Archive for March, 2007

Best Airfare to Paraguay

I just want to let you know that the best deal I found to travel to Paraguay was thru this website www.flycheapabroad.com , I bought my tickets there today.

I got the best deal possible after searching in many other places, I think it is worth to check it out.

And I’m very happy now that I finally have my ticket, the time was running out very fast and I was afr    aid the prices would climb closer to my departure day, specially in June rates are crazy.If you are traveling to Paraguay don’t forget to have a miles card so you can earn a lot of miles and use it later, it always worked for me. (no matter what airline you are using, all have their frequent flyer miles card)

Now…I’m almost there =)

Cya when I’m back from Mexico…miss me!!

Hey…and thanks for the nice comments lately.

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Britannia Pub

 A place I definitely love is Britannia Pub in Asuncion (Address: Cerro Corá 851, Asunción, Paraguay), when I’m in Asuncion I use to go there very often.

It is the only place I really like actually, because there you can go dressed like you want, no body cares, it is not a fancy place with hiper fancy people, its my favorite night place in the world as I use to joke, well I guess I mean it.

I was just talking to my friend Javier that now lives in Buenos Aires and he told me how much he misses Brit as we use to call it, and so do I, specially Sunday’s night.

The ambiance is like an Irish pub, it is a big place but not huge, it has an indoor space (which is my favorite) and has 2 outdoor spaces, one on the back and the new space is a terrace which is pretty new, where sometimes they have dance parties, but just for special occasions (like saint Patrick day or similar)

In the indoor part you will find a wood  bar with several stools, a great variety of all kind of liquors, nice warm wooden decoration, maps, sayings, and posters on the walls, there is a non smoking are inside, at the bar you can sit and order a beer or whatever you like, and the food is ABSOLUTELY delicious, prices are cheap, very fair, people are respectful. the bar tenders are your friends, so nice, fast, they know you by name after some time, that is hilarious, that just happens in Brit…,

Tons of English speaking people you will find there, expats, foreign people from different countries go there, it is like a community, you find the same people everyday and their faces become so known even if you don’t know them, you will eventually meet again and probably talk at some point.

Teens are not allowed there, the age range is from 25 and up, you will even find 60+ old people but mostly are around their 30′s.

 Britannia Pub has a great music selection…but what I most love about that place is that even if you go by yourself you can find known people and join them on their tables, people are friendly and it’s a group reunion kind of place, not much a couples kind of place.

You go there, with friends, by yourself and always have fun, and you always find people you know, it even occurred to me that I had to visit 3 or 4 tables of people that I know and was so fun!

So next time make sure that we meet at Brit!!

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what a long time…

A long time has past since my last post, well, life gets crazy sometimes…tons to do, I’m sure you can relate to that.

Today I woke up realizing that im traveling to Paraguay in less than 3 months, I still cannot decide for my airfare, it is so expensive in June because is high season because of the summer vacation. Rates are 1400 and up…that’s insane, for China I payed 700$ and it’s in another continent. =(

My friends are very excited about my arrival, some have tons of plans, even some want to travel with me around nearby cities, to take pictures and to get to know the other side of Paraguay.

Obviously Paraguay is much more than Asuncion, every city is so different, with their own lifestyle, own artisan work and own identity.

While there I’m going to have an online diary blog and register my day to day, things that I do, people I meet, places I visit, new things I discover, more adventures, tales, peoples opinions, general situation and zillions of photos of course.

I’m started my shopping for gifts to take home, Airlines just allow 2, 50 pounds suitcases, so I have to pick things carefully, it is a long trip, at least 24 hours…yikes! but it is well worthy.

 

 

Unfortunately this year my stay will be shorter than in the past years, I have to be back last days of August, so in Paraguay I will skip my “regular” person activities to take more advantage of the short time and maximize my stay…I’m becoming very practical.

I’m going to Mexico next week for 5 days and when I’m back I promise I will write about Paraguayan Currency and post some interesting photos of old paper money and stamps I found, I bet a lot of people are interested in this subject.

I love how some things evolve with time and I love even more the fact that some things never change =)

 

 

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Paraguay then…Old Postcards

One of the things about photography that has always fascinated me is the capture of the image in a certain fraction of time, the immortalization of a thing or a person thru the lens.

