run the fresh red light. No such thing as a stale green light here.

The thing you have to be careful of, though, is that the other guys have the same thing.





Plus, just like a drag race, it cycles from red to yellow to green. So, after a light turns red, the motorcycles continue to split lanes and filter to the front. Sometimes 5 or 10 motorcycles sit at the front and wait for the crossing light to turn red. They don't even wait for the yellow before the green to gun it and race to the next light. Even with the tiny 150 cc engine, the Kenton accelerates far better than all the cars and between stop lights, it's just you and the other bikes out front.

Rally rules. If you're moving slower, you pull to the right to let overtaking traffic pass. On a multi-lane road, if you're in front and thinking of changing lanes, just do it, they will almost always slow down and give you space. While changing lanes, a quick shoulder check on a bike acts like a turn signal.

My wife, after riding with me for a few weeks, said two things: "The traffic isn't as bad as I thought it was." and "Paraguay is a lot smaller if you don't have to travel it by bus."
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Old 08-27-2013, 01:43 PM   #62
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Great report mate!, it is amazing to find another inmate yet in Paraguay!!. Drop me some lines and let´s get together for some asado (if there is another way to celebrate friendship here jaja). rirolone at hotmail dot com.
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Old 08-27-2013, 03:25 PM   #63
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Great report!

I've never been to Paraguay, but I've spent some time in South America, and I've looked longingly at the motorcycle shops down there.

I also started a thread about toilets in developing countries, but the adults here couldn't have a normal conversation about bathrooms, so it was punted to jo momma.

From your description, your wife isn't a local, but merely has family who lives there, is that correct?

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Old 08-27-2013, 04:56 PM   #64
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Che rembireko

Jamie,

Less than a week after I arrived in Paraguay in 2003 for a year of teaching, I met the one who was to be my wife. She is Paraguayan. And she fell in love with this wonderful unitedstatesian. We courted and she followed me back to the US on a fiance visa where we were married in 2005 and now have two fabulous children.

So her parents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and friends all live in Paraguay. That's who we visit while we're there.
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Old 08-27-2013, 05:15 PM   #65
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Asado

You're right, Sandino.

There is no other way to celebrate anything but with asado. The meat is fabulous. I even developed a taste for chinchulín and every other organ imaginable. My favorite organ feast was liver, kidney, and heart from a freshly killed pig

But I still can't stomach caldo ava.

What are you doing in Paraguay? I hoped that somebody reading this was in Paraguay, but never really expected it.
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Old 08-27-2013, 09:09 PM   #66
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Goodbye, Dear Friend

Today I said goodbye to a dear friend. She was my first. My true love. We had so many good times together that I could barely stand to let her go. Content with what I gave her, she never demanded much time or many gifts and was always ready for adventure. From zero degrees to 95, we hit the town, went to work together, or headed off on double dates with other couples. Sometimes we loaded up with groceries for the week and sometimes just enjoyed the wind in our hair.

37 on a flat and 41 on a downhill was the best she could give, but we could outrun the best of them on a really curvy grade. She never threw a shoe in those five years and I learned so much from her.

Tears were shed. Fare thee well, Little Red Ruckus.





My brick alley, by the way, is about 17.2 times better than the rock streets of Paraguay.
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Old 08-27-2013, 09:41 PM   #67
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This report is one of my favorites. Paraguay looks like a very interesting country. I'm embarassed to admit how little I know about the place; thank you for expanding my knowledge a bit with your excellent writing and pics. I've really enjoyed riding along with you on your Chinabike.

And who wouldn't love a place where the president chooses a 1970's Caprice convertible as his parade vehicle?
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Old 08-29-2013, 09:05 AM   #68
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No Insurance? No Plate? No Problem!

I did things in Paraguay that I wouldn't even think of doing in Pittsburgh.

I had no vehicle insurance, but it's rare and doesn't seem to be required. If you have an accident that's not serious, most people pull over and settle it there. With cash. So I always carried some.

No license plate either. Now that's required, but I took informal surveys by looking for plates in the supermarket motorcycle parking. Never more than 50% of motorcycles had plates. It costs 500,000 guaranies (> $100) to process the plate, but only about 20,000 for the "ticket" if the police pull you over and you don't have all the proper paperwork.

