It’s hard to select a favorite moment of my parent’s visit to Paraguay. The combination of hanging in our town, day-tripping it for some ruins, taking on the in-need-of-repair road to the Chaco (and losing, but not really because what fun it was to make friends in the hospital), and ending the whole trip in the capital of it all was what Goldilocks would call juuust right.
We saved a bit of time before my parents flew out to explore the capital city of Asunción. Although, like Isaiah and me, I think my parents prefer the beauty of our small, tranquilo town, we all four agreed that the bustle of Asunción is a fun and different taste of Paraguay.
While Isaiah and my dad returned the rental car and ironed out the details of who would pay for all those new tires we needed (the story goes that my dad, confident in his Spanish by the end of the trip, even tried to sell one of the tires personally to the guy working at Hertz. Surprisingly, to no avail.) mom and I hit the artisan goods market downtown. We browsed over tables and tables of handmade wares, many in the traditional Paraguayan style, selecting a few of the treasures for our very own.
Of course we stopped in to taste some of the most delicious traditional Paraguayan food at the famous Lido Bar, a diner at the heart of the city that keeps its old-timey charms. Well, I don’t mean to say it’s too old, since it was started in the same year my dad was born. No wonder it’s still in its prime.
What’s Asunción fun if it’s not a trip to the Mercado 4? Some of you might recall us shouting victory after discovering precious things like almonds and quinoa for sale in this market. You can imagine then what a special place it is to us. So we hopped on a city bus and enjoyed watching the street salespeople enter and exit the bus, carrying their store on their shoulders and doing their best to entice the riders.
It’s more of the same inside the Mercado 4, each vendor calling out, “What are you looking for? Just ask!” as we passed stalls selling fruits or veggies, kitchen supplies, shoes, electronics, raw meats, fabrics and nearly anything else you can imagine. Although I haven’t caught on to any system to the layout of the market, there are sections of like-items like leather and Asian groceries.
It was in the latter section where we took a late lunch at one of the Korean restaurants in the market. We carefully selected a couple dishes to share and in the end it turned out to be quite a lot of food, most of it absolutely delicious.
Exploring the city of Asunción with my parents was the perfect way to wrap up a wonderful trip. Perhaps with the exception of the random dog that lunged at my dad’s ankles with his teeth, luckily tearing only his pants and not skin. (Did Isaiah taunt the doggie? It all happened so quickly.) With no real harm done and a fulfilling day under our belts, we took time to lounge at the hotel and later to enjoy a leisurely Chinese dinner at a nice restaurant within walking distance of our hotel.
Biding my parents goodnight, knowing they were headed for the airport in the morning, it hit me (as in, my tears were flowing) just how nice it was to be in their presence, to have my mom and dad around again and get the chance to show them a glimpse of our life in Paraguay.
Thanks for visiting, mom and dad! It was such a treat to have you around!