Paraguay

AMEX Hostel

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My last day in Paraguay (day 9), was more of a few hours divided between a shower and morning coffee, saying goodbye to my extended family (Olivia said she would be very sad when I leave), and having to check my bag at the airport because it was: Too heavy to carry on, and they had a full flight. Reason number two mooted reason number one. Sound logic. She could have just told me it was a full flight. I’m hungry. Me hungry = me moody. Once I got through immigration, I called Meli to let her know I was safe on the “other side” and had somewhat of an awkward second goodbye, because it was a second goodbye. I thought I was going to cry, but I was able to choke back precipitation, even after seeing Baba’s eyes well up this morning as she sat in the firm grasp of her older sister. I ate half of a ham…

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Paraguay, Day 8: Finale

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EARLY MORNING – OUTSIDE – PERRELLA-PRIETO RESIDENCE After dancing, drinking and having a great time watching football with the family (and new friends) – and finally convincing the DJ to play one song I could sing and dance to, I arrived back to Meli & Jorge’s house. Went upstairs, removed a somewhat damp shirt (63% due to the early morning humidity), and laid down in bed. Lights out. I tried sleeping in, but ended up getting up at 11, (looking back, this is sleeping in for me), to go to the pool at Meli’s parent’s house, where I was offered an all-natural Passion Fruit drink, which I accepted. Naturally. Cecilia, Meli’s mom, brought it back and it was one of the strongest “mixed” drinks I’ve ever had. I quoted “mixed” because it was fruit-colored alcohol. CUE: numb tongue. (Say that repeatedly until your words get tied.) This was the second Brazilian drink I was introduced to while in Paraguay. The…

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Año Novo

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Meli, Jorge, Olivia and I left around 9:30 to head to Jorge’s parent’s house. Had a Johnny Walker Black on the rocks as I sat and played with Pete (their [small] dog), had a few of my first Japanese-roasted peanuts and discussed the weather. (When you don’t speak the language, small talk is about all you can contribute.) I met one of his aunts, an uncle and his cousin who lived in Delaware for seven years. I also met the other two [big] dogs who were secluded to prevent a stampede. After my drink and multiple cheek-kisses and ciaos, we headed out for Meli’s parent’s house. Jorge’s mother is fluent in English and wished me “Happy New Year” on our way out the door. We arrived at Meli’s parent’s house around 10:15. Everyone was wearing white and enjoying small finger foods in the downstairs living room. Cecilia taught Oli how to do Brazilian dances with her shoulders and she put…

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Nochevieja

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I woke up around nine for breakfast at Cafe de Acá, (not where I woke up, only where I had breakfast). My “Americano” consisted of eggs, potatoes, toast, bacon and a cinnamon roll. Not to mention the variety of beverages I ordered with it: jugo de naranja, a Coca-Cola Light and a coffee, (and I still felt as if I needed more fluids). Tad, Gabe, Baba, Cecilia, Guga, Meli, Oli, Jorge and I sat outside and enjoyed the cloudy weather, which sprinkled on us for all of about ten to fifteen droplets. Guga, Meli, Oli and I went to a neighboring city, Luque, so I could complete my souvenir shopping. En route, I asked what language they speak. They did not laugh. We shopped for filigrain jewelry for the women in my life, and Aunt Guga bought Olivia a lovely bracelet. After our brief shopping trip, we headed back to Meli’s parent’s house to drop off the generous aunt. On…

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Internacional BBQ

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I woke up a little late, obviously, and put on my bathing suit to head to Meli’s parent’s house for lunch. Lunch was two small steaks, rice, beans, salad and the bread crumb Brazilian dish. Delicious. I passed up on dessert and just drank a few sodas while sitting in the downstairs living room, where Oli showed me her stocking. After applying a fair amount of sunscreen, I put my “reminisce” mix on and after cleaning it, I laid next to the pool and drank Pilsen. A moment later, Tad asked me to help him get the K-State game on, because Roberto’s computer was having issues loading ESPN3.com. I found the game and set it up to start streaming. Tad joined me at the pool with Meli, Oli and Caca while Guga slept because she went to Meli’s doctor appointment that morning at 9. We talked about real estate, travel, visas, health insurance, graphic design, (Caca is studying it), and…

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We Kilt Kenny

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The best way to seamlessly transition into part three, is to just do it. If you didn’t read part’s one and two, take a step back and start here. After dinner, I joined Guga and her dad for the ride back to his house where Claudia (one of Guga’s oldest friends) would soon be. I sat outside on the back patio with Roberto and Cecilia for about ten minutes as Maica chased lizards around the dark walls of the outdoor patio. Not many words were exchanged until an old song came on, which sounded like Frank Sinatra, with whom they were both familiar. After a short debate, we all agreed it was, in fact, Frank on the radio. Claudia arrived and the three of us went to an Irish bar called Kilkenny (all I could think of was South Park. There were no tables open, so were were just going to stand and drink. We went upstairs to the bar…

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The Market to Millionaire Status

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I slept through Olivia’s attempt at waking me – knocking and asking Meli if she thought I was sleeping, but awoke to Meli’s answer and her telling Oli to let me sleep and be quiet. Ironic, don’t ya think? I smiled and drifted in and out of sleep for another thirty minutes. Finally, I put on some shorts and went downstairs to have some coffee before changing for a trip to the market with Meli, where I became her helper. The children waiting inside the market to “help” people (for some spare change) approached her immediately upon entering; however, she told them (en Español) I was her helper for the day. Sorry champs. There was fresh fruit and vegetables everywhere. I even saw Oli’s “sleeping” pig, which was actually a dead pig laying inside a glass case. After the market, Meli and I went to the mall. She needed to deposit a check and I needed to exchange my USD…

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The Morning After

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Slowly, I rose to my feet and let the blood flow south to my Nikes before stretching, grabbing my maletas and exiting the plane. I followed the yellow line for transit passengers to a second security gate, which I could have easily passed through un-detected, except for the armed Argentinian ordering me to do things in Spanish, which from TSA muscle memory led me to believe I needed to remove my shoes, belt, glasses and jacket, and prepare to be touched in my bathing-suit area. Thankfully, EZE security is AOK with foregoing touching me down there. Time to find my next flight. The televisions displaying departures indicated gate B; however, every other gate on the same screen was a number. Confused, I am. Also, quite parched. In as few words as possible (i.e. only one), I asked for water from the nearby vendor. Drank the entire bottle at once and went on the hunt for gate B. I tried to…

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