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.

how do you see your photos? Do you have to be a yahoo member to see them?
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