Sunday, November 18, 2012

It's Finally Here! Vacation Blog 1 - Asuncion

It's time for the long-awaited vacation blog!  My parents were here like two months ago, and I never wrote about it.  But now, my videos are edited together, my pictures have been adequately sized, and I actually have the time to sit down and write about my experiences with my mom and dad.  I'm going to break this all up into parts, because I think it will be a little long.

The day my parents arrived, I went to meet them at the airport.  It's hard for me to explain what I was feeling.  It was almost like I was nervous, I don't know.  The second they walked out from baggage claim it was that bizarre feeling of worlds colliding.  I'd been in Paraguay for nearly a year at that point, and I very specifically remember the last time I saw my parents in person as I rode up the escalator to my gate in Lansing when I flew out to go to Staging in Miami.

It was great to see them though!  They made it, which was a huge relief.  I was worried they would somehow end up stranded in Sao Paulo and not be able to contact me.  All that Portuguese... so many opportunities to get lost and confused!

"Hola! Nosotros necesitamos ir al centro. Cien mil no mas, si?" I tried to impress my parents with my Spanish right off the bat, but we had kind of a tough time locating a cab that would take three people with luggage.  So, I guess that was Paraguay experience #1 for my parents--cramming into the back of a taxi with their bags piled on top of them.  Welcome to my life, eh?

We stayed at the Palace for three nights initially.  I wanted to give my parents some time to adjust before we hit the campo. That night we went to my favorite Asuncion hotspot for dinner-- Bolsi!  Ugh... just thinking about a plate of cheese fries is making me drool.  I want to go to there. NOW.

On the roof terrace of the Palace Hotel in Asuncion
The next day I took them to the Peace Corps Office.  It must have been a holiday or something (labor day?), because the place was totally cleared out.  It gave me the opportunity to show them around though.  They even got to try some terere!  While they enjoyed it, I doubt they'll be sucking it down as much as I am.  I'm drinking ridiculous amounts of it these days.

Sipping tereré in the Peace Corps Office
This stretch of days was pretty hot.  I want to say it was over 100F, which was kind of random.  It cooled way down after they left.  But anyways, the Palace has air conditioning so after the office we went back to the hotel.  I'm thinking my parents could get into the whole asaje thing (siestas from noon to 2:00PM).

That evening we went to Manzana for pizza and enjoyed the nighttime view of the Presidential Palace.  There was also a Paraguayan national futbol game, so it was fun to walk around and have my parents experience some of that national pride.  All the bars had the games on, and even the taxi drivers were huddled around the TVs at their pick-up stations, terere in hand, cheering loudly for Paraguay.  Those are my favorite nights in Asuncion.  It reminds me of football Saturdays in Ann Arbor.

Dad and I outside the Presidential Palace
The Paraguay Nacional game being projected onto the wall at Manzana
The last day before we left to go to my site, I initially wanted to take them to Mercado Cuatro, but it was so hot we decided to go look at the PCV Ahecha exhibit.  I was kind of disappointed in the whole display... It's not that the pictures were bad; it's just that they were just sort of there.  There was hardly any information about the photos, and there was a random registration for a different event going on in the display room.  After that we walked back to the hotel for more AC.  That evening we went to Taberna Espanola for dinner, which is a fancy-ish Spanish restaurant near the hotel.  I had rabbit paella, and my parents got a salmon plate.  It's pricy, but can be fun to go there after spending tons of time being filthy and gross in the campo.  Sometimes it's fun to actually wear nice clothes and go out to eat an expensive meal at a nice restaurant.

The next morning, we took a city bus to the airport (another fun real-Paraguay experiences for my parents) to get the rental car.  And from there, the REAL adventure begins...

More to come!

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