Archive | December, 2011

Christmas in Carmen

29 Dec

November and December seemed to fly by here in Paraguay. While I busied myself teaching English and exercise classes, and starting a reading club, the temperature slowly started to rise. Summer has officially arrived, complete with 100+ degree temperatures and some killer humidity. All this weird weather meant that Christmas kind of surprised me with its arrival. I kept wondering if it could really be Christmas without snow or cold temperatures.

I decided to find out with some fellow volunteers who also grew up in the Chicago suburbs. The Friday before Christmas I hopped the early bus (lesson learned previously: do not willingly travel on a bus midday when it is 100 degrees out) and headed south about an hour and a half to the town of Carmen del Parana. My friends Kevin and Joanna live there in a cute little house, about two blocks from the Parana River (Paraguay’s southern border with Argentina).

Costanera

A few other volunteers met up with us there for a very laid back Christmas celebration. I got the chance to explore the town and their lovely Costanera (think beach boardwalk) and do some birdwatching. We all also did a lot of lounging around, talking and drinking (terere, wine, beer, etc).

beach

On Christmas Eve we went over to the home of some Paraguayans for dinner. We didn’t even arrive until around 9:30 and didn’t start eating dinner until probably 11. I will never get used to Paraguayan eating habits. The family was super nice and cooked up asado and some other Paraguayan staples. A bunch of neighbors set off fireworks at midnight. All-in-all a nice peek at what Paraguayans do for Christmas. When we walked home around 12:30 or 1 a.m. a bunch of young people were just going out for the night (another thing I will never get used to: Paraguayan sleeping habits).

The next day (Christmas!) we leisurely cooked up a Mexican feast (masterminded by chef Kevin and assisted by the rest of us). It was a seriously delicious meal, shared in great company. In that sense it even felt mildly Christmas-y. We had a really tranquilo rest of the evening and we continued this spirit of tranquility through the end of my visit Tuesday morning.

tacos and margarita

I’m happy I got to spend the holidays with some people that are really rad and see some more of Paraguay. Despite the heat, I had a few moments that actually felt like Christmas.

Sunset in carmen

I definitely think I’ll be returning to Carmen to visit in the future. They have a lot going for them: cute cat to visit, two super cool Peace Corps volunteers, loads of birds to watch, plus beaches to combat heat. Check out all my flickr photos of Carmen.

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