I just put on my helmet and my high vis reflective vest, turned on my headlight and rode fast. In 2500 km over 4 weeks, the police always waved me past.
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Old 09-06-2013, 04:25 AM   #69
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Last Gasp

After dropping my family off at the bus stop after our first ride together - all four of us - on the motorcycle - I just had to have one last adventure so I continued on to Nueva Italia.

I arrived in the town and took the first dirt road to the right. I found out later that it was called Calle Primera - First Street.





It went on for a couple of kilometers and then started dropping toward the water.





Such confidence had I in my little bike that I just kept on going past the large group of scary teenagers and all the deep sand that made my bike wiggle. Then the road ended and the dirt changed colors. Little paths split off in several directions and I wondered "Do I take the road less traveled?"





Or do I take to the field?





Since the paths didn't go far, I took to the field. But I had to stop for this mansion. Three floors? Out here? I have to check that out!





But the water was calling me so I continued wandering along the field.





Then I hit the water so I turned off the bike and began to explore on foot. The swamp reminded me of The Lord of the Rings and The Sword of Shannara. I have always wanted to be one of the heroes who creeps along quietly, avoiding the deep water and battling the swamp monsters whose stories I heard from the ancients as a child.





No multi-limbed monsters arose from the swamp, just some guy with a machete. When I see a guy with a machete, I immediately think I'm in trouble. I saw a man in Harlem years ago threaten a neighbor by smacking the flat of his machete blade on the wall of his brownstone. The police showed up a bit later and had a conversation with him. Apparently he had done it before and he wasn't a real threat so they didn't take him away.

Anyway, after thinking that the swamp man is going to lop my head off, I reminded myself that machetes are common tools around here and that the man was no threat. We greeted each other and he asked if I wanted to drink terere with him.

Sure! We wandered over to his motorcycle and started to talk.

...
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Old 09-06-2013, 05:49 PM   #70
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The Men of Nueva Italia

Ruben told me his story. He was working for the municipality and cutting the grass. And not in the way you might think. He is a gardener and there is some really nice grass here.





He was waiting for the truck to pick up the grass. It never came.

So he told me about his job and his family. 22 years ago, his wife was diagnosed with uterine cancer soon after the birth of their first child. They went to a healing service at a local church and she was healed - now they have four kids. He invited me to the church and gave me his phone number just in case I had any prayer concerns. Nice guy. I asked if I could take a picture and he hopped on the bike. Perfect.





While we talked, I looked at the ground and saw fresh water crab parts. Ruben told me that sometimes the water floods the area and the crabs are pretty common. I never knew.





He showed me a path into the marshes and we parted. I went out as far as I could and found this.





Maybe it was pulled into the swamp by an alligator. Or something more sinister. I really wanted the skull for my collection but I just didn't know where I'd put it or how I'd get it home on the plane without getting caught.

The water was connected, I was told later by my family, to the Lago Ypoa. It was peaceful.





I went back to the bike and was joined by another friend. He sniffed around for a bit and continued on.





So I moved on toward the big house.











It was surrounded by a barbed wire fence and it looked almost abandoned. Actually it felt abandoned, but there was a cow out front and I could hear chickens out back.

So I jumped the fence, all the time thinking I was crazy. Whatever. This was my last good ride here and most people are friendly.

The first floor was almost totally open so I entered far enough that I could see tools - a huge machete, of course - and a few steps farther were two dogs. Gotta go. I quietly turned tail and walked off until, half way to the gate, someone called to me from the upper floor. ...
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Old 09-08-2013, 06:48 AM   #71
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Maximo

I turned to greet the man who called to me from the second floor. "Where are you from?" He asked. What do you say when somebody hi-vis yellow and a helmet is trespassing on your property? I responded with a friendly hello and a smile. He repeated his question and I answered that I was from San Lorenzo and that I saw his house as I was passing through the area.

"No, what country are you from?"

"Oh, I'm unitedstatesian and I am here visiting family.

"Come in, come up"

I was a bit hesitant and kinda wanted to run to the bike and escape, but he walked down the stairs and I walked toward the house.





