7 things that impressed me in South America

Back in 2009 my husband and I took a trip to South America, visiting 3 countries: Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. To sum up the trip, there were 7 things that impressed me the most:

1) Filligrano – handmade silver jewelry. Paraguay is famous for its handmade goods, starting from hand-woven tablecloth and ending with silver filligrano jewelry. I took a couple of photos of things I bought for myself and some family members while there. As far as I know, the silver does not get melted in the process, but somehow gets burned by hand. Not exactly sure how it happens, but the results are impressive. I do not think the pictures do it justice:

2) Hotels in Argentina nad Paraguay called “Telos”. I do not mean regular hotels used by tourists, I am talking about the hotels rented out to locals for a few hours at a time for personal use… It does not cost much and is often utilized by married couples who desire some variety and unmarried couples who do not have a private meeting place to enjoy the company of a loved one. The telos are absolutely gorgeous and are very luxurious. There is jacuzzi, beautiful bathrooms, huge flat screen TVs, mirrors on the ceiling, variety of good wines, champagne and many more. Every one of them guarantees absolute privacy to the point that it is absolutely impossible to see your neighbors or to be seen by neighbors or even hotel’s staff. You enter through a garage and once you are in the room, you cannot come out and if you do, the host gets notified immediately and will find you before you get a chance to do anything outside of your room. As my friend explained to me, this is done if a jealous husband is trying to track down a cheating wife (or vice versa) and checks into the telo with a goal to get out and search the rooms for his spouse.

We found out this interesting fact when checked in to one of those with another couple and wanted to stop by their room for a second.

Usually rooms are rented for 2-3 hours at a time, but if you check in after 11 pm, you can stay till the morning for the same price. That’s what my husband and I usually did since we always stayed with friends or relatives and had no way of getting any privacy.

Breakfast is served right into the room in such a way that there is no need to see the maid. there is a drawer with a revolving shelf where your breakfast tray gets inserted from the outside of the room and which you can grab at your convenience.

The hotel staff never sees you because there is no interaction since they only come in once, after you check out, in order to clean the room for the next guest

The picture below each can interpret their own way:) I thought it was a device for giving massage…

3) Smugglers – right on the bridge, in the middle of the day, at the border between Paraguay and Brazil, I saw a group of men lowering down into the water some boxes tied with a rope. Below was a boat waiting to collect those boxes. While passing by in a cab I managed to take some photos.

4) The quantity of Paraguayans consuming terere – local drink made from yerba mate, cold water, ice, and a couple of slices of lemon or lime. It’s a cold equivalent of Argentinian mate. All this gets poured into a special thermos and them consumed out of a guanpa via bombilla – a special metal straw-like device. The guanpa – a cup for terere or mate gets passed around in a circle. Very refreshing and essential for hot South American weather.

When driving down one of the streets of Asuncion, I wanted to take a photo of this one guy sitting on the side of the road, sipping his terere but we were going too fast. i got a little upset, but then I noticed that almost every other person on any street was drinking terere, including a coupl of cops patrolling the street. That was especially entertaining for me:)

5) Brasilian women – absolutely charming, dark-skinned, with curly blond hair and blue eyes, very sporty, small-chested but with a very ample round bottoms. Very sexy and exotic.

6) Igiasu waterfall – Humongous quantity of water, myriades of splashes, tropical plants, millions of butterflies of breathtaking beauty, incredibly bright-colored flowers. That’s exactly how I pictured paradise…

7) San Telmo in Argentina – it is like entering a fairy tale. Or a book or a movie about tango….

Narrow streets filled with colorful Argentinian men, sounds of Cumparsita, dancing couples. It’s a place you do not want to leave. Ever.

My camera is here!

Finally my camera is here and one more of my personal goals for this year is fulfilled. Now all I need to do is learn how to operate it, in order to take great images.

Actually I already registered for a private class in photography for next week. The photography studio I found had a great deal on LivingSocial and I’ve decided to take advantage of it.
I also purchased a book that would help me to get the basics down even before going to my class. Very excited to get started. Pictures to follow:)

Lulu’s Casita

This past Sunday we took a family trip to Lulu’s Casita – a family friendly coffee shop. Everything there is oriented towards the kids, so parents can relax and enjoy their time while the young ones are playing in a safe child-friendly environment.

You can have some coffee and snacks, mingle with your friends or other mommies while watching your children have all sorts of fun, from slides to rolling around in a pool of plastic balls – Alejandro’s personal favorite.

Everything in Lulu’s Casita is geared towards parents and children, thought out to the tiniest details. For instance picture taking your two children to the mall or to a regular coffee shop. Imagine going to the ladies room and discovering that the stalls are too small to fit the stroller. That’s one, another – while you are using the bathroom, what are you going to occupy your children with? Another issue – what if the toilet is too high for your toddler?
Personally I have been very impressed with ladies rooms in KOP mall – the bathroom is equipped with tiny toilets that a toddler can comfortably use without any assistance. That’s great, but when it comes to washing hands, you will discover that height of the sink in combination with faucet location makes it impossible to hold up your child while washing his/her hands at the same time.

Well, in Lulu’s Casita none of those issues exists – the ladies room is fully equipped with everything you can possibly think of: changing table, small stepping stool to make toilet accessible for a toddler, an infant seat where you can put your little one, while attending to an older child, a mobile hanging over the infant seat to keep your young one occupied, another stepping stool near the sink, just to name a few:

In Lulu’s Casita I found everything all other places were lacking and much more.

On top of that, on one of the walls we found a picture of none other than our family enjoying their day this past September:

Well, we will definitely be back this coming Saturday

Hawaii part 2 – Maui

If in Oahu we stayed at a large hotel in the center of everything, in Maui we rented a pretty secluded bungalo somewhere in Lehaina. Since there was hardly anything in the walking distance, we rented the car at the airport upon arrival from Oahu. From the airport we drove to Lehaina, enjoying the breathtaking views:

Driving in Maui

The hotel consisted of small bungalows, and it seemed like no one was around, meanwhile I know that most rooms were sold out. We picked up a couple of brochures on local snorkeling and hiking and headed to the room.

Flowers near our hotel in Maui

More Maui flora

The room was filled with everything imaginable and unimaginable, anything one could need or want, including (to my delight) a whole library of books. I am quite found of books and an evening without a book is lost for me:)

On a hiking trip

I think by far the best part of our trip was the hiking tour. Surprise surprise, I am not a hiking fan and as I used to think, neither was my husband. Turns out I was very wrong about both of us!

In the waterfall

Kiss near the waterfall

Beautiful Maui

On the next day we got up early and drove down to our next venture – snorkeling with the turtles near Molokini reef. I should upload more photos of the snorkeling as soon as I locate them – we took over 400 photos on that trip. My husband also got an underwater camera and swears he took a picture of the shark while snorkeling. Good thing he only told me afterwards, otherwise it would have been the end of my snorkeling day:)

The only witness of our love in Maui…
It seems to me that I have not seen a single creature around our hotel except for that green lizard:)

Last kiss in Maui

J. Crew Aficionada

Last Sunday my wonderful husband took me to J. Crew to check out their spring arrivals. I vowed to myself not to shop during Lent but could not resist the temptation of 50% off. Here are my purchases:

And of course I found something for my boys as well. A baby blue polo shirt for my husband (unfortunately picture does not do it justice) and a pair of navy blue slacks for my son:

The scarves are very thin and flowy, the t-shirt just thin enough but not too thin to be uncomfortable, the shirt has just enough stretch in it, and the clutches look like I will get enough wear of them this spring and summer.
Overall a very successful shopping day.