Archive for January, 2007

Augusto Roa Bastos…special request

I just opened my email and got a challinging request from a blog reader…to comment about Yo el supremo by Augusto Roa Bastos.

So, here is the deal.

1- I’m going to ask a friend to send it to me (the last time i read it was in highschool) hopefully it arrives soon.

2- I’m going to read it and refresh my memory

3- Going to write a post with my comments, personal opinion and some photos that I will try to get from a friend who is a professional photographer and had the honor to photograph Roa Bastos not long before he died in april 2005.

Roa Bastos was a big writer, the biggest Paraguay had and probably will have

Here is some info from Wikipedia

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Augusto Roa Bastos, (June 13, 1917 – April 26, 2005), was a Paraguayan novelist, widely acclaimed as one of the greatest that nation has produced. He was best known for Yo el Supremo (1974; translated as “I, the Supreme”), one of the foremost Latin American novels to tackle the question of dictators and dictatorships, in the person of José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia, who ruled Paraguay with an iron fist and no little eccentricity for 26 years in the early 19th century. His other major work was Hijo de Hombre (1960; “Son of Man”); he also wrote numerous other novels and stories.

He was born and spent his childhood in Iturbe, a small town some 200 km to the south of Asunción, the capital, where his father worked as an estate manager. In 1932, with the outbreak of the Chaco War, he dropped out of school and joined the troops as a medical auxiliary; the horrors he experienced during this time set him firmly against violence for the rest of his life. After the war, his first jobs were as a bank clerk and reporter on the Asunción daily El País; around the same time, he also began writing for the theatre. During World War II he was invited to London by the British Council; he also served as the El País war correspondent in London and covered the Nuremberg Trials for that paper.

In 1947, because of his activities in opposition to President Higinio Morínigo during the Paraguayan Civil War, he was forced to flee the country. He settled in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he published most of his work. With the arrival of the military dictatorship in 1976, however, he left Argentina for France, where he taught Guarani and Spanish literature at the University of Toulouse. He did not return to his native Paraguay until 1989, following the downfall of Alfredo Stroessner. That same year, he was awarded the Premio Cervantes (Cervantes Prize), awarded by the Spanish Royal Academy and its correspondent academies in the various American nations, in recognition of outstanding contributions to the Spanish-language novel; he spent the prize money on educational and literary projects in Paraguay.


[edit] Bibliography

  • 1942 – El ruiseñor de la aurora, y otros poemas
  • 1947-1949 – El naranjal ardiente, nocturno paraguayo
  • 1950 – El fiscal
  • 1960 – Hijo de hombre (“Son of Man”)
  • 1974 – Yo el Supremo (“I, the Supreme”)
  • 1979 – Lucha hasta el alba
  • 1992 – Vigilia del Almirante
  • 1996 – Madama Sui
  • 1953 – El trueno entre las hojas
  • 1967 – Los pies sobre el agua
  • 1969 – Moriencia
  • 1972 – Cuerpo presente, y otros textos
  • 1974 – El pollito de fuego
  • 1974 – Los Congresos
  • 1976 – El somnámbulo
  • 1979 – Los Juegos
  • 1980 – Antología personal
  • 1984 – Contar un cuento, y otros relatos
  • 1989 – On Modern Latin American Fiction
  • 1996 – Metaforismos
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My life in Paraguay

When I was living in Paraguay I never thought about the possibility of moving to live where else, nowadays a lot of Paraguayan have migrated to Spain or USA searching for a better li, not because they wanted to leave but because sometimes you have to do what you have to do and search to build a better future

While living there it was not an option for me, my family was there, I went to law school and graduated, I had a law office and worked there with a lot of enthusiasm the first years and more disappointed with the “law” and the system the last years I lived there

In my days on the court or ministries I just came across with some ignorant and corrupt people that made me realize that the lack of education even in well “educated people” is limited to their own greed and pursue of power, Paraguay is the country of “friends” and “recommendations” if you are cousin of the friend of the uncle of the niece of the girlfriend of some politician or supreme court member you have a possibility of getting a promotion or something you may want, but if you are honest and hardworking that doesn’t count in the country of “friends”.

But my childhood was very happy, I lived in Ciudad del Este until 12 years, then my family moved to Asuncion, I went to Goethe school, a German school, (because my mom is german) I had friends and freedom, even though we had freedom we felt safe, we never did anything wrong, not drugs, alcohol or cigarettes for me, and I’m very happy about the way my parents educated me, with tons of advices I never got in trouble.

