Thursday, March 29, 2012

Uh oh!

Diane is now comfortable enough with Spanish that she realizes that these are coupons and has started collecting them on our refrigerator!

I can only imagine what lies a head of us now that she has MORE buying power!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Things You Learn The Hard Way At a South American Hotel

1. If you do not drop off your copy of your room key at the front desk when you leave, they do not clean your room.

2. "0" on the elevator panel stands for Planta Baja which is the first floor lobby. "1" is the first floor above the Planta Baja.

3. The shady looking character who watches you park your car in the Hotel lot and actually looks in your car windows while you are unloading your luggage is the Hotel's parking lot security.

4. The restaurant: (1) does not open for dinner until 8:30 pm; (2) is on the first floor unless it decides it will set up the tables and chairs outside and behind the Hotel; and (3) may or may not allow you to charge the meal to your room depending on who your waiter is and how he feels about you.

5. You need to ask beforehand if the Hotel takes credit cards...many in this part of the world still operate on a cash only basis...especially if you are staying for 3 days!

6. Apparently the Hotel ranking system "spots" Hotels around here four stars, as in Michael Jordan saying to you "Ok, we are going to play one-on-one basketball and the first one to score five points wins and to make the game fair we will start the score with you having four points and me none."

7. Different Hotels use different types of electrical outlets. Straight prongs, angled prongs, skinny round prongs or thick round prongs are all fair game. Sometimes one room will offer a variety of outlets (I bring spare converters with me).

8. BYOBW! (bring your own bottled water)

9. If you say, "Buen dia!" to guests and they do not say anything back, they usually speak English or Portuguese.

10. If you open the drawer to your nightstand (if you have a nightstand) looking for something to read you quickly realize that neither Gideon nor J. Willard Marriott ever stayed in a South American Hotel.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

What I Know About Brazil

1. They speak Portuguese.

2. My son Curtis served his mission in Campinas, Brazil.

3. Pele played soccer there.

4. They have a cool looking national flag.

5. Old Volkswagens look new there.

And, for the next 3 days, everytime I look across the river from Pasos de los Libres where I am, I look into Brazil!

So close, yet so far!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Los Tesoros De La Mision

Diane introduced me to Terrabusi Brownie Alfajores. They are incredible. I announced (a few times) to the office Elders that I had found the REAL treasures (tesoros) of the mission...Terrabusi Brownie Alfajores. Each office Elder argued that he had his own brand of alfajor that tasted better. I disagreed. I guess the Elders decided they had enough of me and my tesoros de la mision. When I arrived at the Mission Office today I was told that there would be an alfajor tasting contest.

I was taken to a neutral site. Different alfajores were cut up into pieces and put in front of me. I had to close my eyes and pieces were handed to me.

I had to eat a piece, clean my "palate" with water and then eat another.

At the end I had to choose which alfajor tasted the best. I had no idea which alfajor was which or which piece was which alfajor...but, based on flavor, texture, taste of chocolate and quality of dulce de leche, I chose...

Terrabusi Brownie Alfajores!!!!

Now scientifically proven to be Los Tesoros de la Mision!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Why Are You Telling Us This?

Because after driving through the countryside of Apostoles and Obera for the last two days, I feel that I have to pass along what I learned...

1. This is a field of tea plants. You can tell because to harvest the tea leaves you scalp the top of the plants flat.

2. Not to be confused with the fields of yerba (mate) plants which are allowed to grow naturally. The leaves and stems are harvested keeping the round shape and trunk of the Yerba intact.

We now have no excuse for ever mistaking a tea field with a Yerba field! This is just one example of how the mission is expanding Diane's and my knowledge!!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Gracias a Los Larsons!

Our lone Senior Missionary couple returned to the United States this month. The Larsons were great! This was their 3rd mission. Since we arrived they served in Corrientes and Pasos de los Libres in support roles for the local leaders. Elder Larson was serving as Branch President and Second Counselor in the District Presidency when they finished their work here. Hermana Larson trained and supported Auxiliary Leaders and took special care of the missionaries. Diane and I miss the Larsons but we do have some great memories of dinner at McDonalds and the Amerian Hotel, freshly made salsa, brown bag lunches for our trip home after conferences...and I owe it to them for my addiction to "American cut potato chips" and "dulce de leche with chocolate center caramelos!"

Thank you again Larsons and enjoy those grandchildren who have been waiting for you!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012