Friday, January 07, 2005

So I am back in PY...its good to be back. But I will live in Buenos Aires one day.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Hola from Montevideo, Uruguay!

Sadly my vacation is nearly over...I spent 4 nights in Buenos Aires, Argentina and it was fabulous. B.A. is an amazing city, its huge and fun and I think I want to live there at least for a little while after Peace Corps. We stayed in an adorable bed and breakfast in the trendy SoHo district (full of boutiques and restaurants) with lots of salons with signs that read ¨depilacion: hombres, mujeres y traveties¨ Because from 7pm-7am our barrio of Palermo is also the red light transvestite district. Which is fun too. No seriously, at about 6-7pm every night transvestites gathered on the corners wearing very little other than very tall high heels. But even better, the later it gets, the more clothes they take off. The first night we got back around 5am and several were topless. The next night one was wearing nothing but heels. I regret not asking to take my picture with them.

We watched people tango on the streets, we ate thai and sushi and other delicious foods unknown in Paraguay, we shopped alot, I got my hair cut, we went to the Plaza de Mayo to see the mothers do their weekly protest they have done for the past like 35 years since their teenage and college age children mysteriously disappeared (the government had them killed for political activism against the government) and I didnt sleep much. In South America people tend to eat dinner much later than in the US, but in B.A. they eat extremely late. We never arrived at a restaurant before 11pm. No one arrives at the bars and clubs before 1:30-2am. Nothing closes before 6am. So fun. Unfortunately the club fire happened the night before New Years Eve, so all the clubs closed for 2 weeks for national mourning. But for New Years Eve we ate at a great restaurant, drank champagne for a while on the roof watching the fire works and then we went to a bar with a bunch of UC Berkley grad students we met at the restaurant. We ended up around 6am eating junk food at a gas station.

On January 1st we split up, my friend Erin and I took the express ferry boat across Rio de la Plata into Uruguay (almost 3 hour boat ride). In the duty free shop I bought a bag of Pepperidge Farm milano cookies for $3usd which made the trip worth it. We are staying at a great hostel in downtown Montevideo. The first day we took a private city tour with a cute Uruguayan guide who asked me out on a date. We spent a hot afternoon at the beach getting tan (or burnt in Erin´s case). We went to a carnival and rode the ferris wheel and bumper cars and other fun rides. I have been eating alot of beef because the beef here is delicious. The city itself isnt that exciting to me after B.A. but Erin loves it and wants to move here. Today we went to a really nice Uruguayan art museum and the Japanese botanical gardens. I have lots of pictures to upload for all of you.

Tomorrow we leave for Colonia, Uruguay and then back to Buenos Aires for one more night before our 22 hour bus ride back to Asuncion, Paraguay. I am sad to say goodbye to B.A. but I am excited to go home and get back to real life. I miss my family and my kitty and my dog. Plus I am BROKE. I may have to beg money off of Erin to get back to Paraguay...

January 27th is my one year mark here and the day that the new group of health volunteers arrive for training. We meet them as a surprise at the airport and then we are all staying at the swanky (well swanky for our budget) hotel in Asuncion for a rooftop pool fiesta and the following night our boss is hosting our 1 year anniversary dinner at his house. I cant believe its been a year...

February 3rd is Dia de San Blas the patron saint of my department of Paraguay. My town has three days of fiestas, festivals, mass, etc. Nearly every señora in my community kills one of her pigs to do a big feast with traditional Paraguayan corn bread to invite their neighbors. I love fresh pig. I hate listening to all the pigs squeal as they have their throats slit (this was the noise I heard all day the day before christmas eve as well). On the eve of San Blas I am going to the big town near my community to a concert of a really popular Argentine group. And on the 3rd everyone gets in their ox cart and we ¨drive¨to the San Blas chapel for mass. I have memorized Hail Mary in Spanish I say so many rosaries here.

School starts again the end of February and I am starting a dental health program: daily brushing and weekly fluoride treatments. I decided to just go ahead and buy every student a toothbrush as well. Plus I need to continue the parasite pill treatments.

Its really hot.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

So yes, it has been over two months since I have posted...but due to public outcry I will try to be better about it.
November was an insane month that I wont even try to recap. My birthday was nice. But strange. I feel like I am declining into old age. 23 sounds old. But it is my golden year so I am looking forward to some good luck.

