Archive for July, 2007

Filigree Larimar, my jewelry project

larimar conjunto Filigree Larimar Jewelry, where 2 Latin American countries come together. This is not jewelry, this is art.

One thing that I wanted to do in Paraguay was to create my Silver Filigree and Larimar Collection that I have previously designed.

We I arrived I had no idea who to hire to help me with my project, but that was one of my priorities in this trip and I’m glad I started early since my trip has been cut short at least I will be taking home a great jewelry collection.

To finally have these pieces of art come true in the material world I started to design them at the end of last year and was working on improving my designs during the first semester of this year.

The hard part was to buy the Larimar stones, these stones only exists in 1 square kilometer in the Dominican Republic and besides its beauty it has many spiritual and physical properties, it is a rare and hard to find stone…I was lucky and found a person who sent them to me with a very ordinary setting.

I brought the stones with me and a friend recommended me a jeweler from Luque, I showed him my notebook and we started our project my first week in Paraguay.

Most of my models are made of Silver Filigree and old technique that consists in very thin Sterling silver threads twisted together making wonderful pieces of art, this is the first time ever that Larimar and Filigree are combined in this way and I’m absolutely glad about the results.

I hope I can keep enlarging my jewelry collection because this pieces are exclusive and I’m very happy with this personal project and hope It will also be liked by my clients.

One filigree piece can involve 36 hours of handwork. All my pieces are handmade by very fine and skilled artisans.

I hope you like my pieces as much as I enjoyed creating them =-)

 

Larimar2 Larimar aros Larimar ring larimar bracelet

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Aregua Atyra and Altos – Paraguay Country side

 aregua Two Argentinean photographers and 3 other friends were visiting Paraguay for the last 3 days, they wanted to go for a trip day in the side country, we took them there…I was also very happy because since I’m here (1 month ago) this was my first field trip.

We left Asuncion around 10am and we first Arrived in Aregua, know by it’s Church, its strawberries and its pottery art…I bought 3 ceramic plates and took lots of pictures.

It was a beautiful day, sunny and warm, people were seated on the side walk drinking terere, going to church, or just sitting around without doing anything…It is very different to Asuncion, people are more laid back and literally doing anything, I told my friends: I love the way this guys enjoy a sunday, so calm and relaxed…they one said: Today is not sunday, today is TUESDAY!!!!…I think in the country side everyday is like sunday…and I don’t know what this guys do for living, I didn’t see them work or starve.

Then we drove to Altos which is a city that is on a hill, from there you can see the whole Ypacarai lake, it has also a nice church and a great traditidional place to eat where I have been before, Called Comedor Na Neca, I had a bife a caballo, we toured a little bit around the town and drove to Atyra, the cleanest town of Paraguay.

This was my first time in Atyra, what a cute little town!! Very clean indeed, but everything seems so empty in all these little towns.

I was impressed by the way all was so clean, people we so calm and respectful, we even left the car with our photography equipment unlocked but no body attempted to touch…there I felt very safe in all senses.

We then went to a very nice and big hotel called Casa del Monte in Atyra to have coffee, the view was awesome, it is a very beautiful hotel maybe run by some foreigner…I has a great pool and a fantastic scenic view…

Far from the dirt and pollution from the city…Paraguay is much more than you see in some postcards.

Paraguay has an unique spirit where natural beauty reigns and where we all become grateful slaves of this unimaginable peace.

 

Click photos to enlarge

altos church  altos ropasaregua2atyra Atyra1

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A fun meeting

I have meet the Edwards family before in Seattle area, they contact me thru my blog and we met in person.

My friends use to make fun of me because I spend so much time and effort writing about Paraguay and taking pictures to post in this blog and they think that is not worthy…I definitely can proof them wrong.

I have meil capot the Edwards family in Asuncion again yesterday, they just arrived in Asuncion around 1 week ago…coincidently they live around 6 blocks from my current house in Asuncion, exact same neighborhood .

They showed me their home and then we went to a nice restaurant called Il Capo. I introduced them to 2 dear friends of mine, the beautiful Maureen and Javier (one of the best photographers in Paraguay, no kidding) and we had wine and a great conversation, they are open minded and smart people.

We had a really nice evening and I was glad to learn that they like Asuncion better than expected.

Thru this blog I have meet incredible people, I’m so happy that I keep doing this because I have so much fun, writing, posting pictures, meeting people by email, receiving comments and meeting people in person.

I definitely making so many new and interesting friends…and for me life is about the human factor, relationships and a good chat.

Welcome to Paraguay Mike, Jing and Alex, I wish you have a great great stay in Paraguay.

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Meeting Marie and Bettina

Today was a great day, I met 2 great people.

Marie contacted me thru my blog months ago, she was interested in helping a foundation I blogged about, she is a professor in Kentucky…and ironically we met in Paraguay, not in the US where both of us live. Marie is bright, she speaks perfectly spanish and has a great sense of humor, which I love.

Bettina is also a lovely person, she works for FE y ALEGRIA and know Marie for at least 4 years. Both are involved in the foundation. They are doing a great job and trying to come up with some ideas which can help even more our people

We meet for lunch at Bar San Roque  which is a very traditional restaurant where artists, writers and poets use to meet, it is around 100 years old and has a lot of stories to tell…the ambiance is great and the food is awesome.

