Saturday, April 30, 2011

Semana Santa

In Latin American countries, the traditional spring break is a bit different. It coincides with Easter and is called Semana Santa, or Holy Week. Since Easter was a bit late this year, so was our week of vacation. We were definitely ready for a break from school, and a relaxing vacation is just what we needed.

A plus of all of Latin America having the same week off is that we were able to spend the week with friends, Alex and Caitlin, who are currently living in Ecuador. Mendoza, Argentina had popped up a few times in conversation, so that's where we decided to go.

Since A & C hadn't been to Buenos Aires yet, we decided to meet up there first. They got there a few days before Jesse and I did, so they went around and did a lot of the things we had done last year. Look under the tag Buenos Aires to read our posts from last year.

We hung out for a few days, did some shopping and had some great Porteno food. Buenos Aires is just an amazing city to be in, and its fun to just walk around and look at the different architecture that each neighborhood brings. It reminds me of New York City in that way- each neighborhood has its own distinct feel and character. This time we stayed in the Recoleta neighborhood in an old apartment building, and spent a whole day in the Palermo Soho neighborhood, which we didn't get to see last time.

I realized as I am writing this post that Jesse didn't take any pictures of our time in BA except for the soccer game that he went to. So I have no pictures to share. :(

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Paraguay Video

With the 200th anniversary of Paraguay's independence from Spain, there have been a lot of tourism and culture videos created to spark patriotism for the celebration in a few weeks. Here is one video that our librarian shared with us. It shows some beautiful scenery and things to do in Paraguay. We actually haven't been or done most of what is displayed, so it was informational for us too! Click on the link below to enjoy!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dengue Fever!

For the last few weeks, there has been an epidemic of dengue in Paraguay. For those unfamiliar with this disease, it is spread by mosquitoes and is accompanied with high fevers, headache, rash, joint and muscle pain, and with some strands, hemorrhaging, especially in the gums. It can be life-threatening, especially if you've already had dengue before.

There has been a lot of rain lately in Paraguay, which helps the mosquito population. Once a mosquito has bitten an affected person, they can spread the disease by biting another person, and thus, an epidemic has spread. Last week, soldiers and health officials started house searches, looking for stagnant water in some of the neighborhoods with the highest number of cases. Families are liberally spraying their students with Off! before coming to school, and local pharmacies are selling bracelets that have citronella to ward off the insects. At the local park where I run after school, there have been ladies offering to spray patrons with Off! before they enter.

I had one student who had it at the beginning of March and now, many people are afraid that they have it when they exhibit any of the symptoms. My Spanish teacher, Maria Elena, has been telling me that on all the Paraguayan TV stations there have been commercials educating people on dengue prevention. Hopefully, Jesse and I can escape this year without any severe illnesses.