It pains me to say it.
I wanted to love it. To truly love the place.
An off-the-beaten path place that’s impossible to get to, original, authentic, and without foreigners frolicking around like dipsh*ts.
But sometimes things don’t go as planned.
Or you make the same mistake you did before, on accident again, but quickly realize what you’ve done.
See what had happened was…
I’m currently writing to you from Asuncion, Paraguay.
Unless you’re an avid traveler and/or abject degenerate like myself, you’ve probably haven’t a clue where this small South American capital lies on the map. Hell, you may not have even heard of the place before.
I certainly wouldn’t blame you.
The small country lies smack dab in the middle of South America, albeit a bit to the southern half of the continent. There’s no beaches, no mountains, and generally — no tourism.
And when I say no tourism, I mean *No Tourism* here.
Just look at this:
“From 2013-2014, Paraguay was the least visited country of South America after Guyana and Suriname, with only 610,000 international tourists (Source).
If you’re unfamiliar with tourism stats in LatAm and are thinking 600K people isn’t that small of a number, it must be noted that Mexico gets nearly 40 million tourists per year (Source).
So there’s nobody else here.
Legit no other gringos except the dudes that work at the embassy and a few international businessmen. I love this part of it.
Paraguay is authentic. Original. One unique culture. Unlike other countries in the region in a number of ways.
It’s why I initially booked three months here.
Because I wanted to get far off the beaten path and truly explore a new country.
But I made a mistake.
Climate Kills My Mood
In college, I was diagnosed with “Seasonal Affective Disorder” during my junior year.
I went on to dropout after the first semester that year and live like a raging alcoholic in the living room of my best friend’s townhome for half of next semester.
I guess some things never change ;(
Of course the diagnosis is complete and utter bullshit, but I definitely learned something about myself that year.
Something I’ve noticed throughout the years.
My mood is generally more negative and my energy levels lower in the fall — when the days start getting shorter and the sun starts going away.
I crave the sun.
It’s the exact reason why I despised Lima, Peru during my first trip to the city, but fell in love with it during my second stay.
I went to Lima in their winter months my first trip. I saw the sun maybe a handful of times during my whole month there.
On the subsequent trip, I went to Lima at the start of summer. The sun was shining day in and day out. Unsurprisingly, I loved the place.
Which brings me to ahora…
Paraguay has potential.
I could love it here. The incredibly friendly people. The rugged, rustic landscapes. The original’ness of it all. Insanely fun nightlife. Hell, the women certainly aren’t ugly either.
But in reality — I’m down, a bit bummed.
Low energy to say the least.
Oh, and not to mention, I look like a ghost. Zero color in my skin. Almost fookin’ translucent at this point.
All because of the sun.
It’s 5:19 pm currently here in Asuncion, Paraguay.
The sun set nearly 30 minutes ago.
It’s pitch black, dark as night, as I write this blog post.
That’s an early sunset no matter how you slice it. An early sunset that’s been screwing with my circadian rhythm and messing up my sleep quality.
But the early sunsets aren’t even the worst part about it.
The dreary, rainy days are even worse.
It’s rained everyday for the past week. Usually for 2-5 hours during the afternoon, the time when the sun could theoretically be shining. Instead, there’s clouds and rain until the sun sets.
The worst part?
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. I did my research. A handful of rainy days each month isn’t a big deal (Source):
A handful of days a week? That’s a whole different ballgame. That sucks. That’s the type of rain that affects your mood. The type of rain that screws up the old circadian rhythm because you miss the sun.
Not just any old rain either…
I’m talking monsoon type sh*t and flooding.
Just check out this picture of downtown Asuncion from a few weeks back after a massive rainfall:
That’s not normal, fam.
Hell, I haven’t taken an honest to goodness nap in years. I generally have enough of an issue falling asleep at night — much less during the day.
Two days ago, I took a two hour nap — knocked out, snoring and sh*t — in the middle of the afternoon as the rain came down.
That’s not productive or healthy.
And this sh*t weather is exactly why I’m considering pulling the trigger and booking a ticket to a Brazilian beach city pretty soon.
It’s gonna cost me a pretty penny in Airbnb cancelation fees and flight change fees. Probably to the tune of $1,500-1,800 extra.
But that’s a small price to pay for a little sanity and sunshine.
I wanted to love Paraguay.
The local people are cool as hell. I dig that there’s no other foreigners here. The history of the country is fascinating to me too.
But this ain’t it, fam.
The no sunshine during the day, pitch black by 5 PM just isn’t going to cut it for another two months.
Maybe I’m being a b*tch. Maybe I should suck it up. Maybe I shouldn’t change plans with the quickness. Maybe I should stay in Paraguay.
But the sun is calling my name.
The beach is begging for me to come back home. To swim, surf, and frolics in her salty goodness.
We all worship something…
And when you haven’t seen the shining sun in over a week, she’s a more than worthy deity.