These to ladies are certainly great people and very talented…we couldn’t stop talking and I felt so comfortable, it was like I always knew them, it was like family, it was awesome!

We are planing to go to Yaguaron together where Bettina’s parents live, her mother is a very talented person who makes all kind of traditional fabrics, Ao poi, Nanduti, encaje yu, etc.

I’m really looking forward to go on a trip with them, I will be so much fun.

After lunch I wandered around and saw a very sad situation, in on of the main public parks in downtown Asuncion…Native people are camping in black plastic tents for over a month now, they are requesting to the government help to plant, seeds, machines, all what they need for their agriculture…maybe even lands. The government seems to ignore them and it is sad that this situation went that far and it appears that no body is caring about anything.

It was really impressive to see people waiting in line to get some bread that a non was distributing to kids and women. 

This is the last year of the current government and I suppose that this situation is not among the priorities.

And what most saddens me is the impotency to do something about it…maybe that’s why I blog and take pictures, maybe this is my way to do something probably not enough.

I think that even worse than this and other similar situation is to become insensitive to them, when that occurs we lose our title of human beings and become part of a kingdom where selfishness reigns.

 py35paraguay1

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Today is tomorrow, the day after tomorrow or next week.

Paraguayan are certainly among the more laid back people I have come across with…its not good or bad, it is just the way it is.

Paraguay is one of the few places I know where the time is never the time…the day is never the day, maybe even next day could be not the day. If someone promise that your order will be ready on Monday, expect it by Thursday (if you are lucky)

In Paraguay when someone tells you ”I’ll call you” or see you tomorrow doesn’t actually literally  mean it but it’s not a lie either, it is just the way it is, it is a ice breaker sentence, or a good bye sentence, it is a way to show the wish to keep in contact, or it’s a way to make the conversation short and leave if for another day.

Even if you have made an appointment in advance, make sure you call at least on day earlier  to “confirm it”, most people expect a certain confirmation call to really mentally set the appointment and actually make it happen.

Even in big companies, they set a time and never show up in time and you are lucky if they even show up at all…most show up the next day, some with some lame excuse, others doesn’t even bother to make up an excuse.

Thanks God I see an improvement, It used to be a lot worse, but it still has a lot to improve. People are used to this system already…and I’m not sure if that bothers people or “time” is just a reference point.

In Paraguay the time is never the time, and if someone tells you : I’ll call you tomorrow” don’t take it literally, after all beyond culture just one other thing rules: the rule of 0 (cero) Stress

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New Asuncion…nightlife and more

py27 py25py28  py26  py30py29 py31 py32 py34  py33

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Photography

Finally today I went downtown Asuncion to take some pictures…Downtown on Sunday’s is literally a ghost town, no kidding!…It was a little creepy, I was not scared, well, maybe a little bit because I heard that some people got their cameras stolen on Sundays.

I never saw a city center so empty as a sunday, downtown is the older part of the city, the historical part (my favorite part). The new part is near Villa Morra, where all the shoppings are, and tons of new stores, bars, restaurants and pubs are build daily.

The new and modern part of the city shows luxury and beauty, perfection and harmony…it is too artificial for my taste, feels like replicas, they look like very man made for an specific purpose to reach the senses in an almost superficial way.

In Asuncion we have Mc. Donald’s, Pizza Hut, Burger King, tons of Argentinean brands like Bonafide, Cafe Havanna and Freddo…ah, we also have Hooters here. The contrast between “new” Asuncion and “old” Asuncion is everyday more evident, one part is full of life day and night, the other empty, lonely and in decadence.

Manzana “T “and the Galleria, among others (the modern part of the city) known for the variety of restaurants, stores, pubs and bars…people usually go there well dressed and with a sophisticated air (unlike me).

Today I took some pictures of my ghost city, of that place that sadly is falling apart, of the part that saw the Independence day and that has seen our presidents making one mistake after the other…

Today I took pictures and I realized AGAIN that I’m never so happy as I’ am when I hold a camera in my hands and make an image last forever.

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Jumping winters

I arrived to Paraguay less than 2 weeks ago, recently I have learned that I have to fly back to Seattle asap due personal issues…that means that instead of staying 2 and a half months I will hardly stay 1 month.

This last week I tried to changed my return schedule, and I realized that apparently simple things can become so annoying in Paraguay, I contacted continental here in Asuncion and in the US…no body knew how to help me, call after call finally after a long week of bothering every possible person I finally got my tickets changed, simple tasks are simple but NOT here. Sometimes I feel so far away from the world.

So, since I’m coming back earlier, I won’t be able to do all what I wanted. I will try to take some pictures and maybe visit 1 or 2 country side towns (if time allows).

On the top of everything this unusual cold is freezing my neurons…It is even hard to think when is this cold…yikes!! It’s been years now that I go from one winter to another…I visit Paraguay in winter and go back when in Seattle is winter…my luck! =(

The good thing is that I was not wrong about my expectations, feelings and friendships.

And I’m so glad to be here and at least hopefully still be here for my brother’s wedding.

Ahh, by the way today I became my brother’s fairy god mother (madrina) we went to Recoleta church which is one of the main churches of Asuncion…It was a nice and cold afternoon.

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