Useful Paraguay Travel Tips

Paraguay is the second poorest country after Bolivia in South America. The people are friendly and the pace is slow. The country has about 6.7 million people and 2.3 million of them live in the capital city, Asuncion.Here are 18 tips on traveling to Paraguay:1. Spanish and Guarani are widely spoken in Paraguay.2. Summer is extremely hot and can be up to 40 degrees Celsius according to the locals. Our visit was in winter. You do need a light jacket at night and early morning. Trinidad was extremely cold at night and early morning. You need winter clothes in this part of Paraguay, bordering Argentina in the northwest.3. Time zone in Paraguay is the same as US Eastern Time.4. Electricity is 220 volts.5. Official currency is Guaraní. During our visit it was US$1 to 4400 Guaranis.6. You can withdraw US dollars or local guaranis in major bank ATMs in Paraguay. We withdrew ours at HSBC bank along Calle Palma.7. Money exchange can be made at the border town of Cuidad del Este if you are traveling by a local or tour bus from Foz do Iguacu, Brazil.8. Most shops prefer cash in Paraguay and do not accept credit cards.9. If you need to consult with a bank official, banking hours are between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. from Monday to Friday.10. Tipping is 10% in restaurants and bars.11. You can travel cheaply by bus from Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Brazil to Paraguay. I do not have the experience but I’ve seen bus ticket counters in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay that sells tickets to Asuncion, Paraguay. You will have to be aware of the need to go through immigration and customs on your own.12. Americans need Paraguayan visas. It costs US$160 per person and lasts until the passport expires.13. There are American fast food restaurants in Asuncion like McDonald’s and Burger King.14. We were careful with fruit juices and salads while eating in Paraguay. On our first night in Asuncion we asked for stir-fried vegetables instead of salad. BAD choice… we were given fried salad (tomatoes, shredded carrots and lettuce).15. Services at restaurants are slower than expected. So be patient.16. Get a hair cut in Asuncion. It is cheap. My son got one at Ayala, across the Grand Palace Hotel for USD4.50 by a barber who has 40 years of experience. He paid US$25 in Florida, US$10 in Mendoza, US$15 in Montevideo and US$13 in Sao Paulo.17. Tap water is drinkable in Paraguay according to the Paraguay Tourism Board. We bought bottled water.18. Airport tax is US$31.Do you have any travel tips to Paraguay?

10 Easy Saddle Fitting Tips

If you want a good fit take a few minutes and answer these basic questions.

1. How much does your horse weigh? If a 1000 lbs or more, look to a Full Quarterhorse Bar (FQHB)/wide saddle.

2. What kind of withers does your horse have? Mutton-withered? Look to a FQHB if your horse is anywhere close to a 1000 lbs. i.e. 900 lbs or more.

3. Consider your horse’s back. Is he wide or narrow? Can’t tell? A wide back will require a FQHB. A narrow back will need a semi-quarterhorse bars.

4. Is your horse short backed? Look for a shorter skirt or round skirt saddle. You don’t want the saddle skirts to rub the horse’s hips.

5. Is your horse gaited? Seriously consider a gaited saddle. Gaited saddles have more rock with wider bars in the front and are smaller in the back to allow for the movement of their shoulders.

6. What is your budget? Be reasonable in your expectations. Leather saddles cost more than cordura saddles. You will find few leather saddles for under $500, so be realistic. Most of the time you will get what you pay for.

7. Consider what you are going to do with this saddle. Yes, the trail saddle looks nice, but you won’t rope off of it for long.

8. What seat size do you need to look for?

9. What saddle pad will work? Most horses do not need special pads, but some horses do. Think about what will work, and do the necessary research.

10. Answer all the questions. All these questions need to be considered to insure a good fit. If you don’t answer all the questions you may find a saddle that fits and you might not.

Home Buying 101

Whether you’re buying your first home or your 21st home, it’s never easy to find exactly the right house. Finding your dream house requires patience and persistence.Let’s be honest. Buying a house is an emotional decision, as well as a rational, financial one. Take my friend Trina, for example. Trina was house hunting one day in the early spring when her broker showed a house with daffodils blooming by the front door. Trina instantly fell in love with the house, despite the fact that it had 2 bathrooms instead of 3, and a den but only 3 bedrooms. It also had a formal dining room, not the great room that Trina really wanted. But, it had daffodils blooming by the front walk. Trina and her husband bought the house, and started expensive renovations. Five years later, they have the house they’ve always dreamed of, but at a price.”Looking back, it would have been a lot cheaper for me to find a house with all the features that we needed, and plant daffodils!” Trina says.It’s important to know exactly what you are looking for, when you buy a house. If Trina had made a list of her wants and needs before she started house hunting, she could have saved herself years of noisy, messy renovations.Before you open the real estate section of a newspaper, or contact a real estate agent, sit down with a pencil and paper and make a list of your wants and needs. If you are buying the house with someone else, have them make their own separate list. Then, compare the two.The first question you need to ask is, “What do I need in a house?” For Trina, the answer was 4 bedrooms and 3 baths in her children’s current school district. With the birth of her third son, the family had simply outgrown their current home.Your list of needs might be totally different. Maybe you need a house on one level, so that you won’t have to climb stairs. Maybe you need a big, sunny kitchen, a spacious family room, or a yard large enough for soccer. Maybe you need an area with no restrictions on having a home-based business.Next, ask yourself “What do I want in a house?” Maybe you’d love a great view, open, sunny rooms, cathedral ceilings, a fireplace, a walk-in closet or solar heating.Finally, ask yourself “What do I hate?” Make a list of the features that you will not accept in your new home. For Trina, Tudor-style architecture is high on that list. “Our old house was Tudor style. It was so dark, and the rooms were so ugly, that I soon hated it!”Now, compare your list with your partner’s. Are there items that both of you want or need? That’s a good start. Are some of your “hates” on your partner’s “wants” list? If so, you’ll need to discuss it and compromise.Finally, create a master list with all the needs, wants and hates for the two of you as a couple. This is your home buying guide.
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