Happy 4th of July!! I haven’t had internet the last day and a half, and have been running around and busy so here is my recap of what’s been going on. First of all, yesterday was a very sad day for Paraguay, indeed. Most of South America, actually – as Brazil just lost on Friday, followed by Argentina yesterday morning, and yet another loss in the afternoon due to FIFA’s lack of “instant replay” technology to see that Paraguay’s goal was in fact legitimate. With faces of sadness and defeat, Paraguay mourned their all-too-soon departure from the World Cup and drowned their sorrows in beer. This continent’s only hope, (much to the delight of my uncle and cousins,) is Uruguay. Now it is Vamos Uruguay!
Moving on to other cultural explorations, Thursday night, Laura brought me to the Teatro Municipal to see a concert. Her mom is a violinist and they were to be playing Beethoven. I am a lover of music, classical and all, so it was a pretty awesome experience. Not to mention the complementary wine and cocktails they serve at intermission!
There are some things I pay close attention to and it is funny the differences between the way things are run here from back home. You don’t purchase a seat, but rather at ticket and you pick whatever seat you’d like once you enter the theater, so you better hope you get there early enough to claim yours – though I think we did pretty well for ourselves! There is no usher at the door asking you to be quiet or not to enter until a resting point in the music, you are free to enter at will and it is just assumed you will keep your voice down as you do. Photographs are game at all points during the concert, there are no introductions to the music, or even announcements that intermission is now over and the show is beginning again. It runs itself well, but it’s funny how controlled and pampered theater is in the U.S.
Today was another day of excitement, and I don’t just mean because of my great ability to find and purchase a Paraguayan avocado this morning, which looks deceivingly different than a North American one! Sonia planned for us to go to San Bernardino, a beautiful lakeside town about 45 minutes outside of Asuncion. It is a great place to go in the summer as it lies alongside a beautiful, serene, (and somewhat contaminated,) lake. We arrived first at the church in the town and walked up a steep hill to arrive at some sort of light house with a view above the city, just in time to see the beginnings of oranges, purples, and pinks flood the sky.
It was quite beautiful, and the sun still had some setting to do so we went down to the level of the lake and walked around, watching the sun set. A man with a little boat asked us if we’d like to do a little trip around the lake, for a price – of course – and we accepted. I forgot to mention that we had two little, adorable, 2-year-old twins accompanying us on this journey, who were thrilled at being close to the water. One quick side note, despite what our boat driver said to the other tourists on our little journey, the water of this lake – though it appears pristine – has been continuously contaminated over the years by improper use by leather factories in the area, as well as human waste – and is therefore beginning to develop toxins. The Paraguayans joke that you “enter with 2 eyes, and come out with 3” for the level of contamination!
After our quick boat trip, we moved on to the famous ‘Panaderia y Confiteria Alemana’ where you can purchase some delicious Bollos, (essentially, a bollo is a doughnut that is filled with cream – or dulce de leche, or various fruit fillings.) It. is. delicious. And as I have learned, you cannot visit San Bernardino without having one, and bringing a box home for the family!
It was incredibly delicious, and one can imagine how heavy! I will have to go back to SanBer in the summer, but more for the ice cream than the refreshing dip! There concludes this portion of how to eat your way through Paraguay. Stay tuned for more!