We walked up the staircase together and looked out from the second floor. I set down my helmet and gloves and he showed me around his house.

The dining room, living room, kitchen, and two large bedrooms were on the second floor. Every room was huge and everything was finished except for the kitchen - it needed cabinets and a stove. The rest of it was just big and beautiful - one of the nicest places I have seen in Paraguay. The bedrooms were expansive with beautiful windows and individual bathrooms.

From the balcony on the left side of the picture we listened to the fresh spring water bubbling out of his artesian well. When the water tank on the roof is low, the pump sends water to fill it. Otherwise the water flows toward the chicken coop.

He showed me the three bedrooms on the third floor. That was where he invited me to stay at his house whenever I wanted. If I or my family needed a break from the city, this was were it should be. He wanted me to come over for an asado, but I told him we were leaving in three days and that just wasn't going to be possible.

He had asked about my family and I explained. Then I asked if he was married or had kids - "I never married but I have lots of kids everywhere." He was 67 and a retired police chief. Down here that explains a lot. He asked for my wife's phone number, called from his cell phone, and talked with my wife's sister for a while.

This was the view from the third floor.





Then we went to the lowest floor. There were columns everywhere to support the house, but it was almost completely open with a quincho at one corner - the grill was big enough to grill two cows. The two guard dogs were down there too and he told me to give them space - I'm glad they weren't loose since I was definitely trespassing.

As I left, he reiterated his invitation to stay. His property, he said, extended to the water, and there was a pool in the back. I told him that I would give my father-in-law his invitation and his phone number. I hope they get together.

I headed off into the sunset.




...
...
...
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Old 09-10-2013, 07:15 PM   #72
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After the Sunset

Ruben had told me that the cerro in the background of the following picture is an interesting place and since sunset is around 5:30 every night, I had plenty of time but no more daylight.





So I headed back to the paved road and started looking for Calle Quinta - Fifth Street. Ruben said that I just follow fifth street until it ends.

With my anemic forward beam highlighting the fact that there were no street signs, I just counted to five and stopped at a corner store to ask for directions. I asked in Spanish and she responded in the standard street mix of Guaraní and Spanish - "Guarañol" - kinda like Spanglish but much cooler. I caught "proxima calle" and "mombyry." I asked another related question in Spanish and caught "allaite." So it's apparently the next street and the cerro is pretty far away. Pretty far away could mean "I don't know why you would want to go there" or "I hardly ever get out there since I own this shop and have no time for games." I bought some yummy wafer cookies and headed to Calle Quinta.

The sand got deeper and the vehicles got fewer and it got darker and darker as I continued on. The road ended so I continued on through the field. Slowly. And I am glad I went slowly since the field ended in the swamp again and the water level was the same as that of the field.

I returned a took a few more streets - left and right, left and right.

I never found the cerro, but I turned off the lights and sat under the stars for a while since this was to be my last chance before my return to the Burgh.
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Old 09-12-2013, 04:48 AM   #73
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Hi
Loving this writeup!
Well interesting,
please keep it up.
Lights-wise I fitted LED DRL lights to my bike for winter.
About £6 from china for 6W lights
Test them if you get them,the first I bought turned out to be .6W(full refund)
Good luck!
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Old 09-12-2013, 12:35 PM   #74
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Great RR. I like the subtle things you notice or focus on. Its original and refreshing. Will look for stuff from you in the future..
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Old 09-18-2013, 08:06 AM   #75
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Transfer of Power

Just like the presidential inauguration on August 15th, I knew the time had come to transfer the moto keys to her rightful owner.

The night before we returned to the US, sitting at the dining room table, we had a little ceremony. "The time has come for a transfer of power," I said, as I handed him the keys and paperwork. "Thank you for the privilege of the use of your motorcycle for these weeks. We have really appreciated the adventures it has afforded us and the greater understanding of Paraguay we now have."

Tears were shed. Thanks and blessings were shared. Stories were told.

Now my father-in-law is riding his new Kenton all over the city and beyond. According to what he has told me, this motorcycle is the fastest and most well-traveled of any that he has owned. For a man who has ridden about 20,000 miles a year since the early 80's, that's quite a statement.
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