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Published: February 16th 2008
Asuncion, Dengue capital. A nice spread out city with 1 -2 million people. Make sure to wear bug spray. Dengue is famous here. If you get bit by a carrier mosquito get ready for terrible flu like symptoms and maybe a hospital trip. The first night we stayed in a hostel so we could check out the place before meeting up with our new friends. Not much to see if you ask me. A few plazas, 100s of policemen, the usual. This country is supposed to be dangerous. I dunno. Its all the same to me at this point in the trip. We met up with our friends the next day and headed to their home just outside of the city center. Nothing fantastic, but for a country like this its great. It is where 3, 4, or 5 of the kids live. I am still not sure. It depends the day.The 5 siblings names are: The two daughters, Sonia and Alicia and sons Nestor, Diego, and Fernando. The parents live in another house an hour outside of town. We did not stay too long before heading to their parents house. We did though get to enjoy our first real cultural experiences here. 1st. A session of TeReRe which is their ice cold herbal tea which is a multiple occurance every day. One person with a canteen of iced water with herbs in it, fills up another glass with different herbs in it and gives it to one person. That person then finishes the cup and hands it back to be refilled for another person to drink using a strange metal straw. This goes on until the water runs out or everyone has had enough. 2nd. I played Piggy. Soccer volleyball which is more popular than soccer. Every guy plays it, some girls and you are never too old to play. Damn they are good. I got to play another 4 or 5 times during my stay.
Next stop, Caacupe. If these names dont sound like Spanish names its because they are Guarani. An indigenous language which is still widely used (mostly mixed with spanish) This is a much smaller town 50km outside of Asuncion where the parents have a farm house. The mother Graciela runs a self financed school for children of poor and broken down families. What a sweetheart huh? No public funding at all. Its amazing. It was upon arrival that we knew this family really was special. They could not say enough that their house was our Paraguayan home. Its also not possible to overstay a welcome here. When I tried to leave 5 days later, they tried to not let me leave. It was great. While staying here we relaxed and truly soaked up Paraguayan life. It includes, not working, sleeping, drinking TeReRe, playing Piggy and eating food. Really, nobody works it seems. Maybe thats why its one of the poorest countries in South America. We also got to meet the extended family, enjoy a birthday party, and go out dancing. We went to a popular town with night life two times. One time to a club where I found myself a cute Paraguayan to dance with named Nora. We ended up hanging out again in Asuncion a few days later. We danced until the sun came up and then some. It was a fun night. (oh by the way....the two daughters arent married, but are not single either- they both have boyfriends) No big deal. After 4 or 5 nights in Caacupe, we went back to Asuncion for another 2 nights. One night was a very fun one. We went out to a bar for some drinks where Nora met up with us as well. We were having our drinks when a Paraguayan celebrity (that we saw on t.v. earlier that night on the country´s copy of Dancing with the Stars program) To make a long story short, this famous singer had met Sonia a few months earlier and tried to sleep with her. So we played a joke on him and his entourage of people by telling them Chris was a talent scout searching South America to sign some music groups and we wanted to get this guy to sing acapella for us at the bar. We came very close to getting our asses kicked, but through some smooth talk we had him singing and then they invited us to the Dancing with the Stars t.v. program the following night to get a CD of their music. It was too funny and a night I wont ever forget.
Next stop: Filadelfia
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