Saturday, April 25, 2009

Paraguay Newspaper

This week I accompanied my son's 4th grade class on a school field trip to the largest newspaper company in Paraguay. It was interesting.

As we went through the offices, the first thing that I noticed was the predominance of messy desks.
It just makes me shudder thinking about it.
This desk is my worst nightmare!
Thankfully we went down to the basement to see the printing machines. They looked a little archaic, but they get the job done.

I thought it was interesting how they used the old "plank method" to roll the spools of paper.
My favorite part was the big vats of ink. I think some of the kids in the class went home with some ink souveneirs!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Window Washers II

I was out with some friends recently and we noticed a window washer across the street.
He was perched precariously on a ladder holding a very long pole with a squeegee on the end of it.

It mad me just a little nervous watching him balance on the ladder but he had two helpers and one onlooker to help him out.

You see all kinds of things like this in Paraguay.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Window Washers

At any major intersection in Asuncion, Paraguay you will encounter a handful of window washers.

I think its great that there are people willing to get out there and work any way they can, and since it can get quite dusty in Paraguay the windshields need washing frequently.

Many window washers have a technique where they come up from behind your vehicle in your blind spot and suprise you by starting to wash your window before you even know they are there. The window is half washed before you can even decide if you want it washed or not.

The downside of this is that even if you just washed your car and the window is not dirty, the window washer will plop their squeegee down on your window before you can blink. If you don't want your window washed you have to be quick on the draw to either shake your finger at them to signal 'no thanks', or turn your wipers on and they will get the hint.
Many times you will see small children on the streets trying to earn money for the family.
(Photo by Chet Gordon)
It's very hard to say 'no' to the little ones.
(Photo by Chet Gordon)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Chipa

Chipa is a traditional cheese bread made in Paraguay. Last week was Semana Santa (Holy Week), and it is the time of the year when chipa is consumed the most. I like to make it about once a year just for fun. Here is how you make it:
Step one: get all of your ingredients ready. You will need Almidon de Mandioca(mandioc flour), corn flour, pork lard, eggs, cheese, milk, anis, salt.

Step two: make a well with the flour and fill with the other ingredients.

Step three: mix with your hands to form dough. I was told hand mixing makes it come out better than using a food processor.
You want to mix it well but not too much.

Step four: shape dough as desired. Traditional shape is in a ring.


Step five: Bake in cookie sheet in hot oven until bottom is brown
I'm thinking that this bread has to be fattening, but it sure tastes good!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Cucurucho

During my brief vacation out at San Ber we made a quick trip to the famous 'Cucurucho' restaurant. Cucurucho is what you call an ice cream cone here in Paraguay. Many new to the language confuse it with 'cucaracha' which means cockroach, Ewww!

The little establishment was started years ago by a Canadian couple who introduced Paraguay to soft-serve ice cream.

It was the only place in Paraguay where you could not only find soft-serve ice cream, but a whole assortment of American style pies and goodies. People come from all over Paraguay to eat here.

The menu is basic with your typical burgers and fries which were also made American style, but the all around favorite are the pecan pies. Do you know how hard it its to find pecans in Paraguay?
Since then the business has been sold, but the new owners are doing a fairly good job at keeping up the standards. It's still our number 1 place to visit when we are out that way.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

vacation

took a little 2 day vacation this Easter week in one of Paraguay's popular vacation spots, the quaint town of San Bernardino. 'San Ber' is located 45 kilometros from Asuncion by the Ypacarai lake.

This town is usually a ghost town all year round, but becomes transformed during the summer months in Paraguay and then again during holidays such as Holy Week.

I stayed in my favorite hotel in San Ber, the El Pueblo Hotel. We've been visiting this hotel over the past 10 years. Its nice, clean, aesthetic, and usually quiet.

My favorite place to hang out is in the pool area because it is surrounded by vegitation and is always so peaceful.
Its just a great place to to take a relaxing vacation.

Oh yea, one more thing, the sunsets from the balcony are awesome!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Semana Santa (Holy Week)

The week before Easter is 'Semana Santa' which is highly celebrated here in Paraguay. The celebrations begin on Palm Sunday a week before Easter.
If you are a faithful Catholic you will go to the church for the traditional mass and blessing of palm fronds. You will see vendors selling woven palm branches on the streets for this event.

During the first part of the week many people prepare the traditional cheese bread 'chipa' in large quantities to last through the week.

On Thursday a large family lunch is prepared and served commemorating the Last Supper. Many people take this time to travel out to the countryside to visit with relatives.

On Friday there will be some religious processions and no red meat can be eaten on this day. Sunday ends the week with another big meal, usually asado, to finish up the celebrations.

Many families give their children a chocolate egg for Easter was well.

Here is a link that has lots of information about semana santa in Paraguay. http://www.guidetoparaguay.com/blog.html