Off the Beaten Track in Paraguay

What do you know about Paraguay? If the answer is pretty much nothing then you are not alone. We didn’t know anything about this country that lacks big tourist attractions and the fame of its neighbours Argentina and Brazil.

First curious fact is that Paraguay is actually one of the safest countries in South America (according to Lonely Planet). There are many warnings about scams and organised crime in Brazil, Bolivia and many other countries but for Paraguay it just says “it is a safe country to travel”. Part of the reason could be that since there are virtually no tourists, there is no organised crime network. So we have felt really relaxed here – even after dark.

This safety is even more curious here in Asunción where one can observe a striking contrast between the rich and poor. We live in an AirBnB in a rich area (pictures below from our place) and all the houses are nice, big, Mediterranean style with gates and electric wire. And of course beautiful parks. Just few blocks away from here people live in wooden shacks, that have house numbers painted on them and one portable toilet here and now. We drove past one area in the taxi and I was shocked at how dirty and run down the houses were while happy looking kids played outside.

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Four Nights in Bangkok

I do apologies for the title, but truth is we don’t have much to report from our stay in Bangkok. We’ve been to Thailand some three years ago, so didn’t feel the pressure to do sightseeing. Instead, we enjoyed the luxury of our five star hotel (which cost us about the same price as our tiny windowless box in Singapore) and spent the days working.

Luckily, we have friends everywhere. Patanon, one of Natalia’s course mates from London, returned home to Bangkok after his year in the UK, so was now happy to show us around some of the better hidden temples.

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First Days in Rio

A couple of days have passed since we arrived here and I can say we are falling in love with Rio. It is a city filled with good vibe, happy people, good food and live music. Not to mention the most beautiful beachfronts we have seen. Prior our arrival we heard many warnings on how it is dangerous it is here for tourists from gun point robberies to scams with ATMs. So we were quite stressed out landing here and taking a taxi ride to Copacabana where we rented a flat through AirBnB. But our fears were quickly dissolved when we met our AirBnB host Guta who is a true Carioca (a person born and raised in Rio) and a very nice person. She told us that Rio is not that dangerous when we just use common sense such as not going on dark side streets and not carrying cameras/phones in our hands and so on. So far we haven’t felt at all uncomfortable and are now enjoying relaxing stay.

Local life in block of flats

We live in a residential building right off the Copacabana beach. The flat we have is very nice – see Guta’s listing. She also has her own YouTube channel. Some quirky little details, do stay here when you visit Rio.

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Travelling in Germany

Just few notes from my experiences about travelling in Germany as I know some of you might be travelling there soon.

Relatively cheap food and drinks

This is one of the first things I noticed after staying a week in Finland. Food and drinks are relatively cheap compared to Scandinavia and London. For example coffee and sandwich are about EUR4, half price what you would pay on average in Helsinki – very nice. Beer price is really low – for good beer it is normal to pay somewhere between EUR2-4 depending on the place. So yes, you don’t need too big food budget in Germany.

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Cooking Class

Last weekend we were approached by a super nice receptionist from our hotel who told us that we are invited for a FREE cooking class and dinner. We were really stunned since we have seen those being offered for IDR300000. Being exhausted from all day adventures on Saturday we decided to cut our day short on Sunday and join the class.

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The dishes we made were

  1. Vegetable springrolls
  2. Chicken Satay
  3. Pepes Ikan (my favourite, fish wrapped in banana leaves)
  4. Ayam Bakar Sambal Chicken (way too complex for us to attend on our own, requires a sequence of boiling, marinating, boiling again, and so on)

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Kuala Lumpur Part 2 – Good Food, Friends, Malls and Random Oddities!

The big irony is that while Malaysia is a muslim country with pork and alcohol hard to come by, we had one of the nicest meals with pork here and a tower of beer on the house – more of that to follow. First though I should mention that food in Malaysia is certainly ticking the box of the nicest countries on our travels. I am not sure what it is exactly that makes even the simplest food so delicious – I think it is a combination of spices. And it is so cheap.

On our first day we had lunch from the street stall (we could sit down and everything) for MYR7.50 per person. It was spicy chicken, tofu, rice and a glass of ice tea. So much tastier than any street food we had in the Philippines for example.

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Food Photos from Taipei

To celebrate the fact that Markus fixed photo upload issue, this post will have lots of random photos of different meals we’ve had here. Not recommended for hungry people.

We are really growing to like the food here, though occasionally it is getting too exotic for our tastes. Generally it is heavily meat based and has a good mixture of spices. Stews are common where they put many different vegetables and almost always cabbage. And of course some meat (usually pork, at least I think so) and egg. The dishes almost always come with rice.

It is also surprisingly cheap, we realised that we are spending much less money here than on heavily touristy Boracay. Anyway, to food pics as promised. Read More »