Archive for July, 2014

Salud Sao Paulo

July 31, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

I Hope you are doing well. I’ve arrived in Sao Paulo and am staying in a decent hotel in a nice neighborhood of the city. It’s fine for me to walk around to the nearby restaurants. I went to a nice one tonight and ate a ceviche tasting. The last few days have been pretty normal. I didn’t do anything in Asuncion except for work. The work went smoothly.

photoI arrived in Sao Paulo late last night. The GRU airport is enormous and it took a while to get the bags because they put them on the wrong baggage claim. My first impression of Sao Paulo was that it’s pretty smoggy here. I noticed it from the airplane window and see it when I look at further-away buildings. I looked it up and it does in fact look like Sao Paulo has a smog problem.

Today was pretty good. I woke up early and ate breakfast at the hotel (not great food but good coffee) and then headed to the mall. In the supermarket, some of the employees were being kind of jokesters and one guy smacked another guy in the butt really hard as they were putting away some items. I tried not to laugh but they could tell and then tried to explain to me, but of course I had no idea. I have no idea what anyone is saying to me.

Portuguese is very difficult for me and there is not much English here. I like how the language sounds, but it doesn’t sound very nice coming from me. The accent difficult and most words aren’t pronounced how they are written. While some words are similar to Spanish words, the accents are So different. I tried to use Spanish to communicate today, and the person had no idea what I was doing. Notably, I’m not positive that even Spanish-speaking people can understand my Spanish… but it did work well in Paraguay… Tonight at the restaurant, I asked for a refill of my drink (with my fingers and body language), and the server went and got the manager. Currently, the only thing I can say in Portuguese that makes any sense to people is “It’s a cost of living survey” but I am optimistic.

20140731_122035The mall was really nice. There are tons of shops for shoes and for lingerie. There was an enormous food court  with all sorts of fast food and fancier restaurants that gets totally packed during lunch time. I had an excellent Popsicle today that was strawberry and filled with condensed milk. It seems Popsicles are very popular here – there was a big line at the stand at the mall.

After work I had a nice work out and then did some transcribing while I had a caipirinha – they give you a “welcome” drink at the hotel. Then I went out to dinner. I got back and then spoke to my friend Ari who is in Australia, which was so nice. Tomorrow i’ll work and then may try to go out to a bar or fun restaurant.

Love,

Annie

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Working Monday in Paraguay

July 28, 2014

Hi Family and Friends,

Hope you are having a good Monday. Today I  just worked. I was able to walk to all of the places I needed to go – I walked in a big loop that lead back to my hotel. It was an extremely productive day. I like that Asuncion is walkable. I ate dinner in my hotel again because i’m still tired and by the time I was finished with work, it was after 7 pm.

Love, Annie

Hola Asunción

July 27, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

Hello again. Hope you are having a nice summer!! This will be my thirteenth survey! After Asuncion, I will be traveling to six cities in Brazil. I wasn’t too excited about going on another long trip and am getting very tired of being away all the time, but i’m excited for another adventure now that I’m here. The internet isn’t that fast in my room, so only one picture would load (sorry!!)

20140727_114632I flew through Miami and of course American Airlines put us on a not-sure-if broken plane so we were delayed an hour and a half sitting on the plane before taking off. I sat next to a grandmother from Montevideo who was visiting her children and grandchildren in Boston. The kids were there too, heading to Uruguay for a few weeks to be with their grandparents. I helped translate some of the announcements for the woman and practiced Spanish. She’s on level 360-something on Candy Crush. For those who don’t play, that’s pretty impressive and also a little weird.

I arrived in Paraguay and didn’t want to be troubled with Jet Lag so even though I didn’t sleep that much on the plane down from Miami to Asuncion. I arrived at the hotel at 830 and stayed up despite my cravings for a nap. The hotel had my room ready and the hotel itself is much nicer than I had expected. It’s a really beautiful boutique hotel! I ate some breakfast and then went to the old part of town. By the way, Asuncion and Boston are in the same time zone.

Today was unseasonably cold here in Asuncion – people were complaining, but it was extremely comfortable at around 50-60 degrees F. A taxi dropped me off at the Porto because I thought that would be a good starting point for exploring. It certainly was… tons of people hang out down near the port on the Paraguay River on Sundays. I saw a lady renting bikes and she needed my documents (a license or a passport) for me to rent her bike. I asked if there was another possibility because I didn’t want to give her my license and she said no. No thanks.

I saw another bike rental area and walked up to the guys running it and told them i wanted to rent one, but i didn’t have any documents to give them. They said no problem we’ll just take your phone number, and it cost me just 3 dollars for the hour. They even let me pay after I was finished because I didn’t know how long I wanted to bike. I did some nice exploring down a road that was very bare except for runners, walkers, and bikers. There were nice views of the city. I didn’t go too fast though, because the bike wasn’t in great repair and I was prepared for the wheels to pop out or something else bad to happen any minute.

After that I walked around downtown for a while and then found a cool cafe where I could sit outside and drink coffee. For lunch, I had some Sopa Paraguaya (not soup, but cheese cornbread). I watched the final leg of the Tour de France on tvs that were outside.

After that, I went back to the hotel, checked out the pool and fitness centee (both small, but charming) and sat and read a new book fora while. It’s called The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman. I’ve read 122 pages now and am over halfway done. It’s slightly upsetting, i guess. I can’t give a review until I’m done but I certainly look forward to discussing it with my friends who have read it and also with my mom.

After the sun left the patio where I was reading, I had a mini work out and then relaxedin my room. For dinner I ate at the hotel restaurant, and they brought me fish with vegetables. It was exactly the kind of thing I was hoping to eat. Even though it’s earlier than nine, I’m going to head to bed soon. I’m exhausted.

Love, Annie