National Geographic : 1933 Apr
RIVER-ENCIRCLED PARAGUAY 401 'hotograph by Harriet Chalmers Adams PARTS OF VILLARRICA MIGIT BE MISTAKEN FOR NEW ORLEANS In the heart of southern Paraguay is the second city of the Republic. Although on the main railroad connecting Asunci6n and Buenos Aires, it clings to colonial types of homes. It is the trading center of a fertile region devoted to tobacco raising and general farming. long-horned zebu cattle from Brazil, in troduced into that country from India by the Portuguese. This hardy zebu stock defies the tick. The Paraguayan cowboy is known as the chacrero. Although usually smaller in stature than his cousins, the Argentine gaucho and the Chilean huaso, he is mus cular and hardy, a typical roughrider. On a saddle trip we met a group of cowboys driving a band of cattle from the rodeo, where the herd is rounded up, to the river. I can still hear their ringing cattle call, "Co-co-coa! Co-coa! Coa! Coa !" There were a number of young calves in the herd. When a stream was reached the mother cow entered the water and the calf jumped in after her, placing its head upon her rump. "It's not all easy sailing," a cattleman told me. "Snakes are a menace; their bite kills many animals every year. Then there are jaguars which attack the herd. We lose a few by drowning when the Para guay shifts its banks; but the river's rise is usually gradual, and we have time to drive most of the cattle to higher ground." Guarani women are most accomplished head-balancers. At the market I saw a bronze Hebe with a basket on her head filled with five struggling turkeys and a chicken. Under one arm she held a husky youngster; under the other a large bundle of firewood. At the same time she di rected the progress of three children, led a stubborn, heavily laden donkey, and smoked a long, black cigar. While I was still marveling as to how this was done, a woman passed me with a small envelope poised gracefully on her head. They never think of carrying any thing in their hands. The market women smoke big native cigars. The mayor of the city issued an edict that no woman could smoke on the street or walk on the sidewalk with a bundle on her head. This meant that she walked in the middle of the street and hid her cigar when she saw a policeman. I saw youngsters puffing like steam en gines. In the country the people grow and roll their own leaf. We bought homemade cigars for seven cents a dozen. Cigarettes are not popular and pipes almost unknown.