A couple of weekends ago on that 7-Stop Trip of Paraguay I visited Areguá, home of the annual strawberry festival.
Producers sell fresh strawberries (of varying degrees of sweetness) and hawk their goods out along the ruta. There are strawberry cakes, parfaits with whipped cream, juice, liquor, jams, popsicles, etc. Everything frutilla.
I taste tested some strawberries, found the sweetest ones and bought a kilo. Moving on to another vender, I compliment her on the presentation of her product. It has a nice label, glass jar and that precious checked red and white fabric that denotes homemade.
I think of my parents, real jam lovers. I’ll be seeing them in January. I wonder if the jam will survive a few months unopened?
“Permiso señora. Tiene preservativos la mermalada?”
She looks back aghast. I have made a boo boo. Oh no. I remember. That is a false cognate. Perservativos in fact means condoms.
“Discuplame señora. Queria decir…” – Excuse me ma’am. I meant to say…
She helps me out, chuckling. “Conservante.”
“No, no tiene conservante,” she says. It doesn’t have preservatives.
“Jaja! Nunca me vas a olvidar, verdad?!” Haha! You’ll never forget me, right?!
She laughs. And I buy her jam, that contains neither preservatives nor condoms.