Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The First Entry from South Paraguay

So I have been here five months without a post, without a picture, without any contact with home save email and phone. I would like to record what is happening here because it is interesting and I would like to remember it in the future. This first post is only going to be photos, because that is what everyone wants to see and frankly I have a lot of them. The photo below is us upon arrival in Asuncion, Paraguay. I was so confused. I had no idea where I was in relation to anything else in any realistic sense. I was a dot on a map and in the last five months I have learned a lot.

So I'm just going to jump into it. I don't want to discuss too much the first few months or the first few people I met, save the family I lived with to start my time here in Paraguay. I lived a few minutes outside a small suburb of Asuncion called Guarambare. One of the things I learned to do that I remember most and have continued to practice since I have been here is butchering animals, in this photo the pig is still alive and we are tying it down so it can't move while we slaughter it. It is not pretty, it is not clean, but it is effective and is food you can eat.

That smiling face is Miguel, my best Paraguayan buddy. The other smiling face is Clement, The American Terror of Women and The Best Damn Pig Artist Who Ever Lived. Girls didn't like him because he whistled and made comments. I liked him because he was a good guy who was open and had no problem teaching you his art. The animal in the background is the pig who was previously alive, now he is missing his skin but still has his bowels. He is now dead. I took some gruesome death shots which I might put up later. For now enjoy as is, por favor, as they say in Paraguay. Let's not start too gruesome.

I call this photo "Terere, Olimpia, and Pig Meat". I am a fan of Club Guarani. Terere and Pig Meat are something all Paraguayans enjoy. Club Olimpia is up for debate.

Fast Forward 3 months. I will now be residing in a town called Las Mercedes for the next two years. Las Mercedes is a road. It is a road lined with lots of nice and interesting Paraguayans who I want to get to know and help if at all possible. Help with what is still what I'm figuring out, but these things do take time. This next photo is of the horse racing track. They like racing horses in Las Mercedes and in Paraguay as a whole.

It is a pretty place in which I live. Flat and expansive with forests and swamps on the edge of one of the largest rivers in the world, The Rio Parana. One of the activities I fill my incredible amount of free time with is beekeeping. Here is my friend and contact Alicdes holding up a panel from the hives. We have a lot of work to do in the apiary in the next year. Right now we are learning together how to raise queens. It's not so hard, the bees do most of the work.

Here is another candid photo of Alcides and I outside the storage house. If you think I look sexy in a bee suit you should see how good i look in a Speedo. That post will come later.

These next shots are of the family I live with. They are great. The father's name is Mario and the mother's name is Antonia. This is a photo from Christmas. We got to eat a cow we had slaughtered just a few days previous! I'm going to be so good at field dressing animals after two years here. Pretty darn neat if you ask me. In the photo Mario is left of me and Antonia is to the right. They put on quite a fun Christmas celebration, I was touched to be able to attend.

These are my brothers here. From left to right their names are Alicdes(different from beekeeping Alcides), Fredi, and Jorge(aka Dani). They happen to be my older brothers. I by about 12 years am the youngest. We speak Spanish, Guarani, and English together. I speak the most English. Sometimes I also speak Spanish. When I speak Guarani no one understand what I am saying. I hope that changes in a year. It seems that every sentence I try to say in Guarani is a sexual innuendo. While usually I like to master the sexual innuendos of a language it would be nice to say I'm hungry in the native tongue without it being a sexy comment. So for now I will stick to Spanish and bad words in English.

These are the boys of Las Mercedes. We like to stay up late at night and drink beer in front of the Dispensa. If a girl passes between the ages of 12 to 75 the boys comment on her beauty through flattering tones of whistles and airy commentary. They're a fun bunch of gentlemen and we can all agree we like our beer cold. In this photo I am pounding 40's and flashing a Westside side. We are all God's children, but the Westside happens to be the blessed side.

I got to go visit some ruins in Paraguay. While not as old as some famous ruins in the world they were nonetheless very spectacular. These ruins are called Trinidad. They were build by Jesuit missionaries in the 1700's to protect the Indians from slave traders. They are very picturesque, perhaps I will post more photos of them in the future.

What is that? Pictures of another ruin? This is Chitzen Itza, a different stone was used and the workmanship has lasted a little longer.

Oh, there I go, I found me again. This is a picture of me in front of the old cathedral. Hard to imagine there used to be a giant dome where now there only stands a ruined relic.

Man I'm sure doing a lot of cool stuff here in Paraguay. Usually I wake up happy and pumped to be here. But other days, as I'm sure you can imagine, it can be difficult to keep a smiling face. When my bike falls out from under me as I'm riding it, or the bus is two hours late, or a spider bites my toe, or I bite into what I think is a nice piece of beef but turns out to be tongue, I can get a little case of the grumpies...

But then just when I'm being a big weeny whiner and complaining that I'm not making enough money or I can't just go to the local pub and have an IPA or I'm thinking "Where all the girls be at", I get a day like today and I stop complaining for about thirty seconds straight.

Thanks for reading my first post, there will be more to come.

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