I can recall that our access to the world outside Paraguay was limited, we were like in a bubble, in a city that at the time was more like a town, where teenagers were crazy about music, at the time there was no cd just cassettes and LPs and there was a place in Asuncion called Walhala where they sold Cassettes, Lps and later CDs, where teens went to pick up the songs they liked from the Lps and Carlos (the owner) would record them in a cassette, that was our only access to get a little touch from outside, and of course some movies that arrived in Paraguay months or even years after their premiers in USA or Europe.

Looking back it still amazes me, we were so happy with so little.

Growing up there was wonderful for me, we went to school, we were happy hanging around with our friends all the time, we didn’t have a car, we walked a lot, took the bus and eventually my brother had a car borrowed from my mom and took me and my friends to places, we had ice creams at some of the few places available, hijacked, played pool and bowling (I still enjoy doing that while in Paraguay).

It was definitely a peaceful environment, and looking back I notice that I couldn’t be happier, I would do it all over again if I had to live again,  and I think that being able to say that, means that I had lived my life intensely and big part of that is thanks to my parents, thanks to the trust they gave me, thanks to their advices and education, and I’m so happy that they didn’t forbidden me to do things I enjoyed according to my age.

Now, sometimes when I listen to some songs that remind me of that years of my life, the things I did, the now unforgettable friends I had and still have, the person that I was, the joy I had, the tears and the smiles of those days, all those experiences made me the person I’m today, for good or for bad every moment is unique and has to be lived in an intense way, those times will never come back, neither these I’m living today in my own eternal present.

I have learned to enjoy every unique moment called present (like a gift), the past is already gone, from time to time I’m able to retrieve some memory stored in some part of my mind, and sometimes I find myself smiling while remembering some crazy stuff I did

My now present will become a past someday and I hope to refer to it with so much affection as I refer to my memories of growing up in Paraguay.

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Terere Bar – Bar de Terere

 click here => Bar de Terere

Sunset in San Bernardino Paraguay

I was chatting with a Paraguayan friend online today who told me he went last weekend to San Bernardino on the way to Altos,  and found out a really great place, it’s a Terere bar, where people go in groups and choose their guampas, thermos and bombillas, they can choose among more than 20 kinds of yerba mate teas and herbs and build their own terere kits and have fun, there are also empanadas and chipas that go along with the terere.

The view of the bar is great, a totally relaxing environment, the decor is very typical with hammock (Hamacas) and wire chairs and other folkloric decoration, it is just open during the season (till February)

I found it very interesting and very original that some friends came up with that idea and now there is a reality.

Yesterday I went to Tully’s cafe here in Seattle and it happens that they added yerba mate drinks to their menu, who great is that?, and Paraguay is one of the biggest producer and consumers of yerba mate with tons of brands and interesting herbs even to lose weigh, it is very health and you can drink it like a tea hot (mate) and cold (terere), and I’m very glad that Yerba Mate tea is going beyond South American borders and that more people is learning to know not just all the advantages of the tea but all the culture that is behind it.

I have talked about terere in a previous post so if you want to know a little more about terere and cultural facts, click here=> Terere, a perfect excuse

To all the people involved in that terere bar, congratulations! and I’m looking forward to drink terere there soon =)

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Organizing my trip to Paraguay!

Asuncion, aerial viewTime is flying…many of you know im planning to travel to Paraguay in mid June…and just today I was thinking about that and realized that it is only 5 months away

In the best case scenario it takes 24 hour hours and at least 1500$ from Seattle to Asuncion, so before my trip I have it get ready, because it is a long trip, last year I went to China and it took me only 18 hours to the opposite side of the world, ironically traveling to Paraguay which is in the same continent takes longer, with more connections and twice as expensive.

Before my trip I have to: 1- Save some money because that is the only way I can afford traveling so far every year, will have to sell a lot of jewelry thru my new website, pretty soon, when is ready I will let you know the name.

2- I have to lose some weight, maybe 10 pounds, since in Paraguay eating and going out is socially I can’t arrive fat because while there things get worse, so I have to lose 10 pounds so I will not come back rolling. lol (I have some great tips to lose weight so I will keep you updated on that.)

