As I mentioned in Part 1 of this post, drying clothing in Paraguay can require a multi-pronged, sometimes multi-day strategy. Thanks to everyone who shared their recommendations here and on the Discovering Paraguay Facebook page. I saved my favorite tip for last so if you have to go run do the laundry before it starts to rain, skip to the bottom!
Be ware the fires
Having your neighbors burn trash upwind from your laundry line is no fun. If you have a drying rack (“tendedero”) you can run out and move your clothes as soon as you see them lighting the fire. Keep in mind that people are more likely to burn when they think it is going to rain soon (so, just when you´re most likely to be doing laundry). Thanks to Christie Hagerman for sharing this tip!
Go for synthetics
If you plan on spending winter in Paraguay then be sure to include some quick-drying synthetic clothing in your suitcase (check out more winter packing tips here). Even if you´re not a fan of the sporty “performance wear” look, these clothes will be life-savers during rainy stretches. Especially recommended: a large, fast-drying towel.
Use the Fan
Kathy Ruiz comments “When we’re in Paraguay (visiting my mother-in-law who lives in Asuncion) and it’s raining, my husband puts up a clothesline in her bedroom under the ceiling fan! Even jeans dry overnight under the fan! ” This is another trick that works well with the clothing rack – if the sun didn’t do the trick then just bring the rack in at night and put in underneath a ceiling fan going full blast all night long.
Use the Fridge
Returned Peace Corps volunteer George Ritz recommends using the radiator coils on the back of your refrigerator to dry clothes. Last winter my aunt complained about her newer model refrigerator “I can´t use it to dry laundry because the coils are on the bottom!” Definitely worth grumbling about!
Avoid the Barbed Wire
” Make sure to specify whether clothes are dried on a clothes line or barbed wire to avoid having clean but holey clothing.” – Paraguay (Other Places Travel Guide)
Drying clothes on barbed wire is common practice in the countryside. As Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Lance Cope puts it “in my village it was all alambre de pua.” Although barbs may leave holes in clothing they also keep them from blowing away (thus eliminating the need for clothespins).
Make the most of it
Once you have a pile of clean, dry laundry you have officially earned the Paraguayan adjective for hard-working: “guapo.” Returned Peace Corps volunteer Michael Barnes (who lived near San Miguel in Misiones) recalls “When I wanted to sleep in, and not appear to be lazy, I would get up early and hang clean clothes on the fence, and go back to bed.”