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ANTHONY BOURDAIN PARTS UNKNOWN
Aired October 17, 2014 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANTHONY BOURDAIN, HOST: A petri dish for talent, for culture, the great unknown. Go look. B.X. (ph), home again.
I know you're a man who can help me.
Sometime in mid-19th century 1850s, my great-great-great-grandfather, Jean Bourdain, emigrated to South America. He was reported to have died here; might have been a seeker of Utopian dreams. You know, my aunt used to tell stories he was into arms smuggling or who knows, you know? No idea.
BOURDAIN: For most people, Paraguay is an empty space on the map of Latin America. A country of only six million where a vast percentage of the land is steaming hot jungle or a huge scrub desert known simple as the Chaco. Only a few large cities offer a respite from the impressive heat.
A thousand miles upriver from the Atlantic Ocean sits Asuncion, Paraguay's remote capitol city, Known largely for being a post-war refuge for fleeing Nazis and a long line of extremely unpleasant dictators, this place, of all the places in the world, is where my great-great-great-grandfather, Jean Bourdain, disappeared without explanation sometime in the 1850s.
I'm told you're a man who can help me.
How do you do?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: May I call you Tony?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're here for the first time in the country?
BOURDAIN: First time in Paraguay, yes.
(voice-over): Lido Bar in Asuncion has always been like the central switchboard. A gathering place. Ladies in orange vests cook and serve old-school Paraguayan working-class food to people from every walk of life.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This place is very unique in Asuncion.
BOURDAIN (on camera): Yes? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been here for more than 50 years.
BOURDAIN: All right. Let's get something to eat. I'm hungry.
(voice-over): Empanadas de carne: big envelopes of dough , filled with beef, onion, and hard-cooked egg, deep fried to perfection. Cattle is the big business of this country. It used to be cattle and smuggling. These days it's still cattle and some smuggling. You see a lot of beef is what I'm saying.
(on camera): Oh, that's good.
This country is a mystery to most people. What little we know of the country generally comes from Nazis and Germans hiding in Paraguay from war crimes. Do you think that's an undeserved reputation?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think -- I don't think it's fair. Paraguay is a nice country. A beautiful country.
BOURDAIN (voice-over): Pedro is a private investigator, one of a team of people I sent out looking for the mysterious lost Bourdain.
(on camera): What kind of investigations are you called upon to do?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Normally counterfeiting.
BOURDAIN: This is sort of the counterfeiting capital of the world. In the old days it's said much of this counterfeiting had partners in the government. Not so much anymore?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd rather don't -- don't answer that. I mean, I'm -- I'm not a politician here, so...
BOURDAIN (voice-over): General Alfredo Stroessner was the last of his kind in Paraguay. Of German heritage, he ruled the country until 1989 with a quiet, Bavarian charm, but behind the scenes was another thing.
Utilizing an outfit of S.S.-trained secret police referred to as the hairy footed ones, he tortured and tossed dissidents out of helicopters over the jungle. The list goes on. Under Stroessner, one in four Paraguayans is said to have cooperated, willingly or not, as paid informers on their fellow citizens.
(on camera): It's quite a history in this country. Crazy, tragic, violent.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me put it this way. Things are changing, a lot. And now things are getting (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
BOURDAIN: Sometime in the mid-19th Century, 1850s, Jean Bourdain emigrated to South America, first in Argentina but apparently came here. That's really almost all I know for sure.
Did he die by the sword? Did he die of old age? Did he die of syphilis?have no idea. I'd like to know. I would like to find a grave site. That would be great. You know, my
father died at 57. His father in, I think, 20 -- in his 20s, I believe. I'll be 58 in June. I think I am the longest living male Bourdain in possibly ever.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you're lonely in the world?
BOURDAIN: I am lonely in the world, yes. If I could solve the mystery of the elusive Jean Bourdain it would make me very happy.
By the way, it would be terrific if you found out that he owned a huge ranch in the Chaco, and they've been waiting for his relatives to claim his property. Maybe not.