3- Reserving my tickets with time, I will check my miles, maybe I’m lucky

4- I would like to buy another camera to take better pictures, so I have to work on that too

5- Buy presents, presents and more presents for my whole family and friends! Every year I say that I wont buy presents again because my suitcases always are overweighed but finally I ALWAYS end up buying gifts for everybody, people love things they can’t find or afford there, so for girls Victoria’s Secret lotions and body mist is a good option, tons of chocolates and kids and baby clothes what they love. (I will keep you updated how it goes)

6- I’m thinking about a challenge: Learning Guarani, I’m not sure yet about this but I think that is one of the most expressive languages of the world and maybe that would be a great goal…let me sleep over that idea ;)

7- This year im going to travel more to the country side, and I would like to visit some foundations in the Paraguayan chaco, those people are doing a great job, maybe you and I can help too!, let me know if you want to get involved somehow. Check them out

Fundacion Melodia and Pai Puku

8- I don’t have a number 8

9- Email and letting people know that im traveling, make a list of my friends numbers, things to do, places to visit, and of course I’m going to work there too, and keep studying Chinese as I did last year, Paraguay is my second house so I’m not a tourist there, my life has to be as normal as possible.

10- Having a ticket in hand, 10 pounds lighter, my bags packed (overweighed as usual) full of gifts, a new camera…how exciting is that? Wanna join?

and of course while im there I will blog more than ever to tell you how things are, how the changed and what is my prospective about them. I will keep you updated with what’s going on till June!

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Moving or Visiting Paraguay?

Paraguay

I’m getting a lot of emails from people going to move to Paraguay or going to live there for a while, or retiring there (which I think it’s a very good option) or people that are going to study there o just visiting there for a short time. I thank all of you that keep reading my blog, and hopefully enjoying it =)

When people ask me if they are going to like Paraguay I always answer that there are 2 kind of people, the ones who will love it and the ones that will hate it, and maybe a 3rd category of people, the kind of people that will go to Paraguay to observe, to learn, to catch a mental image, to notice the unnoticeable, to believe the unbelievable, to look for the experience of enjoying the unthinkable and maybe to see beauty where there are just abandonment left.

I came up with some questions and answer about what people that are going to Paraguay need to know, not the why or the

Do I need a visa (not referring to credit card) to enter Paraguay? : If you are US citizen you will need a visa, maybe you want to get one from Brazil too, because while there its a must to visit Brazil, If you are Mercosur or European citizen, you don’t need visa, and for other countries, please contact your nearest consulate.

What is the usual first impression upon arrival in Asuncion? The first impact every time i arrive is the humidity, the air, is so much different, summer time is very hot and humid, in the airport in costumes sometimes they are corrupt and in other words they may ask you for some money to let pass your stuff, always in a nice way, but just give what you think is fair, that obviously gives Paraguay a bad image. The airport size is relatively small, and unfortunately Paraguay doesn’t not own a airline, sadly true.

Where to stay upon arrival: There are so many places to choose, on the utopist, on the way from airport to city there is a Sheraton Hotel ( that is not my choice, but is a nice place to stay, very good located). Please see my hotel list for more info from past posts or click here

Hotels

Where can i rent a car? Yes, you can rent a car even at the airport, it’s not as cheap as you might think but it’s a good option to get around, please read my post about driving in Paraguay, driving there is a chaos and you will have to get used to it and develop some skills. Some are: National Car Rental, Hertz at the Airport (+595 21 605708), Fast Rent a Car (+595 21 60 54 26), Inter Locadora (+595 21 66 02 17)

Can I get around public transportation? Yes, not very clean but it works for a big part of us, taxi’s are very cheap and is a good way to get around. Radio taxi (+ 595 21 311 080)

Is there a tourism information center in Asuncion: Actually yes, it is in downtown Asuncion, Direction General del Turismo, address: Palma y Alberdi. (more…)

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Some Paraguayan Churches

iglesia de luqueAregua churchCathedral Nuestra Señora de la AsuncionIglesia Luque

Iglesia de San Bernardino ParaguayAsuncion View

Iglesia San Jose

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Altos

A friend Richard Portillo is sharing this great view of Altos with us

Gracias Rikillo!!!

It personally find Altos a very charming place, with beautiful views.

It makes me remember the time we went there with some friends to have a typical sunday day, so we drove from Asuncion to San Ber and then to Altos is not far at all, let’s say 15 more minutes or even less from Samber.

We arrived in downtown and went to have lunch in a very charming place called Comedor Ña Ñeca, where they have the most exquisite and tradicional paraguayan cuisine, I was really impressed by the people arriving from different towns and cities to have lunch in Altos at that place, and I was very glad we made the same choice

I went with some really great friends which is totally miss, I ordered a bife cogua, that is like a steak with onions and eggs on the top, was delicious, my friend Rosa loves the Surubi fish there, so I’m thinking of trying it next time I go to Altos. You just can’t go wrong with Surubi.

Altos is a very calm, quiet city, it is beautiful, it has a great Church and lots of Palm trees, great views. Altos means hights and it’s true, it some how located on a hill, from where you can see the whole Ypacarai lake boreded by San Bernardino, Ypacarai and Aregua cities.

