Fernando de la Mora Map

Paraguayan Ice

In Paraguay, most ice comes in the form of a cylindrical bar. Plastic bags are filled with water and frozen into foot-long bars. Many people sell ice out of their homes as a way to make some extra money. You will see Se vende hielo (ice for sale) signs in front of houses throughout Paraguay. The going rate is between Gs. 500 and Gs. 1,000 per bar.

What are the advantages of Paraguayan ice tubes versus ice cubes? For one, larger chunks of ice take longer to melt. One long tube broken into two chunks will keep your water cold throughout several rounds of terere. Of course, having big blocks of ice isn’t always convenient. Sometimes smaller pieces are required. When ice cubes are nowhere to be found, Paraguayans have fun breaking bars of ice down to smaller pieces. Here are some methods for breaking ice, depending on your mood (be sure to leave the ice encased in plastic).

Civilized method: Give the ice bar a couple of forceful taps with a hard object such as a pestle or handle of a heavy serving utensil.

Brute force method: Hold on tight and smack the bar against the edge of a sink, countertop, or table.

Anger management method: First check that no one is looking. Then hurl the ice bar at the ground with all your might. This method might not result in many useable chunks but at Gs. 500 per bar it makes for a cheap thrill.

Wine

In the countryside, cheap boxed wines (such as Uvita) are popular but taste like alcoholic Kool-aid. Perhaps for this very reason, they are best consumed as clerico a wine-based fruit punch (similar to sangria) prepared during the holidays. Paraguayans also like to mix wine with Coca-Cola and often serve red wine chilled when it is hot out.

Alcohol & Cigarettes

Drinking in public is common, though mostly amongst men (with the exception of bars and nightclubs in urban areas). In the countryside, unaccompanied women rarely drink in public. Those that do, can often send the wrong message. Smoking is not particularly common though very cheap (if you are low on funds, you can even purchase individual cigarettes from smaller stores). It is common courtesy to go to the outside section of a bar or restaurant to smoke. Locally made cigars are popular amongst rural Paraguayans, although they are more often chewed rather than smoked.

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