I'm trying to make some sense of this country. You've lived here how long?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm -- 22 years. Too long maybe. What a strange and nice country.
BOURDAIN (voice-over): Go to Paraguay, find a German to show you around. Not so crazy or unrepresentative. People came to this country from everywhere to, as Emerson called it, make their own world.
(on camera): Peter, I'm Tony.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nice to meet you.
BOURDAIN: So what's good to eat here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I suppose you want something Paraguay.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bife Koygua (ph). It's roast rice with fried beef with an egg on top.
BOURDAIN: I'm there. Good.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And there's a soup whose name is Bori Bori that's very, very old Paraguayan stuff. Little corn balls.
BOURDAIN: That looks good. That looks very good.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
BOURDAIN: That's good, man.
I'm trying to make some sense of this country. You lived here how long?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Twenty-two years.
BOURDAIN: Why did you come here in the first place? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was born in East Germany, and East Germany, that
means you would never go out. Yes, and then in '89 the wall break down and you say, "Wow," you will go.
BOURDAIN: I haven't seen anything of this country yet, but what I read was that the world's back water filled with bombed-out banks that had been looted, institutions that didn't work. Everyone carried a gun. It was like the wild west but poorer. It's not that anymore?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A bit of this is true. I by myself got a .45 on my head last week. That's pretty common stuff for me.
BOURDAIN: Seldom in the history of the world have I seen any country where, one after the other, you've had absolutely the most maniacal, insane, suicidal group of piss-pot dictators century after century.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are right. Even in the Stroessner times the better part of Paraguayans was behind him. Paraguayans are very, very easy to influence. And business, I believe, unchanged until a short time ago. Now there is a growing middle class. Better education than before and that makes the people say no.
BOURDAIN: How was the soup?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I liked it, yes. It was the way my wife cooks it. I like it better with chicken. But chicken is more for Saturday.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Paraguay was a very poor country. The Spaniards came because they thought there was a lot of silver in the area. They found nothing, so they lost interest in Paraguay.
BOURDAIN: This is the only country of Latin America where the indigenous language is the official language.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They talk Guarani automatically. I am married to a Paraguayan woman, and when her fathers come in they automatically talk Guarani, and I'm more or less out.
BOURDAIN: A proudly mestizo society.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
BOURDAIN: Was it de Francia?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: El Supremo.
BOURDAIN: El Supremo, got to love it.
(voice-over): A nearly 200-year succession of dictators began in 1811 when Jose Gaspar Rodriguez de Francia declared himself El Supremo for life. De Francia insisted Paraguay become a mestizo, mixed race society.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Paraguayans are neither Spanish nor Indians. We are mestizos. El Supremo forbid marriage between whites and whites. He produced mestizos by force.
BOURDAIN: Today 95 percent of Paraguayans are of mixed Spanish and Guarani blood.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we usually speak the two languages.
BOURDAIN (on camera): Right.
This is the central market?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mercado Quatro.
BOURDAIN: Quatro. This is the big one?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The biggest one, the most popular one.
BOURDAIN: I'm hungry. What's good here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We opted for the soup from the mandi efish (ph). It's a little catfish. And OK, the saying is that it makes man very powerful.
What's he got over there? That looks good.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gnocchi and stew. There was a good Italian influence in Paraguay. So maybe this stew comes from this side. Colonists from all over the world.
BOURDAIN: So you invite them and give them the catfish stew?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could you pass me the Sopa Paraguaya, the Paraguayan soup?
BOURDAIN: That soup?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The soup is very unique.
Our dictator Lopez, his favorite soup was corn soup, and one day he ordered his favorite soup and the cook, when he opened the pot it was a cake.
BOURDAIN (voice-over): Paraguay has not been noted for its history of kinder, gentler leaders. In the 1800s, two generations of Lopez, father and son, one dictator after the other, certainly left their marks on this country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lopez was pretty much known that-- for putting a wrong stamp on a letter, you get shot. So the cook didn't want to get shot. He showed up in front of Lopez and said, "This is Paraguayan soup, Sopa Paraguayan," and the dictator ate it and he liked it. And a bit later the entire country eat it.
