Archive for May, 2008

A Paraguayan Talent, Berta Rojas

Berta Rojas is currently one of the most famous Paraguayan classic guitar musician, I wish I can see her life on day SOON!

She is playing the Cathedral by Agustin Barrios (Mangore) as a background you can see the actual Cathedral of Asuncion which is superb! it is located in downtown Asuncion.

About Berta Rojas

Berta Rojas is a musician who moves easily from classical to other musical genres. Rojas has captivated music-lovers in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. Most notably, she’s appeared at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and the Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York. She sold out her performances at both the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, DC and the South Bank Centre in London. In 2004, she opened the International First Ladies Summit in Paraguay with special guest Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Praised by the Washington Post as a “guitarist extraordinaire,” and by England’s Classical Guitar Magazine as “Ambassador of the Classical Guitar,” her musicianship and cordiality make her an audience favorite.

The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has recognized Rojas’ artistic excellence and named her a Fellow of the Americas. She holds a Master’s Degree in Music from Baltimore’s prestigious Peabody Conservatory.

Beyond her own musical talents, Rojas is committed to supporting South American artists. She has served as the Artistic Director for several competitions including the John and Susie Beatty Competition, the Ibero-American Guitar Festival in Washington DC, and the Cardozo Ocampo Competition in Paraguay. She is Paraguay’s Ambassador of Tourism and a Professor of Guitar at George Washington University in Washington DC.

You Rock girl! Congratulations Berta for the magnificent work and for Representing our country they way you do! Great job!

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My trip to Paraguay

I can’t believe that is this time of the year again, may is almost gone again, makes me wonder where did all these time go…what did I do with it? I’m super happy since my trip to Paraguay is approaching very fast, I still have tons to do, buy things for gifts (it is always kind of you to bring a little souvenir to your friends and family) people there like that you thought of them, it doesn’t matter the value of it.

Some friends want me to bring them specific goods from here, since the dollar is so low in Paraguay right now, people can afford to buy things for here more than before, and it always makes me laugh when I get emails asking me to bring all kind of stuff, from toys, to chocolates and from batteries to VS underwear…but what I least like is the last minute call, like 2 or 1 day before my trip, someone calls and ask you to bring a pink elephant, jajaja, well that happens often, and me…I don’t know how to say NO, so last year i left my coat here to be  able to fit things into my suitcases….the result: we had the most freezing winter ever in Py I frizzed alive…well, that is life…but I’m lucky to have such a good friends there, someone leant me a coat!

I have some very special plans when i get there, since I’m going to stay hopefully more than 2 months, I’m going to work in some productions and maybe write a book about Asuncion, but that will be a surpriseee!! Well, I will have many surprises coming up.

If some of you is or will be in Asuncion this coming months please contact me.

Keep reading because I will post new pictures and some interviews with local people that I’m planning to interview while there. If you need anything from the capital of mis amores, please let me know!

Hope to write a short post before my trip, otherwise HASTA LUEGO and will be back with more while I’m there LIFE from Paraguay!!

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My store Larimoon is up. YAY!

Finally my store is up…I have been working a lot for this, I will be having a great Paraguayan selection soon, I have some Paraguayan filigree jewelry already, they are gorgeous and also some of my designs are available, I’m uploading on a daily basis…

www.larimoon.com

The name Lari is from the gorgeous larimar which is a semi precious stone that is only found in the Dominican republic and I choose to work with that stone for my designs and moon comes from my name Muna that is pronounced moo na and some of my friends call me moon, and i love the moon too, so its a great combination for a store name I think ;)

Please check my store out frequently because I’m sure you will love my items.

larimoon

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Life in the country side of Paraguay, Impressive, do not miss it.

These are regular days for people living in Paraguay’s country side. Watch video trilogy…its amazing! Beyond words.

My thanks to Ramiro Gomez that made these images available for the world.

 

 

 

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Recommendation: El Ciervo Blanco Restaurant with Paraguayan Folkloric show

It is interesting that in Asuncion most Churrasquerias (or barbeque places) that people go when they want something “traditional” and where you usually pay a fixed price and are allowed to eat what you want ( all types of meats, salads, side dishes, paellas, deserts, etc ) are all Brazilian not paraguayan, like Acuarela, Paulista, Gaucha and Rodizio to name a few.

Finally with the help of a friend I found out that there is a nice Paraguayan Parrillada where they actually have a Paraguayan folkloric life show…and I’m looking for to enjoy it myself.

