Today we got invited by Andres' student and her husband to join them at their lake house in San Bernadino (40km outside of Asuncion). They had to take their daughter to an early golf tournament, which is about 25 minutes outside the city. Around 11:30 am they came back into the city to pick us up and then drove the 40 kilometers to the lake house. This is a perfect example of Paraguay's greatest asset, the people. They are generous to a fault and willing to extend their hospitality and make us feel welcome all the time. We were waited on hand and foot and yet never felt like an inconvenience. They made us a delicious lunch and had wine followed by a delicious trifle for desert. They even gave us a great tour of the town, stopping at scenic overlooks and beautiful hotels. There was one beautiful old hotel that looked like an old castle. Each room is named after a famous Paraguayan who stayed in that particular room. They even got someone to open one of the rooms so we could peak in. It was amazing. Mati's (Andres' student) Mom told us many stories while on our tour. She said that Andres and I need to come back here on Sept. 21st and pretend to me newlyweds and stay at this hotel. That will allow us to see it all through the romantic eyes of honeymooners and if we happen to get pregnant even better. She really wants Andres and me to have children and not to go to the hospital and instead have a natural birth at home with a midwife. If they only had the drugs.San Bernadino is an amazing town. It is picturesque, centered around a large beautiful lake. Apparently a lot of foreigners, especially Germans tend to settle there and I can see why. The buildings are older, but in great condition. There are bars with seating outside, a park and delicious ice cream parlors! Today was technically still winter, even though it was above 80 degrees by 9am. There was hardly anyone in town, because even though many people who live in Asuncion own homes there, they only go there for about a month in the summer. I don't really get that, but I enjoyed taking advantage of no traffic or lines and having the city basically to ourself. If I couldn't live there, I would definitely be out there on the weekends. The family's house that we went to today was a block from the lake and their mom, sister and cousins own homes right next door. All the family can be together, because in Paraguayan culture, family is #1. Each home has a large patio with a built in barbeque area, tiled counter space and outdoor sink. It was beautiful.As if that isn't enough, there is a country club that pretty much everyone belongs to within walking distance of their home. It has full lake access, 2 pools, a soccer field, several tennis courts, a gymnasium, large outdoor party area, man-made beach, restaurant and bar. There is a large dock area and a marina to store the boat and other water toys. If you are a member there, you also get to be a member at their large club in the middle of Asuncion. They drove us by there on the way home and it was equally as impressive, minus the lake access, of course. They also found out on the way home that we had never tried Mbeyu Queso. So they stopped on the way to our apartment and bought us some. Even though I was full from our day of eating, I still dove in and boy was it delicious. Mati also made a list of all the sites and places to visit while we are in Buenos Aires next week. She and her husband discussed it on the drive back and compiled a whole list of things for us. Because Mati and her family will be in Buenos Aires around the same time, we made tentative plans to all get together. The people here are amazing and this is just one example of what we have encountered.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Below are a few pictures followed by my wife's perfect summary of our trip today to San Bernardino.