BOURDAIN: So it's cheesy cornbread?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
BOURDAIN: Awesome. Good meal.
So this was the house or one of the houses of the notorious Madam Lynch.
GUIDO RODRIGUEZ ALCALA, JOURNALIST/POET/AUTHOR: Right. Exactly.
BOURDAIN (voice-over): Journalist, poet, and author Guido Rodriguez Alcala has written books on Paraguay's history.
BOURDAIN: Now who exactly was Madam lynch. A murky background, would you say?
ALCALA: There's talk about that. Somebody say she was a great woman or that she was a very evil one.
BOURDAIN: She came over on the famous trip from France.
BOURDAIN (voice-over): Succeeding de Francia in 1840s, Lopez Sr. reversed many of Paraguay's isolationist policies. He invited foreigners to settle here and built one of South America's first railways, its steam engines taken out of service only a few years ago. And he sent his son, Francisco Solano Lopez, to Europe.
(on camera): His mission, his father sent him out to get, what, arms?
ALCALA: Arms and technicians, engineers and machinery.
BOURDAIN (voice-over): Junior, by most contemporary accounts, was an idiot.
(on camera): So he came back with a mistress, Madam lynch.
BOURDAIN: Which dad wasn't too happy about?
He was very traditional and wanted his son to marry a Paraguayan woman and do everything by the book.
(voice-over): Paraguay's soon-to-be first mistress, Madam Eliza Lynch, was the already-married daughter of an Irish doctor. Ambitious, social climbing, fond of nice things.
ALCALA: Clothes imported from France. They say she brought the Paraguayans the (UNINTELLIGIBLE). And there were parties here.
He showed Madam Lynch to his father and his father was upset, so she was put aside. And... BOURDAIN: Kept as a mistress.
ALCALA: And that was the way Paraguayan society tried to treat her, and she wanted to be treated as the...
BOURDAIN: Tell me about Madam Lynch's famous boat trip.
(voice-over): On one of her more notorious adventures as hostess, Madam Lynch organized a grand outing to the new French colony at Nouveau Bordeaux.
(on camera): She invited all of society to join her.
BOURDAIN (voice-over): A magnificent river steamer was engaged for the party.
ALCALA: And well, there were some issues between the Paraguayan ladies and Madam Lynch.
BOURDAIN: Once on board, as the story goes, those mean bitches treated their hostess like so much trash.
ALCALA: And so she got upset and threw over board all of the food which they were supposed to eat.
BOURDAIN: She had it all thrown in the river?
BOURDAIN (voice-over): Then she ordered the captain to stop the boat and let her guests just sit there in that jungle heat for hours.
(on camera): Throwing tubs of caviar and whole roasted pigs into the river in front of these starving aristocrats? Somehow that pleases me.
BOURDAIN: Going back to the very beginnings, various groups with stars in their eyes came here seeking to create a utopia along ideological lines, a Mennonite paradise. Repopulate Latin America with Aryan Germans. British, Italians, I mean, you had everybody.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
It started with the Jesuit colonies.
BOURDAIN: New Bordeaux.
I had a great-great-great-grandfather come over to Paraguay around the 1850s.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
BOURDAIN: Might have been, himself, a seeker of some kind of utopian dreams.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were originally from France?
BOURDAIN: From France, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What city? Do you know?
BOURDAIN: My great-great-grandfather was from near Bordeaux. So I'm curious about this whole episode of the settlement of Nouveau Bordeaux.
(voice-over): The Paraguay River still, as it was 150 years ago, the country's main artery. A thoroughfare for transporting people and goods.
(on camera): So who lives out there?
All the people we see fishing on the river banks, are they fishing for dinner?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most of them are fishing for dinner. They call them poor (ph) people. But what it's for, they decide by themselves to live here. They could go to Asuncion and start working on a construction place tomorrow.