Certainly one of the biggest goals of photography is to register images for posterity, for eternity, that is a very romantic way to see it perhaps, but I’m sure that is the best way to have a taste of the past in the living present.

 I use to buy old photographies, even old portraits of people that I don’t know and probably many of these people are probably not in this living life anymore, I just love old photos that remind me everyday that we are here just for a fraction of time.

Thru photography I’ve learned to observe, not just changes, evolution or sometimes even abandonment but the then and now situation that makes me wonder about the uncertain future and makes me realize that we as human beings are not eternal  there was life before we were conceived there will be life after we leave, so this is our time, our Click for posterity, say cheese =)

There are things that change with time…thankfully some things never change.

Enjoy these old postcards!! (most taken in the in the first half of the 1900′s)

    Copacar                                                  LAP Lineas Aereas Paraguayas

Banco Nacional de Fomento                    Hotel Del Lago (San Bernardino)

Palacio de Lopez (Palacio de Gobierno)     Then El congreso, now El Cabildo

 

Iglesia de la Recoleta                              Iglesia de la Encarnacion

 

Calle Palma…

El Ferrocarril, Train Station

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Paraguayan Travel Agency in Miami

I just want to share this with you, some may could take some advantage of this info.

A friend of mine referred me to this Paraguayan Travel Agency in Miami, it seems that they get great deals for air tickets to Paraguay, they don’t have a website but they are located in Miami, Oasis Travel phone: 305 446 7779 they sound to be very nice and I’m probably flying with them to Asuncion! I can’t wait….I HAVE A RESERVATION ALREADYYYY!!! =-)

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Paraguayan Sun

It’s been tough around Seattle these days, we were  getting just rain, again and again…Today, finally after weeks of rain I got to see the sun and the blue sky, even though is cooler than other days (3 degrees Celsius) I don’t mind, I guess I can live with cold but not with rain and gray skies (not for so long at least).

For these past weeks I wished I could be in Paraguay, enjoying the blue skies (that is one of the things I miss most) and just hang out with my friends and family. Yesterday I was on MSN with a great friend of mine telling him that I miss a “mixto caliente”  and, a cappuccino from Sugar!  I really wish I could be there, some days are very hard and I miss Py sooo badly.

Today I got a very interesting comment on my blog today, It was from another Paraguayan living abroad (actually in Miami), wondering if he made the best decision in leaving Paraguay and telling me about he enjoyed growing up there (as much as I did)…and finally he mentioned where he got to school and it happens to be one of my classmates! but strangely I don’t recall him (we were too little)

here is his comment…

Is a terrible doubt that follows me all the time, I ask myself if it was really the best for my kids to move then from Paraguay to USA, now comparing my childhood with theirs, like you said, we had have such a terrific time and have so much memories, no many friends and relatives, that freedom without worries help a lot to develop our personality, make us free spirit but more responsible. Sometimes I feel sorry for then because even though they have the ocean, they couldn’t enjoy swimming in a little river (arroyos) or a lake like we done it, or explore the jungle, or even just go to a farm and enjoy what mother nature have to offer, and the friends that they make are gone in a year, in just elementary years my son is in his 3rd school already.
I hope in the future I don’t regret my decision, now I’ll try to take then for summer vacation every year, so at least they enjoy a little bit that experience, I thing will help.

I really enjoyed your blogs, your writing skills are very good as much as your photos, we probably meat before, I was in the same class in Santa Tere with Huberto Bauza, Fredy Soto, Hugo Colman from pre-escolar to 3rd grade, good time too in the old building. Kudos and more Kudos again.

This blog thing is amazing, it bringing’s me back old friends and give me new ones almost everyday =), at the end the sun does shine everyday!!!

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Hamaca Paraguaya – Paraguayan Hammock

Paraguayan Hammock  {Hamaca Paraguaya}

I was asked about this movie today and how to get it, because it appears to be very intersting, I will try to get it thru some friends from Paraguay, one of my friends was the photographer and the other one draw Hamaca Paraguaya’s logo =)

“Hamaca Paraguaya” (2006) directed by Paz Encina was nominated for the Cannes Film Festival and won the FIPRESCI prize in 2006 and has participated in many other festivals.

I haven’t seen it yet but I’ve read some interesting comments about it.