Paraguay, Altos, vista del LagoBife a caballo

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The meaning of some Paraguayan cities

This is an incomplete list of how people knows some paraguayan cities, I hope with time we can get a complete list of all paraguayan cities to preserve for the future. Near the city actually name it’s stated a frase that describe that city on paraguayan license plates. How cool is that? It hope the tradition goes on…

*Areguá, la ciudad de la frutilla (también la ciudad de la cerámica)

Aregua, the ceramic city
* Atyra, la ciudad mas limpia del país, también la ciudad ecológica

Atyra, the ecologic city
* Asunción, madre de ciudades (its the cleanest city)

Asuncion, mother of cities
* Ayolas, ciudad de la pesca y la electricidad

Ayolas, fishing and electricity city

*Caacupé, capital espiritual de la republica

Caacupe the spiritual capital of the republic

* Caaguazú, capital de la madera

Caaguazu, capital of the wood

* Capiatá, la ciudad del mito y la leyenda

Capiata, mith and legend city

* Caazapá, capital del hechizo

Caazapa, capital of spell

* Carapegua, capital del poyvi

Carapegua, capital of the poyvi

* Ciudad del Este, Ciudad jardín

Ciudad del Este, garden city
* Coronel Oviedo, capital del trabajo

Coronel Oviedo, Capital of the work

* Coronel Bogado, capital de la chipa

Coronel Bogado, capital of the chipa

. (more…)

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El Paraguayo

A friend of mine just sent me this…If you understand spanish and know paraguayans you will certainly laugh…

El Paraguayo no estudia, aprende  de memoria.

*El paraguayo no usa pastas dentales, usa “Kolinos”

*El Paraguayo no se disgusta, se quebranta.

*El Paraguayo no eructa, medio vomita lento.

*El Paraguayo no piropea, dice obsenidades.

*El Paraguayo no se pelea, se moketea.

*El Paraguayo no es fuerte, es Mbarete.

*El Paraguayo no tiene olor en los pies, tiene py ne.

*El Paraguayo no patea la pelota, chuta.

*El Paraguayo no amanece desganado, tiene pire vai.

*El Paraguayo no calza zapatos deportivos, usa champion.

*El Paraguayo no juega futbol, juega partido.

*El Paraguayo no juega a las bolitas, juega valita.

*El Paraguayo no usa calozoncillos, tiene anatomico.

*El Paraguayo no utiliza mostaza, usa savora. (more…)

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My blog in Another blog!!

Days ago I got an email from a Chinese American girl that is living in Korea and moving to Paraguay with her familiy, the biggest coincidence was that they lived in Seattle area for many years and still have their house around here very close to mine actually… Internet if for sure a great and useful way to get to know interesting people.

She mencioned my blog on her husband’s blog on my birthday, how cool is that?! that was a great gift for sure!

Here is what she said about me and my blog…

Check out her husband’s blog, it is very interesting! and im Looking forward to meet the Edwards family and I wish them a great start, good luck and many blessings in their new adopted country: Paraguay

World aventures

December 28
Featured Blog: Muna’s Blog

I searched the Web last month to see whether I could find any Paraguay-focused blogs written in English. There aren’t many Paraguay blogs in the blogosphere written any language, even in Spanish, German, or Guarani (an indigenous Paraguayan language), Paraguay’s primary languages. That’s why I was fortunate to stumble upon Muna’s Blog (http://www.emeraldpass.com/blog/), one of the few English-language blogs focusing on Paraguay (World Adventurers will also focus on Paraguay next year after we move to Asuncion). A native Paraguayan, Muna now lives with her family in suburban Seattle. We’re happy that Muna is not only Paraguayan but also has a Seattle connection. She now lives not far from where we lived before we moved overseas. We’ve already been in contact with Muna and plan to meet her when we visit Seattle next February. Next summer, she will return to Paraguay for a visit (which is actually wintertime in Paraguay because the seasons are reversed in the Southern Hemisphere). We’re looking forward to meeting Muna again when she visits our new, adopted home. In addition, we hope that Muna will introduce us to Paraguayan culture, especially Paraguayan locals. We’ve been told by many people who have spent time in Paraguay that meeting and making Paraguayan friends can be an immense challenge for expatriates. I’m looking forward to experiencing Paraguayan culture at the local level and hope that Muna can help us get started.Muna’s blog features a treasure trove of information about Paraguay. It is quite interactive, with videos, music, and photos of Paraguay that help the country come alive on the Internet. Muna’s blog heightens our anticipation of what lays in store for us in this interesting land, and it piques our interest in getting to know Muna and her family. Check out her blog

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