BOURDAIN (voice-over): Peter has organized a trip up river to see New Bordeaux, what was hoped would be a new France in the Chaco.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fish we bought today, 14 kilo, that's half a month's salary, and you get with a bit of good luck in one night.
(voice-over): Outside of the cities Paraguay is, of course, sparsely populated. Indigenous groups, a few settled Europeans, Mennonites, Germans and very so often, a fishing lure and shotgun salesman.
(on camera): Peter, what are the shotguns for? Bandits? Varmints? What?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To hunt deer and water pig.
BOURDAIN: That's a peacemaker.
Any rogue Nazis we can shoot now?
(voice-over): I am tempted by the offer of a cheap shotgun for sale. Figures Peter would know this guy, but reason wins out.
(on camera): I don't think we're going to buy a shotgun today.
Me, fear, shotgun, hot sunny day, a producer. That's not a good mix.
(voice-over): Unlike Madam Lynch's guests, I'm making damn sure I'm eating on this boat trip.
(on camera): The most important part of any meal. Cold, frosty beverages. I started early.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cheers.
Here we go. Thank you. A little fish and a mango salsa.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have the two most appreciated fish here on the table of Paraguay. That's the catfish torabi (ph).
BOURDAIN: And that's the...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the Dorado. The golden fish.
BOURDAIN: Oh, the Dorado, of course. Yes. Ooh, that's tasty. Ooh, that's nice.
So I'm curious about this whole episode of the settlement of Nouveau Bordeaux.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There came about 400 people. There were supposed to be about 1,000. They were supposed to be most of them farmers. But just 86 were farmers.
BOURDAIN: Who were the other people?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were tailors. They were shoemakers. Musicians.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Teachers and artists. And they were put in the jungle and left by himself.
BOURDAIN: Right. Why here of all of the places in the world? People talk about the Chaco as a hell. I mean, it's hot here -- it's dry, it's red, (inaudible), it's difficult.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have all the mosquitoes. You have all the ticks (inaudible).
BOURDAIN: A flatland of cactus and thorns and misery and cannibals (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were the Indians, the Guajaguru (ph) coming down the river and killing everybody. There was the Lengua (ph), who, if you enter their country, you are good food.
BOURDAIN: Did the Paraguayans ever see this as a utopia?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I'm sure not.
What we have (inaudible).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This.
BOURDAIN: Wow. That's kind of not how I pictured it. Doesn't look like Bordeaux to me.
There's nothing much left of Nouveau Bordeaux. I'm told a small museum of artifacts. The site where the colony once briefly existed is now called Viahars (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible) money for each settler.
BOURDAIN: Perhaps there was a communication breakdown somewhere and he might have told the Paraguayans I'm bringing you the finest farmers France has to offer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
BOURDAIN: And he might have told these Frenchmen, oh, they're going to give you free property. You don't have to do anything. You'll live like kings. Just reach up in the trees and fruit and gold bars are dropping.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In fact, they were thrown out on the coast and say, here you are. That's your land. Go ahead.
BOURDAIN: These poor French guys show up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
BOURDAIN: Lopez Sr. and the government kept their side of the bargain. They provided them with houses, equipment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, right. Tours and animals and everything.
BOURDAIN: Needs to have one of these. Makes pressed sandwiches, I think. And that's it. Dig, grow.
The settlers quickly discovered that farming is hard work, and that the conditions in the Chaco (ph) in no way resembled the New France of their dreams.
That's a big snake.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So they get broke and they decide to leave the colony.
BOURDAIN: How many French were left at the end of the New Bordeaux experiment? Did any stay?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of them but few.
BOURDAIN: Any thoughts or hopes that Jean Bourdain ended his life here, leaving me a vast unclaimed stake in what is now prime cattle country turns quickly to dust.
BOURDAIN: So you guys have some information perhaps on the elusive Jean Bourdain, I hear?