The name is el Ciervo Blanco and the address is Jose Asuncion Flores c/Radio Operadores del Chaco, Tel: 214 504

There is actually an interesting article about this place that my friend sent to me:

http://www.munhispano.com/?nid=255&sid=2401535

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Extremely interesting- Asuncion by Mike Edwards

Mike Edwards a friend of mine that works at the American Embassy in Asuncion send me this pdf.

One article is written by Mike Edwards, very interesting view.Page 28.  Enjoy.

 READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE HERE  http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/104059.pdf

Beautiful article Mike! thanks for sharing =)

  • Capital>>> Asunción
    Total area>>> 406,750 square kilometers
    Approximate size>>> Slightly smaller than
    California
    Government>>> Constitutional republic
    Independence>>> May 14, 1811 (from Spain)
    Population>>> 6.67 million
    Life expectancy at birth>>> 75.3 years
    Languages>>> Spanish and Guarani
    Currency>>> Guarani (PYG)
    Per capita income>>> $4,000
    Unemployment rate>>> 11.4 percent
    Import commodities>>> Vehicles, consumer
    goods, tobacco and
    petroleum products
    Export commodities>>> Soybeans, animal feed,
    cotton and meat

Asunción, also known as the “mother of cities,” is
one of the oldest colonial cities in South America.
Founded in 1537 by the Spaniards, Asunción sits at
the crossroads of a diverse, landlocked country.
Augusto Roa Bastos, Paraguay’s most famous
author, called his homeland “an island surrounded
by land.” Asunción and the surrounding
countryside, with its charming tranquility and colonial
heritage, evoke images of an isolated place
forgotten by time.
Paraguayan scholar Juan Carlos Herken said,
“Paraguay is not a country; it is an obsession.”
Paraguayans truly have a strong affection for their
country. Family ties are strong, and many
Paraguayans will go out of their way to welcome
visitors. The culture is dominated by a mixture
of Spanish, indigenous Guarani and immigrant
influences.
The Guarani, with the help of Jesuit missionaries
in the 17th and 18th centuries, contributed their
language, arts and music to a culture heavily influenced
by Spanish colonialism. Subsequent
immigrant groups such as Germans, Koreans and
Lebanese established ethnically diverse enclaves.
These influences are reflected in cultural events
such as Carnaval and in local specialties such as ao
po’i (hand-woven shirts), harp music, asados
(barbecues), yerba mate tea and German-style
pastries.
Since its independence from Spain in 1811,
Paraguay has had a colorful history marred by wars,
including a war against Argentina, Brazil and
Uruguay in the 1860s that killed two-thirds of its
population. The country finally emerged from
dictatorship in 1989 when Alfredo Stroessner’s 35-
year rule ended in a coup d’état. Paraguay is now
undergoing democratic transition and economic
reform. The Colorado Party has enjoyed 61 years of
uninterrupted rule, the current world record, and
the opposition remains fragmented. However,
Paraguay has made progress in building democratic
institutions, fighting corruption, stabilizing
its economy and improving education and health
services.
A Strong Relationship
The United States established its first mission to
Paraguay in 1852, and the bilateral relationship
remains strong. Many Americans have come to
Paraguay’s aid in times of need, most notably President
Rutherford B. Hayes. As arbitrator of a land
dispute in 1878, he ordered the return to Paraguay
of a large portion of the Chaco region. The
Paraguayans named the territory “Presidente Hayes”
in his honor. In addition, the Paraguayan
government issued a stamp in 2007 honoring
former Ambassador and General Martin T.
McMahon, who served in Paraguay and
strongly advocated on its behalf during
the War of the Triple Alliance
(1865–70). Many Asunción street names
recognize influential Americans,
including President John F. Kennedy,
Senator Huey Long and Walt Disney.
More than 60 Americans from 11
agencies work at the U.S. embassy to
combat corruption and transnational
crime, foster democratic institutions
and promote economic growth.
The mission supports Paraguay in
combating terrorist financing in the
triborder area of Paraguay, Argentina
and Brazil; narcotics trafficking; intellectual
property rights violations; and
money laundering. The Drug Enforcement
Administration and Department
of State provide extensive support to
Paraguay’s counternarcotics efforts. U.S.
Treasury advisers help Paraguay improve
its efficiency and transparency, and the
embassy’s regional legal adviser assists
with legal reform.
Mission personnel also assist local
agencies in combating trafficking in persons. They
helped the government in 2007 open its first shelter
for female victims of trafficking. Embassy personnel
provide equipment and training programs to the
armed forces and specialized crime units to increase
Paraguay’s capability to support peacekeeping operations
and domestic stability.
The embassy has selected 500 of the best and
