I've spent the last 4 days on a whirlwind tour of the southern region of Paraguay, South America. In the process I've come to realize 4x4s here are a matter of necessity, not recreation.
I've always wanted to visit a third-world nation in my adult life to better understand the differences between the 4x4 scene of a developing region and our own in the US. From the moment I landed I knew their had to be a sector of the population that used 4-wheel drive regularly, if not for recreation, out of necessity despite the tough economic climate of the country. I read in my guide book that Paraguayan residents on average, bring home the equivalent of less than $4,000 US per year. Kind of makes you re-think our own "finical crisis". Put it like this: Paraguay is land locked, all trade in the region depends on neighboring countries and the handful of paved trucking routes that penetrate the country. Otherwise the local economy is based around farmers who rase beef cattle and soy beans for the most part. My travels through the southern part of Paraguay confirmed this. Much of the land here reminded me of the Mid West of the US, except of coarse that the vegitation here is tropical and much more jungle like.
I stubled into a few Paraguayen 4x4 enthusists, or at least who appeared to be enthusists. None have produced the stunning out-back photography or back-story I'm searching for. However I have yet to meet up with Francisco Leri, who is the newest ARB distributor for the country. Tomorrow my father and I will join Francisco on a two-day trip to the remote and un-tapped regions to the north. I am looking forward to seeing the "Chaco", an area where the locals go to watch rally racing. My excitment is compounded by frequent sightings of Subaru WRXs and the like. I've even see a few bilboards along side the highways that lead me to believe the 4x4 scene is out there somewhere, I just havn't found it yet.
What I have seen thus far is simply amazing. Take for instance the awesome Iguassu Falls, a virtual world of waterfalls cascading up to 270-feet in some places. The Iguassu attraction is world-class leaving visitors many options for seeing the massive falls: by foot, boat or helicopter. Check out some of the photos I got while there.