I don't know what he did here. Of course I'm hoping for something extremely glamorous. A river pirate, a gun runner, drug smuggler. Maybe he died in the saddle. Maybe he died happy. Maybe he was like Colonel Kurtz, living out in the bush, surrounded by adoring indigenous women. I don't know. You know, if he was a masseur for Madam Lynch, I guess I would be let down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had contact with another historians and genealogists around the world, and the history of your family is very interesting.
BOURDAIN: Oh, really?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, your family, your grandfather Jean Bourdain came to Montevideo following the sun (ph).
BOURDAIN: Okay, the facts as I know them so far, I think are this. My great, great, granddad, Jean, his son also named Jean, came to Montevideo, Uruguay, to live with his uncle.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 1850, Jean Bourdain moves to Asuncion.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the document that we have showing him arriving.
BOURDAIN: There he is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In that time, he worked with a chapelier (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With a hat maker.
BOURDAIN: A hat maker? I'm pretty sure he said hat maker, which I have to say disappoints me, like a lot. The whole elusive wing of mysterious South American Bourdains were "Project Runway" contestants of their day?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In 1855 Lopez's son arrives to Asuncion.
BOURDAIN: Right. With Madam Lynch.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With Madam Lynch.
BOURDAIN: Madam Lynch was fond of things like French couture.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes, and that changed the way of dress in Asuncion.
BOURDAIN: Madam Lynch might have been good for business.
I'm trying to put this in a light I can be enthusiastic about. Like how clearly forward thinking my relatives were.
His customers, as a hat maker. The very people that treated Madam Lynch with such utter contempt, did they live in the colonial homes? The old mansions that we see still in Asuncion, that type of residence?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
BOURDAIN: Times were changing in South America too in those days. Society ladies craved the latest au courant French fashion. There was money to be made.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After this episode with the New Bordeaux group came the Triple Alliance War.
BOURDAIN: Jean Bourdain died in 1858.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Before.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a good time to die, because this way he wouldn't have had to join this horrible war.
BOURDAIN: He missed the war?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
The old Lopez died. The young Lopez got in power.
BOURDAIN: Our man becomes president.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, Francisco Lopez.
BOURDAIN: Absolutely the most maniacal, megomaniacal piss pot (ph) dictator.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're right.
BOURDAIN: He was rather unkind to his siblings.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His two brothers were tortured and killed, and the sisters were jailed. Taken into tiger cages.
BOURDAIN: Tiger cages.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tiger cages. And the mother was given some beating.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 60-something.
BOURDAIN: The 60 something-year-old mother was flogged and beaten in front of him. Not a nice man.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He believed that he had a chance to get married with the daughter of the emperor of Brazil.
BOURDAIN: That's right. He was refused in very unflattering terms.
Thanks presumably to Lopez Jr.'s expansionist ambitions, he dragged Paraguay into the Triple Alliance War.
He essentially challenged all three neighbors.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay.
BOURDAIN: To war.
This doesn't seem like a good idea.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah.
BOURDAIN: In what would become the bloodiest war in Latin America's history, hundreds of thousands of Paraguayans died. When Lopez ran out of adults, he sent children into the field, dressed only in rags, armed with sticks painted to look like guns.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My great grandfather was a 10-year-old boy, and he was dressed like a girl (ph) because otherwise he was going to be enrolled into the army.
BOURDAIN: Lopez eventually was hunted down. Madam Lynch survived.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. She survived.
BOURDAIN: But with her money, I mean, was she allowed to keep her possessions?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
BOURDAIN: In history it's hard to find a more disastrous or more cruel or a pointless campaign, it would seem.
When all was said and done, as much as 60 percent of the population and 90 percent of the men of this country were dead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The survivors were just like 50,000 or 40,000 people.
So that's why you could easily understand why there was nothing here for 100 years.
BOURDAIN: Jean Bourdain dies here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Before the (inaudible).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: An adult natural of France by the name of Juan Bourdain.
BOURDAIN: Right. Cause of death?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not specified here.