brightest Paraguayan students from disadvantaged economic backgrounds for three-year English language
scholarships. Embassy personnel also help
the National Library preserve its decaying newspaper
archive.
The U.S. Agency for International Development
administers a $35 million Millennium Challenge
Account Threshold Program directed at promoting
enforcement and strengthening key institutions. The
agency’s Paraguay Vende program helps local
businesses and promotes better natural resource
management. Its health programs support pharmacies,
health insurance systems and reproductive
health services. USAID has also donated hundreds of
computers to public schools.
Paraguay has the world’s third-largest Peace Corps
contingent with more than 180 volunteers working
throughout the country
. The embassy has distributed
$35 million in cancer-related medicine and
equipment donated by private sources to Paraguayan
facilities since 2005. When the country experienced
its worst forest fires last September, the mission
provided more than $1.2 million to aid firefighters
and disaster victims.
Community Life
The embassy’s 15-acre compound features a
subtropical arboretum, a large garden and a
collection of animals, including deer and peacocks.
The chancery and ambassador’s residence, featuring
1950s-era avant-garde architecture, will be razed
when work begins on a new embassy compound
in 2010.
Asunción offers great schools, excellent housing
with swimming pools, a short commute and a variety
of restaurants, services and activities
. Named the
world’s least expensive capital city in 2007 by Mercer
Consulting, Asunción has affordable household help
and personal trainers who teach everything from the
Spanish language to salsa dancing. Asunción is also
home to many inexpensive churrasquería (barbeque)
and ethnic restaurants, great arts and crafts, and
many cultural events featuring Paraguayan arts and
music. Soccer aficionados can watch some of the best
fútbol in the world. Paraguay offers a bonanza of
opportunities for those who enjoy outdoor activities
such as fishing, hunting and outings at the large
estancias (ranches) that dot the countryside.
Crime, inconvenience and isolation are the
concerns most often cited by mission
personnel. Although violent crime in
Paraguay is still relatively low by Latin
American standards, it is rising. The
country’s weak infrastructure makes travel
a logistical challenge. Air travel is difficult
in and out of the country, with no direct
flights to the United States, and mail deliveries
and shipments are infrequent.
Scarcity of job opportunities and the
language barrier limit employment opportunities
for spouses.
Asunción is an architectural feast for the
eyes that blends decaying remnants of its
colonial past with concrete-block
monoliths dating from the Stroessner era.
Hidden amid the decaying buildings are
such gems as the National Palace, National
Cathedral and Pantheon of Heroes. One
million Paraguayans, one-sixth of the
population, live in greater Asunción, and
the city continues to grow as rural
residents arrive looking for work.
A biologically diverse country the size of
California, Paraguay has a terrain that
ranges from the semiarid Chaco to the subtropical
Oriental. Its ecosystems are among the world’s most
diverse. An agrarian-based society with a distinctively
gaucho flavor lies just a few minutes outside
Asunción. The city is a great base from which to
explore nearby hidden gems such as San Bernardino,
a lakeside resort town. Encarnación with its famous
Carnaval parades and Jesuit mission ruins, and the
impressive Itaipú Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric
dam, are just a few hours away. And no stay in
Paraguay would be complete without a trip to Iguazu
Falls in the triborder area.
Paraguayans show immense resolve in tackling
serious challenges, as evidenced by their success on
the soccer field. With the help of the U.S. Mission in
Asunción, they are working to overcome their political
and economic challenges. ?
The author is a political officer at the U.S. Embassy
in Asunción.

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Paraguay independence day celebration

Today was our Paraguay’s independence day celebration, it was great, very well organized, we ate chipa guazu, sopa Paraguaya, Asado (barbecue) chorizos, different kind of salads, chipitas, and drank terere…we even had a Paraguayan Flag!!!

We had nice chats, we remembered things and some people even found out how the were related, it is so funny, Paraguay is that small that you always find out that you are related to someone you just met.

Here in Seattle we are not many but we have a fantastic group, we go very well along with each other and people are very responsible, most showed up and we had an awesome day.

Independence day in Paraguay is on the 14/15th of may and mothers day is on the 15th of may, so we had our celebration for both important dates today.

Thanks to all my fellow citizens for the great organization…Viva Paraguay!!!

Asado por el dia de la independencia 2008

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