Directed by: Paz Encina

Release Date: 2 November 2006

Plot outline: Set in 1935, a couple are waiting for their son, rain and better days

Language: Guarani

Genre: Drama

Runtime: 78 min

Diana Sanchez wrote this text about Hamaca Paraguay

Hamaca Paraguaya is in many ways a modern-day requiem.
This is an intense and astonishingly unconventional film; its non-linear narrative unfolds through extremely long takes and mesmerizing scenes. The majority takes place on a hammock in the Paraguayan countryside, where a mature couple (Ramón del Río and Georgina Genes) sits together talking, drinking tetere and waiting for their beloved son to return from the ruinous Chaco War with Bolivia. Shot with a stationary camera, the scene perfectly captures the couple’s intimate rapport. The viewer becomes increasingly involved in the film, mesmerized by the pair’s chemistry, progressively identifying with and understanding their pain.
The film’s original and highly effective use of voice-over further bonds us to its characters. As we gradually immerse ourselves in the narrative and listen to their conversation full of mundane daily observations, we realize that these dialogues have taken place many times before. When the man and the woman part to tend to their daily chores, we hear in voice-over the last conversation each had with their son. Through this most oblique manner, we discover just how devastating a void has been left by his departure.
Encina not only laments the couple’s loss, but the loss of all the people of Paraguay, a nation in a constant state of waiting, forever hoping for a better future. Ruled by a succession of dictators, this land-locked nation remains one of Latin America’s poorest. Encina’s requiem for her homeland and her people is so beautifully accomplished that it goes beyond being a great achievement for Paraguayan filmmaking, to being a new landmark in cinema as a whole.

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Made In Paraguay

One of the things I most admire about Paraguay is its handcrafts, the diversity, the originality and the simplicity. It always impresses me every and each time I see some thing made in Paraguay.

Artisans in Paraguay create, design, get inspired using the old well known techniques that goes from generation to generation into modern and beautiful items.

Unfortunately these Artisans (Artists) are generally very poor, they sell their art at very low prices, sometimes it barely covers their cost.

I’ve also noticed how they evolved their creations and how varied and popular their art is becoming lately

It is amazing how the different cities produce different kinds of crafts, for example in Luque you will find gorgeous handmade filigree jewelry, in Aregua ceramic art (potteries and ceramic sculptures, decorative plates, painted vases, etc) and Yataity is famous for their weaving and other handcrafts like Aho Poi and Ñanduti which means spider net in Guarani, just to mention a few.

Paraguay is a very rich country with a lot of potential and with great skilled artisans, and it’s known for it’s wonderful leather items, carved wood figures, jewelry, Great musical instruments (handmade Arts and guitars for export), embossed leather items, baskets, fabrics, Saints, Masks, Mate and Terere horns and gourds, pottery, ceramic, Aho Poi, Ñanduti, and even have feathers items make by the Native Community (Nivacle and Maca), and much more.

I’m sure Paraguay has an incredible number of different handcraft items, original and exclusive, most of many other countries, here you won’t find a Paraguayan souvenir Made in china written on it.

The way I see it is that Paraguayan artisans are real Artists and I’m very proud to say that all our Art is genuine and authentic Made in Paraguay

 

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Love, live, smile more and wish well

I believe this photo was taken by my niece Michelle

I’m not a pessimistic person, never was, but I’m a very sensitive and a practical person which tries to see things out of the box and mostly differ with others people’s opinions, sometimes see the beauty where apparently is none and other times I see crap where others see “beauty” maybe that is why I like photography, thru it I can express myself from differents point of view meaning that we don’t own the true, we humans in general just see the same situation from different angles and that makes us all partially right and partially wrong about the exact same situation.

Since I started this blog I try to be as objective as I can, but I’m human driven by emotions and own points of view based on my own experiences.

