Friday, May 28, 2010

Feathers, Bus Rides, and Pujato

Well, I am down to the final stretch. Ten days until I turn in my final paper, thirteen until my birthday, and seventeen until I am home. I just had a bit of a panic attack when I realized I only have 10 days to write 20 pages in Spanish! Oh dear! I am currently in Pujato , the small town I stayed in around Easter. I arrived here Wednesday morning from Asunción, Paraguay and I'll head back to Buenos Aires this Saturday.

Well, let´s see, I basically have two weeks worth of B.A. updates since my last email. In that time I finished up with classes, took my final, and spent a lot of time with my friend Elise. Elise, one of my new friends in Buenos Aires, was returning to the U.S. before I get back from we ran all over the city in the time we had left together. Friday night the 9th we we met up at Plaza San Martin with some other friends to watch a free outdoor acrobatics performance. It was amazing. The acrobats slid between multiple-story buildings and dropped white feathers over the crowd watching from below. I was told later that 1.5 tons of white feather were used. There were so many feathers it looked like the end people started throwing feather snow balls! I got completely covered in feathers! The following Wednesday, Elise and I explored a new neighborhood in B.A. The thing that struck me about this neighborhood on the south west side of town was that for once I was free of the sea of multiple story buildings. There were some tall buildings, but on average I could see the sky. It had an oddly small town feel about it that was a nice break. Wednesday, I went over to a pot luck at her house and brought the brownies from a box that have become very popular with her friends. And Thursday I finally made it back over to Elise´s by like 1:30pm to have some banana-chocolate chip pancakes and then go buy silly hats in her eclectic and artsy neighborhood of San Telmo.

So, that gets us to the ever-fun 16 hour bus ride to Asunción. They always play the strangest B and C rated movies on these overnight buses. One of the ones they played was a kung-fu movie that involved a guy trying to rescue his beloved baby elephant from some mobsters. In the morning I was then serenaded by what my friend next to me called the Barry White of Argentina...and that was giving him credit. Anyway, I went to Asunción with a girl from my study abroad program so that I could do research for my paper. My topic is the fight against agrotoxics and the women´s movement in Paraguay that has the strongest voice against them. I got three interviews when I was there and think I have enough material to work with now for my paper...I just need to get going on it! Besides work, I also had the most entertaining bus ride of my life while in Asunción. This past Saturday I went with my friend out to the countryside and I knew when we got on the bus and saw that the driver´s chair was a lawn-chair bolted to the ground that it was going to be a great ride. As I sat at the back of the bus, it was like a watching a show. First came all the people hauling on potato sacks and giant baskets. Then the couple that loaded a washing machine on. I thought I was going to have a wall of stuff built up around me. On top of all that commotion, at every stop multiple vendors got on. They sold everything from fruit to socks to cokes to English workbooks to t.v. antennas. I don´t know how they were able to move for all the people on the bus. Oh, and towards the end of the ride my friend and I realized that everyone in our back section of the bus were either family or friends. They all knew each other and chatted or shared drinks. I think that bus ride is what I will remember Paraguay for. Well, I hope that is what I remember Paraguay and not for the food poisoning it gave me. Sunday night I got my first case of food poisoning and ended up sleeping part of the night on the bathroom floor. I was in bed all day Monday, had to miss an interview and of course was unable to do any work on my paper. Today my stomach finally stopped hurting...but I am still sleeping a lot. I am still feeling a little weak and now have a stuffy nose, but am happy that my stomach has calmed down.

I arrived in Pujato this Wednesday after another very fun bus ride from Asunción. I figured I´d be the only American on the bus, but I ended up sitting a row behind a kid from Portland. Since I got to Pujato all I´ve done is sleep and eat. It´s a terrible thing to have an upset stomach here...even though I explained that I had food poisoning and all my host stay mom is like ¨you should eat, you should eat!¨ She understands, but food is just what they do here. For example, for lunch today there was a thick veggie soup. Great. Then there was a soy milanesa (think country fried steak, but thinner and with soy inside) with tomato and melted cheese on top and a salad. Oh, boy, I was fine with just the soup...but it is impossible to explain the idea of ¨I´m not hungry, but it all looks delicious.¨ So after lunch all I could do was go back to bed and sleep for literally four hours. I have got to find another way to deflect...or get up the energy to go running, which is I think more than my body can take right now.

I guess I´ll try to get one more update out before I head home, but forgive me if you don´t hear from me until I am back state-side. I have a lot of writing, a lot of packing, and a lot of goodbyes to do in these last two weeks.

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