Certainly worth reading in full
Friday, July 16, 2010
I was having lunch with Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi at Opera Plaza Sushi in San Francisco about six months ago, and she said to me, “Every so often, I need to get away from it all. I want to go where nobody knows me, where I can relax and have a change of scenery. So I go to Filadelfia, Paraguay. It’s a wonderful place! You should go.” So I did.
Filadelfia is still very much off the beaten track. Almost all Paraguay tourism is concentrated in the capital, Asuncion, and I certainly won’t knock it. It’s a great place to buy luxury goods cheap (because they are smuggled in), and the hookers are hot. But Asuncion is not the exotic Paraguay. To see that, you have to go to Filadelfia.
There’s only one bus a day between Asuncion and Filadelfia. It’s an all-day trip, departing in the morning and arriving in the evening, so pack your lunch. And keep your eyes peeled for celebs in disguise, because more of them are following Nancy Pelosi’s example.
…The Westin Filadelfia is not a bad place. Quite cheap — only $35 a night. There’s no TV or air-conditioning, but there are flush toilets, and the maid service is diligent. (For a few dollars, the maid will tuck you in at night, if you get my meaning.) The furniture is of high quality. It’s made locally by the large German Mennonite community that dominates life in Filadelfia.
…Werner’s is cheerfully decorated with Nazi war memorabilia, including a half-size replica of a Stuka dive bomber. This is where the old Germans gather every night to sing those good old patriotic songs of the Third Reich — although they all insist they were never members of the Nazi party or involved in any atrocities.
Etc. Obviously a vacation wonderland.
As I mentioned earlier, celebrities have occasionally been seen in Filadelfia. They pretend to be ordinary tourists and usually go unrecognized since there’s no TV. Jack Black, Teri Hatcher, Cindy Crawford, Bono, Peter Tork, and Pete Wentz have all been spotted in the past year, according to Michael Czarcinski. But they all register under false names, so there’s no proof on paper.
So what do they do there in Filadelfia? Good question. Evidently they fly all the way down there to hang out with the local Germans and drink beer, eat schnitzel, and ride horses. Rent a gun and go hunting. Sure thing. The hotel owner would like to run a concentration camp theme park where people could be tied up in their underwear and whipped, gently of course, but the Mennonites won’t go for it.
The Westin has some mysterious permanent residents, who occupy the top floor. I was told they were ex-Mennonites who left the community and fell in with the old Krauts. They have laptops and wireless Internet in their rooms, and they do things with money, but they won’t say exactly what or for whom. So I suspect there is some sort of deep, dark secret in Filadelfia the world doesn’t know about.