I go back to Paraguay once a year in I stay there around 3 months, I partially live there because my mom has a house and we stay there with here, I try to have my activities, I still work while there,  I keep going to Chinese class at a Chinese school, and to the gym when im not too lazy. I go out a lot with my friends, they are lovely and they care about me, which is nice, makes me happy, maybe that’s why it is so difficult for me to cut the bond, well, actually I don’t even want that =)

Being there makes me realize that is a real life, not a perfect bubble environment, but the current life there can be sad, there are poverty all around, on the streets teenager mom’s with little babies asking for money, or on the street lights everytime you stopped the car you get surrounded by windshield cleaners and so on…

Talking about poverty I remember that one of my best friends called me one day saying that she saw an advertisement in the news paper that they need some specific medicine and other items for the pediatrics department at the Hospital de clinicas, well, so we went to buy the medicines and other things that I don’t remember and we drove there…

Before I went I always heard horrible things about that place but I had to see it in person to be totally horrified and I actually was…

As we entered to that place, I noticed that it was dirty, the wall falling apart (the construction was very old), the paint was feeling of and you could see mold on the walls, we keek walking thru narrow alleys where they smell was disgusting and you could see forgotten people all over the place, it was a nightmare and I was speechless.

After a while we arrived to the pediatrician department and in a big room saw about 15 to 20 little cribs and bed with these beautiful kids, I was so sad, and im still sad while im writing now, most of the kids were accompanied by their moms, all turned around and saw us walking inside to talk to the doctor, there was just 1 doctor on guard at that time, a yound lady, probably around 25 years, full of hope still.

She was very very nice to us, we explained to here why we were there and then she called us ANGELS, I felt so bad, I didn’t do anything and she called us that way, I felt felt bad against me, against the government that allows that a public and some of the main care hospitals are in a total abandonment.

We talked for a while with the doctor about the general situation and I could not believe that was happening under our noses, people were literally dying for the lack of some basic medicine or things like that.

Mom’s were looking so sad near their little ones, that broke my heart, they were looking at us with hope, it was a breaking heart experience.

My friends and I were totally totally speechless as we walked out, then out of the blue one mother was crying and came after us shouting desperately that she needed help for her child, and I could relate to that, she approached the car crying, I saw her desperation, obviously I gave her all what I had, she thanked and left, I thanked her more for making me see that we are in this life to serve and not to be serve.

That experience was a lesson, I’m still learning that helping others in any way is all about, with a word, with a smile, with your time, with some medicines you can make a persons life easier or sometimes even save.

What I have learned

1. We are in this life to serve.

2. The world is bigger than my problems

3- I can make a difference (probably not change the world)

4- Be happier with less and do more for others

5- Not jugde by the facts but by the results.

6- Love, live, smile more and wish well

7- People need love and attention.

8- Selfishness is so overrated.

9- Listen to intuition and to the heart.

10- Never lose the sensibility.

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Dengue Fever in Paraguay

Source:

Public Health Agency of Canada

I decided to write about this topic because most of my friends and people that I know are somehow affected of were infected with Dengue, which is affecting Paraguay in many ways.

There are some things you should know about DENGUE, specially if you are planning to travel to Paraguay.

For the past months Paraguay is seriously affected by the Dengue Fever,  there have been registered about 11.000 cases of dengue in Asuncion alone. The estimated total for all of Paraguay is more than 100.000 cases.

For those who are planning to travel to Paraguay beware of the dengue. Well, now let me explain what dengue is.

Dengue is a viral illness spread by the bite of a mosquito which is infected with one of the four strains of dengue flaviruses. The name of the female mosquito that is mainly responsible is Aedes.

Symptoms: It is similar to flu like symptoms, including fever, headache, muscle aches and joint pain, pain behind the eyes and a faint rash, it usually lasts 3 to 5 days, rarely 7 days.

There is also a more dangerous form of the disease called dengue hemorrhagic, it can be fatal, Its symptoms include loss of appetite, vomiting, intense abdominal pain and bleeding, which may be from the nose or under the skin, may occur usually in those who have already been infected, have suppressed immune systems or are young (under 15 years old).

There is currently no vaccine which protects against dengue fever, prevention is the key, since there is no treatment for dengue fever.

The magnitude and extend of the current outbreak in Paraguay has led to national health authorities to declare a medical emergency.

Recommendations for travelers.

All travelers to Paraguay should use standard mosquito precautions, including the following:

  • The mosquito vector bites during the day, with increased activity 2 hours after sunrise and several hours before sunset. During the hours when the mosquito vector is most active, avoid going outdoors, or otherwise use an effective mosquito repellent on exposed skin.
  • If you develop a fever during your trip, or within 2 weeks of leaving the area where dengue fever occurs, seek medical advice.
  • Wear light-colored clothing with full length pant legs and sleeves; and use insect repellent on exposed skin.
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