Monday, July 27, 2009

Muy frio: A cold weekend

Celeste took us to the market downtown on Friday afternoon. She was concerned that I was freezing to death as all I had to wear for warmth was the sweatshirt I had brought along. We were going to the tropics in July, so I had not anticipated the cold. I should've been thinking Florida in January, which might be warm to Kansans in January, but not Kansans in July. The temperatures have been dipping into the forties and, occassionaly, the thirties at night and only briefly into the sixties during the day.

The market is a living organism. The prices on the produce are not to be believed. I can't recall a single example as my mind was filled to overflowing and was constantly overtaxed by converting from Guaranies to dollars and kilograms to pounds. Celeste gave us a tour of the market were Sarah and I each bought coats and I bought a belt. We also bought a Yerba Mate cup and straw for Lora's fiance Andrew, but don't tell him, as it is a surprise.

Friday night we ate with Dr. Harmon's PSU group and Saturday we did the zoo. These experiences are documented in the previous blog entry and an forthcoming column in the Morning Sun/Ada Evening News.

One thing I've not shared is that I've been slowing coming down with bronchitis. I do this once or twice a winter at home. Guess what, it is winter here. I've been shy about mentioning it as folks seem to be in a tizzy about H1N1 flu, and I don't want to be put in a hospital/prevented from boarding the plane home this coming Friday. Saturday, I finally gave in a mentioned it to my hostess Celeste who took me to the pharmacy where I got my antibiotics. You can get antibiotics just by asking for them here. I've not been able to find so much as an aspirin at the supermarket, but they will let you have artithromicin at the pharmacy just by asking for it.

Sunday we hang around until after lunch and in the afternoon we shopped for groceries at the Superseis. Superseis is a modern supermarket that is a half-hour's walk from El Rinconcito. It deserves a blog entry of its own, but I will give it a go here. It holds a special place in my heart because it was the site of our first real interaction with the Paraguayan culture. It is set up like a Dillons, HEB, or IGA; take your pick. It has a deli, a butcher shop, and aisle after aisle of groceries. There are significant differnces. You can look your eyeballs out for potato chips and not find more than a bag or two. They are just not a part of this culture. Also, you have to know your meat if you are going to get what you want. They slice the carcass a bit differently here.

Last night we ate at La Vienesa in the company of Maria, Celeste's daughter. I had a steak and the girls each had Milanesa de Pollo. Milanesa de Pollo is fried, breaded chicken breast. It was served topped by a fried banana, wrapped with a slice of bacon and a strip of fried sweet pepper. The papas fritos (French fries) were topped with a fried egg. I've found heaven. We will bring a junket of cardiologists with bushel baskets full of lipator.

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