After finishing his mission promoting Kazakhstan and EXPO 2017 in Brazil, the president of the Geographical Society of Kazakhstan and the famous biker Dmitry Petrukhin arrived at the border of Brazil and Paraguay with his expedition team.
After completion of all formalities at the border, the Round the World Expedition “Expo-Astana” entered Paraguay. Residents of the border city Ciudad del Este met travelers in warm and sunny weather. Despite the fact that it is winter in the southern hemisphere, the travelers were accompanied by favourable weather because of their westward direction.
“We did not even notice that we passed the border. We started to worry and came back to get our passports stamped. They smiled, stamped us in and that was it. It turns out there they have kind of a Schengen Zone, but I’m an alien. While passing the first several kilometers of Paraguay, one can see the differences between neighbouring countries. The roads are worse, there are police every 10 km. The country only recognizes its currency. After 100 km, we decided to eat, but had no money. The tavern owner treated us to steaks, we gave her a souvenir kamcha (whip) and a memory stick with the logo of Kazakhstan on it (I was reminded of Thailand at the gas station, I had to pay cash, but I only had a credit card. So instead of a credit card, they took my business card and shook our hands and wished us safe travels). This once again proves that people around the world are good and understanding,” Dmitry said.
After traveling three hundred and fifty kilometers on decent roads, Petruhin and his team reached the capital of Paraguay, Asuncion. It is the largest city in the country and was founded in 1537 at the confluence of the rivers Rio-Paraguay and Pilcomayo, which later became known as the “Mother of Cities” as the natives of the city made considerable contributions in the development of many cities in Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil.
“As soon as we entered the city, we began to look for a place to sleep, which is actually a rather time consuming and nerve wracking undertaking. All of a sudden, a taxi driver named Raoul appeared and was able to help the team a lot, whether with hotel accommodations or the organization of excursions. By the way, he spoke only Spanish and a little Portuguese. Of course, if only we had internet, we would not need his help. For almost three hours, he drove us around the city until he realized what we needed. He was very happy when he got money worth 1,000 tenge. At home, no one would do that for such a fee. I even gave him a T-shirt and baseball cap. The mood was good,” he added.
The Kazakh delegation headed by Dmitry Petrukhin had a meeting at the Ministry of Industrial Development and Commerce of Paraguay. Minister Jose Luis Salomon met Petrukhin as an old friend, in turn, the head of the Kazakh delegation told the minister the purpose of the expedition’s visit to Paraguay. All guests were interested to learn about the preparations of Kazakhstan for the upcoming international exhibition. They also showed great interest in the Future Energy exhibition and alternative and clean energy sources. In Paraguay, people know about clean energy first-hand, as Paraguay is the largest exporter of electricity in all of South America and it is in this country the two largest hydropower plants in the world are located – the Itaipu Dam on the border with Brazil and Yaikero Dam on the border with Argentina. With these dams, Paraguay has something to bring to the exhibition in Astana in 2017.
“First, I would like to express my gratitude to you, Dmitry for arriving in Paraguay and informing us about the exhibition. I think it is an original and important promotional campaign for the events in 2017. I believe this is a good opportunity for Paraguay, because we now have stable economic development, we produce food for sixty million people using new environmentally friendly sources of energy. And now, it is time to show off Paraguay to the world. I think Expo 2017 is a great opportunity for Paraguay to contact new customers and investment companies,” Jose Luis Salomon, Minister of Commerce and Industrial Development of Paraguay, told Petrukhin.
In accordance with traditions, Petrukhin presented gifts and national souvenirs with symbols of Kazakhstan and EXPO 2017. The finishing touch of the meeting was the signing and writing wishes in the book of meetings by Petrukhin, while the Minister of Commerce put his signature on a copy of the flag of EXPO 2017.
“Our thanks to Dmitry Petrukhin for the visit to the Ministry of Commerce and Industrial Development in Paraguay. I think it is very important for us to know more about Kazakhstan; I believe the people of Paraguay have not been aware of Kazakhstan, and now, thanks to this visit, we have the opportunity to learn about EXPO 2017. I think it will be a grand exhibition because you have a very interesting promo-campaign. I hope that through your visit, a lot of companies will come to your country, because we have a lot of companies in the energy sector, the best of which with our assistance, will be able to visit your exhibition,” Ganelori Gotz, General Manager for Relations EXPO, said during the same meeting.
Being a biker with great experience, Jose Luis Salomon went out and mounted Petrukhin’s bike. The whole ministry witnessed their leader deftly show off his motorcycle skills. After making memorable pictures, the diplomats said goodbye, promising to meet again in Astana in 2017.
“I do not come across such active ministers often. It was very interesting to be with him. When he looked at the photo album of people with whom we have already met, his emotions knew no limits. He knows almost all his colleagues in the American continents. He spoke of every official with a smile. He especially focused on the Minister of Tourism Stephanie Vildove of Haiti, and said they are often in touch in all directions,” Petrukhin said.
The next day, the President of the National Geographical Society met his counterpart, San Javier in his office. Petrukhin told about Kazakhstan and said that the National Geographic Society is actively developing there. In turn, Javier invited him to visit historical places in the capital and its suburbs. As Petrukhin said, “It’s a kind of familiarity with colleagues in Latin America; such meetings of an almost informal nature promote cooperation between our geographic organizations. The same day in the evening, a telephone message from the Russian Geographical Society came to their headquarters, stating that from 10 to 15 November, there will be an international conference. They are invited to the next congress in Moscow. That means we in Kazakhstan have a similar invitation. So, the new meeting will take place in Moscow.”After a fruitful day, they parted like old friends.
Petrukhin continues his tour of Latin America spreading the message of peace and the need to develop future energy and inviting his hosts to participate in EXPO 2017.