Last Friday we went to EXPO in Asuncion. EXPO is a lot like a livestock show/state fair/beauty pageant/business & trade show with scantily-clad women offering brochures all in one, not to mention all the food vendors too. Every year, Expo takes place around the last 2 weeks of July. It is a BIG deal. In 2014, 650,000 people visited Expo, it covered 25 hectares, there had 1650 different exhibitors! Like I said, its a big deal and it is fun!
I first went to Expo 4 years ago and then this was my second time. Not much has changed in the last 4 years. Because we didn’t want to take 2 vehicles, we all squeezed into my father-in-law’s tiny truck: him, my husband and me in the front (there is no bench either) and Lore in her carseat, Sofie, my mother-in-law and her mother in the backseat. Traffic in Asuncion is awful as usual, so the 13 kilometer (8 mile) drive took almost an hour and a half. After you finally arrive, park, and walk across the fields to get to the Expo grounds (which lay empty and unused all year long except for these 2 weeks), you pay for your entry. Kids 13 and under are free and adults pay only Gs18,000 ($3.50). I’d say that’s an upgrade from the US’s “2 and under= free” and $20 for adults! Immediately through the entrance that we went through are the livestock barns. Rows and rows of various breeds of prize cattle add an earthy aroma to the night air. My favorite were the massive gray Brahma steers and cows.
As you go further in to Expo, you pass exhibitions by major vehicle manufactures from all over the world: Mahindra from India, Changfeng & Guizhou from China, Daihatsu, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Toyota, and others from Japan, and of course, a few from the US. There was even an all-electric car designed and manufactured right here in Paraguay on display.
Then were the artisan stalls. These are my favorite of all the exhibits at Expo. These showcase the handiwork of Paraguayan artisans from all over the country. You can watch the artisans at work and buy directly from them. It truly is an honor to watch them work and see the beauty of their craft!
CLICK ON THE PHOTOS TO SEE THEM FULL SIZED
Then throughout the fairgrounds are covered tents with exhibits from various industries in Paraguay: solar, electric, flooring, manufacturing, plumbing, financial, education, etc… Everybody wants to give you a pamphlet and tell you how they can make their product or service work for you.
There are also some miscellaneous exhibits like this antique and rare privately owned cars we saw:
Finally–the food. Wow…the food…When I visited 4 years ago, the food vendors were all over the grounds, but this time a food court was set up with a live (death metal) band playing. The typical is available: Lomito Arabe (schwarma), Lomito (a tasty meat sandwich), savory empanadas, pizza, Hamburguesas, crepe stands, popcorn stands, etc. We treated ourselves to Lomito Arabe and sweet crepes for dinner. It was uh-mazing.
All in all, Expo is fun just to walk around and see what the heart of Paraguay is: community and culture that is holding on to the traditional old ways of doing things while slowly embracing new from all over the world, not just the US. If you’re ever in this neck of the woods the last part of July, try to make it to Expo. The drive is worth it!