Darn Cold…at 60 Degrees Fahrenheit

Storm CloudsI didn’t bring winter clothes to Paraguay. It was partly a, “I want to pack light” thing and partly a, “it’s a sub-tropical country so it doesn’t get cold, right?” thing. Well, I learned my lesson. It gets bone-breaking cold in Paraguay…starting at 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

When it dips below 80 it’s likely to be windy, but the real killer is the rain. I know, I know, it sounds crazy. I, too, grew up in a land that dipped below zero during the winter so let me explain.

The houses in Paraguay have windows but they don’t have glass. The houses have walls, one brick thick, but they don’t have insulation. The houses have roofs but, there is no ceiling, so you can see right to the tiles or metal that is blocking the rain. The doors are thin and often have cracks. There is no heat source in the house. What does this all mean?

It means that it’s about the same temperature inside and outside. The house protects you from wind and rain and holds a little heat, but basically there is no escape. When the cold settles, it seeps into every room.

In my house, the shower and toilet are in stalls outside the house, with just curtains as doors. We have hot water, but it seldom is hot but rather just not cold. When the rain pounds down, the wind rustles the trees, and the coolness engulfs the house—it is frigid. The trick is to stay warm, because once you start feeling cold it’s hard to heat up again. I wasn’t prepared for the first cold spell. I ended up spending an afternoon in my sleeping bag, fighting a fever, because I got cold in the morning. But a trip to Marcado 4 fixed me up for the next time the temperature dips.