Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Club Mbegua

In an effort to get out of our suburbia bubble, I spoke with a few teachers who are married to Paraguayans to get a few ideas. One of those ideas was to take the ferry across the Paraguay River/Asuncion Bay to a place called Club Mbegua (pronounced Bay-wah- is Guarani for a type of bird). Apparently Paraguay is the birdwatching capital of the world, with more species in the country than anywhere else. The teacher that I spoke to said that it would be a good time to cross the bay because all the migratory birds are currently migrating and we might be able to see some cool birds. Well, we did see some birds, so she was right. But more than that, we saw a glimpse into Paraguay's past.

Remember the resort that Baby and her family go to in Dirty Dancing? Kellerman's? Fifty years ago, Club Mbegua was the Paraguayan version of Kellerman's. Now it is a decrepit, falling down, country club-esque area that could be absolutely beautiful. Walking around was almost eery. Visions of horror films at the abandoned country club definitely went through our minds. I imagine that when the country was under the control of the dictator, this place would have been an ideal place to go for a family picnic, to host sporting events, weddings, special events, everything. But it appears that no one has really used the place since the dictator fell out of power.
We did get to take an amazing/scary/how-is-this-boat-actually-moving-this-might-be-the-first-engine-made-in-Paraguay boat ride across the river. This picture doesn't quite do the boat justice. The engine was right in front of Jesse, and we paid the driver $4 to take us across.

Back to the club, there were a few people laying around by the kiddie pool, and it appears as though the local crewing team uses the club to store their boats and use the river to practice, but the rest was deserted.
The big pool. Jesse and Kagan are practicing their front crawl.
The nice thing about the area was that we got a pretty decent view of Asuncion from the other side of the bay.
Who knows what we'll see next time we leave our bubble!

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