BOURDAIN: Is there a grave site?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're looking.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are looking for it.
BOURDAIN: So I'm hungry. I'm really hungry.
You know you want it. It's late. You've had a few. No, you had a lot. You want something greasy, savory, juicy and nasty.
This is it. Palentiveri lavido (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. That's what today's people eat in the streets of Asuncion.
BOURDAIN: An egg, a little runny please. Some kind of meat, like beef patty thing. Throw on your lettuce and tomato. Two sauces -- no idea what they are, and frankly don't care. Soy sauce I think too. Of course, because, yes. And like the ruins of ancient Troy, egg on top of cheese on top of meat. Now get in my stomach now.
Sandwich is awesome.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Awesome good.
BOURDAIN: Good awesome. All my greasy meat dreams have come true, that's good. And at the last moment, the last thing I give a steaming loaf about anymore is my long dead relatives -- I mean, I am over it. Here comes news of the big breakthrough.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I talked with the historian and he said it looks like your great grandfather, what he was merchandising, it was definitely not hats.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have here Jean Bourdain.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what is he bringing? 200 boxes of fireworks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fireworks. BOURDAIN: Like fire crackers?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is not even more than 200 or 300 wealthy families who sometimes in a birthday would crack a little bit.
BOURDAIN: So are you suggesting something untoward?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Weapons.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
BOURDAIN: He was a merchant of death? Awesome. You know, my aunt always said he was a gun runner. We figured she was full of shit. I mean, she also said she was in the Resistance, you know, but everybody in France said that.
BOURDAIN: So, arms? So was he ever a hat-maker? Or was that just a cover job? Was he a hat maker/arms?
Are all these local researchers, historians and geniuses on the money here? Was great great great grampy an arms dealer?
What hat makers needs 200 tons of gun powder? I've got you now, Jean Bourdain. I've got you now.
Or was he simply a party supplier, selling fine French hats and little firecrackers to school kids? I don't know what to believe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And in '58, unfortunately, he died.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he was buried, here, two miles from here, in La Coletta (ph), the rich people's cemetery. We can pretty well say on which area he remains.
He is there.
BOURDAIN: Wow. Well, I guess we'll have to go look, huh?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Definitely. Yeah.
BOURDAIN: Sorry, little buddy. There's no escaping it. Paraguay loves their beef. It's a perfect ratio, a lot of meat, little bit of vegetables. Oh, whoa, that's good.
This is the Via Stanzia Corrarodeo (ph), a sprawling ranch bigger than some of the countries I've traveled to, and it's been in the family going all the way back to the Triple Alliance War.
Hard life? Or a good life?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, we are pretty happy. We have everything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 20 years ago, the (inaudible) was not used. In the last years, it's booming.
BOURDAIN: Where does the boom come from?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are the second biggest soybean exporter, the eighth biggest cattle exporter. Paraguay feeds the entire world for eight days a year.
BOURDAIN: How many acres?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 100,000.
BOURDAIN: 100,000 hectares.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Barbecue has to be included --
BOURDAIN: Toriso morsia (ph), I could eat this all day. And I will.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With (ph) barbecue. You are complete.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's good.
BOURDAIN: Mmm, that's awesome. So were there a lot of vegetarians in this part of Paraguay?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There comes the what is for the Paraguayans the highlight.
BOURDAIN: Oh, look at that. Pretty. Beef short ribs are amazing. Mmm, so good.
All of the books I read about Paraguay are maybe 15 years old. And like the first advice is, everybody has a gun, buy a gun.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
BOURDAIN: This was not the Paraguay I expected at all.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's different.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He wants to sing a song for you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A welcome song. To the foreign people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It says -- it not says "welcome, stranger." It says "welcome, brother stranger."
BOURDAIN: Jean Bourdain who died here in Asuncion was my great great great grandfather.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This old cemetery. La Coletta (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It seems most likely that he was buried there.
BOURDAIN: Nobody I know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very, very likely that the tomb was just overbuilt.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something on top.