It was Friday night and we were in Encarnacion, Paraguay. We stood in front of the Hotel Arthur as a couple of venerable Mercedes-Benz taxis pulled up to take our group to supper in Pasasdos, Argentina, which is just across Rio Parana from Encarnacion. We would have to go through a passport check, but we were told this would be no problem.

It was Friday night and we were in Encarnacion, Paraguay. We stood in front of the Hotel Arthur as a couple of venerable Mercedes-Benz taxis pulled up to take our group to supper in Pasasdos, Argentina, which is just across Rio Parana from Encarnacion. We would have to go through a passport check, but we were told this would be no problem.

"In Argentina," a professor of political science of my acquaintance told me, "they just look at your passport and stamp it." So I wasn't worried.

We climbed into our taxis, my family in one, and our guide and interpreter in the other -- not the mix I would've chosen, and began our trip. Our cab driver was a friendly man who knew less English than I know Spanish. It was about 7:30 p.m. as we began rolling. I mention the time because I want to point out that folks in Paraguay and Argentina don't usually eat until about 8 p.m. Our stomachs were still on Kansas time, however, so we were hungry. I made a comment to that effect.

"I could eat the most disgusting part of a dead, disgusting animal," I said, paraphrasing a line from Apollo 13. My family laughed.

It was about then that we came to the line to get out of Paraguay. They had to stamp our passports for exit.  We crossed Rio Parana and came to a considerably longer line to get into Argentina. It was moving slowly, but, gradually, a car at a time, we came to the checkpoint where they look our passports. No, they took our passports and kept them, instructing our cab driver to pull into a slot and park, where upon the cabbie left us in the cab while the custom's officials started inspecting his trunk. Then a customs official started interrogating us in Spanish. I responded to his questions in as calm a voice as I could.

"No habla Espanol."

He then switched to English.

"Can I see your passports?"

My daughter Sarah says I yelled this next bit. I cannot testify one way or the other.

"They've taken our [mentally reserved curse word] passports!"

"Do you have any electronic devices?"

"No."

He disappeared again.

A dog howled in the background.

"What was that?" Lydia asked.

"It was a dog," her mother responded.

"I hope it was a dog," Sarah added, and a comment was made about not wanting to hear the snap of latex against a wrist.

Ten minutes later, the cabbie returned with our passports, freshly stamped. We then proceeded to the restaurant. When I say this, I summarize a process that included much circling around the block and stopping to for directions twice.

We were still hungry when we went into La Quierinta which was a fancy, fancy place.

They brought us a menu in English and to be simple we ordered something that was translated as "mixed grill, served for three." This we thought would be a nice way for us to sample traditional Argentinian fare.

It arrived on a silver tray above a can of Sterno. There were sausages, bits of rib meat, what looked to be pieces of fat, and strange cuts of beef. I took a piece that was kidney-shaped.

Taking a bite of it, I noted that it had a bit on a strong flavor. I looked over the rest of the tray and notice other pieces of beef of similar shape and size. My geometer's mind began to assemble them into a single piece. They formed something the shape of a bean but the size of a golf ball.

A voice in my head said, "You are eating a testicle."

Having figured that out, I decided to try some of the "fat."

When I cut the fat, I discovered it was a hollow tube. It was at that point one of our guides made an overdue comment.

"Chitterling." It was said with an envious smile, so I offered him one. He took it with delight. Then he suggested we have the rest bagged up for the cabbies, who'd been waiting for us, and we did.

The tab for the whole meal for 4 people which included a bottle of wine was $33. We paid it, took our sack of innards, and headed back to Paraguay.

Bobby Winters is Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Professor of Mathematics, and Acting Chair of the Department of Chemistry.