On December 7th I joined the majority of Paraguayans walking to the holy city of Caacupe to pay respects to the Virgin of Caacupe. There is a large basilica there and people from all over the country walk (some for days even weeks). Lucky for me, my community is only about a 6 hour walk from the church. Thank god and the Virgin it rained because whoever decided to start a pilgrimmage in December under the hot South American sun was a cruel cruel man.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. Here in Paraguay we celebrate on the Eve, not Christmas Day. Its not a day for presents either. Families put up manger scenes and invite neighbors and families to come over. Most kill one of their pigs to roast and everyone makes yummy Paraguayan cornbread and clerico which is like fruit punch made with pineapple wine, fresh pineapple, apples, bananas, grapes. Around 11pm we eat and at midnight we set off lots of bottle rockets and firecrackers.

On Tuesday I leave for BUENOS AIRES. I am so excited. Its a 19 hour bus ride but flying was out of the question for money reasons. I am going with a few friends and then after New Years we are going to Uruguay to check out Montevideo and the beach. So so excited. I come back around January 8th.
Once I get back I am starting a new womens group and I am starting to look into getting funds for a sink project that I am starting. Most of the community has running water but lots of people dont have a single sink in their house. Each sink will cost about US$15 if anyone wants to send tax deductible donations!

Its really really hot here.
Miss you all!

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

So no new nasty bug or parasite stories... But I need to buy some screen for my windows, birds keep flying in and hanging out in my bedroom.

All the kids in the elementary school took the parasite pills I finally got from the Centro de Salud. I feel like I might take one tonight. Something is wrong with my stomach. But we´ve been without running water for 2 months now so it might have something to do that.

The school festival is this weekend. I hope that my sister wins and is the queen. Especially since I´m putting in some cash to make it more likely. It should be a good time...especially since my 7 boyfriend candidates are already bragging about who will dance with me more. Lord.

I´m heading back home in a few minutes. I´m making shampoo with my women´s group this afternoon. I´ll post a birthday wish list soon since many people have been asking. Just make sure that all packages involve Reese´s Peanut Butter Cups and I´ll be happy.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

So I'm on vacation here in Asuncion. I'm considering a facial/massage. Today is payday.
I'm also going to try to upload more pics on yahoo.com...including pics of my 2 headed parasite.

Monday, September 20, 2004

So sometimes I cant decide if I am living on another planet or if I have simply gone to hell...
The lizard was nothing compared to what I killed yesterday...If the Paraguayans (a) dont know its name in Spanish (only Guarani) and (b) THEY are afraid to go near it, you know its bad.

So I was raking my weekly 100 kilogram pile of leaves to burn when my 11 year old sister Noelia comes over and informs me that there is a snake in my kitchen. I didnt believe her because she wasnt hysterical. But then she screamed ¨Jenny! Tu gato esta jugando con la visboa!¨ So I went to look in my kitchen and lo and behold my cat was playing with what appeared to be a pretty large snake. So I did some screaming. I rescued my cat by luring him out with some food. And the snake thing appeared to be dead. So no one would help me and I started screaming in English how much I love Paraguay. I think something in me snapped. I grabbed a broom and (screaming) swept it out of my kitchen. Still screaming at it in English I grabbed a shovel and cut it into 3 pieces (and took photos of it too to show you all). Habia sido...not a snake. They call it a kuvuja I believe. An underground dwelling parasite essentially. A big fucking worm. With two heads, no tail, really long and FAT. Even after being chopped into three pieces it continued to move. But the chickens ate it. So now I dont have to look at it anymore. And apparently I might die before the year ends. They kept yelling at me not to kill it because its bad luck. I screamed that ¨es MALA SUERTE que esta en mi cocina!¨ But regardless I guess I should take advantage of the next three months and enjoy myself...I might not see January. Theres a likely possibility in my mind. This country is going to kill me.

So nerves shot I went on to fall really hard bruising my legs severely. I found two frogs (and lacked the energy to chase them so there they are still, one in my bathroom, one in my kitchen) and I killed two BIG poisonous spiders by my bed. All yesterday. Maybe thats why I woke up at 4.00 this morning and couldnt sleep anymore. That or the diahrrea.

PS. Going to Asuncion for a little vacation in the city Thursday through Saturday.

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