Paraguayan Villa Morra
Farmacenter Tel: 021 662 400, 021 611 086, Mariscal Lopez 3683 almost at Senador Long, Open 24 hrs
Farmacia Catedral Tel: 021 663 696, Shopping Mariscal Lopez in the ground floor parking lot. Mon, Wed, Thu 8am-11pm; Tue 6am-10pm; Fri-Sat 8am-12am; Sun 10am-11pm
Farmacia Catedral Tel: 021 600 723, Corner of Espana and Santa Ana, Open 24 hrs Children Begging
Begging, especially by children, is unfortunately common on the streets and buses of Asuncion. Small children will often board buses and hand out little cards with religious inscriptions for voluntary contributions. Cards are placed directly onto passenger’s laps or crossed arms and then collected after a few minutes (if you are not comfortable with this, wave your finger when they come by). Deciding whether to contribute money to children who beg is a personal decision – though it is heartbreaking, some feel that by giving money they are encouraging children to beg on behalf of their parents or guardians, often at the expense of school attendance.
Fortunately there are other ways to contribute. Many of Asuncion’s supermarkets offer school aged children part-time positions as baggers. In order to be eligible for these programs, students must maintain good grades. Tipping baggers (as well as basket boys in Agroshopping) encourages a legitimate form of labor as well as school attendance. Fundacion Dequeni is a non-profit organization that runs several programs aimed at combating child poverty – one easy way to participate in is by donating extra change at Super Seis supermarkets and Farmacenter pharmacies. The funds collected are used to purchase childrens’ school supplies. For more information visit: www.dequeni.org.py.
Servilibro Housed in a funky looking large silver structure in Plaza Uruguaya, this Paraguayan publisher is an excellent source for books on Paraguayan history and culture. Tel: 021 444 770, 021 451 105, Corner of 25 de Mayo and Mexico, www.servilibro.com.py, Mon-Fri 8am-5pm, Sat 8am-12pm
El Lector Tel: 021 491 966, 021 493 908, Corner of 25 de Mayo and Antequera, across the plaza from Servilibro in a similar silver structure, www.ellector.com.py, Mon-Fri 7am-9pm, Sat 7am-8pm, Sun 9am-5pm
Quijote Musica y Libros Tel: 021 49 14 38, Estrella 691 almost O’Leary, Mon-Fri 9am-6pm, Sat 9am-1pm
El Lector The Carmelitas branch of El Lector includes a pleasant coffee shop and has a regular lecture series. Tel: 021 610 639, 021 614 259, Avenida San Martm almost Austria, www.ellector.com.py, Mon-Fri 7am-9pm, Sat 7am-8pm, Sun 9am-5pm
Quijote Musica y Libros Tel: 021 611 813, Shopping del Sol, www.quijote.com.py, Mon-Fri 9am-9:30pm, Sat 9am-10pm, Sun 11am-9:30pm
Quijote Musica y Libros Tel: 021 608 455, Shopping Mariscal Lopez, www.quijote.com.py, Mon-Fri 9am-9:30pm, Sat 9am-10pm, Sun 11am-10pm
Several free upscale restaurants offer Wi-Fi, as do all the shopping malls. Shopping Villa Morra, Shopping del Sol, and Shopping Mall Excelsior all have cyber cafes near their food courts.
Asuncion ‘s Street Vendors
Paraguay’s informal economy is on full display in Asuncion. During the early hours of the morning and in the late afternoon, men push carts with thermoses full of steaming hot and sweet mate cocido through the streets as chiperas make the rounds to government offices, baskets balanced on their heads. Warmer summer days bring mosto vendors with portable coolers full of ice cold, sticky, sweet sugar cane juice served in plastic or aluminum cups. All types of street food are available from hamburgers, lomitos, and asaditos, to sandwiches, donuts, and even popcorn. In shady plazas and on street corners, yuyeros mash custom combinations of medicinal herbs for customers renting the necessary equipment for drinking mate and terere. Maka Indians offer indigenous handicrafts to tourists passing by. In residential areas trucks and horse drawn carts with megaphones attached wind their way through neighborhoods announcing fruits for sale.
Outside of peak hours, vendors hop on and off buses continuously, offering riders items such as candies, refreshments, fresh fruits, nail clippers, socks and toothbrushes – each of which is inexplicably hawked with a specialized intonation. Caramelo Halls throat candies and cold beverages merit a deep voice while fruit is sold at a higher pitch. Occasionally, vendors deliver elaborate, full length sales pitches for pricier products such as dictionaries and school supplies, all the while maintaining their balance as the bus lurches from stop to stop.