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Photo Journal: UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Bolivia – The Jesuit Missions.

Clearly, I haven’t had a lot of time lately to devote the deserved attention to our family’s travel blog. Shame on me! :o But really: we’re getting ready for an upcoming pack-out/home leave in the US/next country assignment – Brazil. All that, while still working as a full-time professional, around-the-clock mom, wife and friend! Well, will do my best from this point on! Here’s a ‘photo jounal’ of our week-long trip to the Department of Santa Cruz, including several worldly recognized cultural and ecological sites:

[Placeholder] Visiting the Jesuit Missions in Bolivia.

Trying to offer a bit of ‘catch up’ with our travel posts [before many more begin pilling up !] Our family still has a big trip planned before we depart Bolivia – somewhere around the school Easter break, but for now, let me share a bit of our visits to some of the Bolivian UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The first one refers to the Jesuit Missions [Misiones Jesuiticas] in Santa Cruz de La Sierra.
In a very near future, I’ll aim to tackle another heritage site: the wilderness and unique culture of Samaipata, also located in the Department of Santa Cruz.

The Jesuit Missions of Chiquitos are located in Santa Cruz department in eastern Bolivia. Six of these former missions (all now secular municipalities) collectively were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990. Distinguished by a unique fusion of European and Amerindian cultural influences, the missions were founded as reductions or reducciones de indios by Jesuits in the 17th and 18th centuries to convert local tribes to Christianity.

Between 1696 and 1760, six ensembles of settlements of Christianized Indians, also called “reducciones” inspired by the 16th-century philosophers idea of an urban community, were founded by the Jesuits in a style that married Catholic architecture with local traditions.

 

The six that remain – San Francisco Javier, Concepción, Santa Ana, San Miguel, San Rafael and San José – make up a living heritage on the former territory of the Chiquitos [Source: WHC UNESCO].

 

The interior region bordering Spanish and Portuguese territories in South America was largely unexplored at the end of the 17th century. Dispatched by the Spanish government at the time [towards the New World], Jesuits explored and founded 11 settlements in 76 years in the remote Chiquitania – then known as Chiquitos – on the frontier of Spanish America. Our family flew from our home, La Paz to Santa Cruz de La Sierra. From there, we drove some 1,500 km in order to visit most of the Jesuitic Missions still standing – only one was left unseen, due to been too far from our planned route – close to the Northeastern boarder with Brazil – the Jesuit Mission of San Jose.

They built templos with unique and distinct styles, which combined elements of native and European architecture. The indigenous inhabitants of the missions were taught European music as a means of conversion. Obviously, when we remember learning about the Jesuitic times in school, there’s the controversy around the Jesuits original goals – some would believe in a not-so-positive influence; others still remain faithful to the good-hearted intentions praised by the Spanishmen… I, for one, admire the work and teaching left here – and invite to continue the journey with us!

The missions were self-sufficient, with thriving economies, and virtually autonomous from the Spanish crown.

After the expulsion of the Jesuit order from Spanish territories in 1767, most Jesuit reductions in South America were abandoned and fell into ruins. The former Jesuit missions of Chiquitos are unique because these settlements and their associated culture have survived largely intact.


A large restoration project of the missionary churches began with the arrival of the former Swiss Jesuit and architect Hans Roth in 1972. Since 1990, these former Jesuit missions have experienced some measure of popularity, and have become a tourist destination. A popular biennial international musical festival put on by the nonprofit organization Asociación Pro Arte y Cultura, to be held this coming April 2014, along with other cultural activities within the mission towns, contribute to the popularity of these settlements.

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6 Comments

Posted by on March 15, 2014 in BOLIVIA, foreign service, TRAVEL

 

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Gallery

Photography] Visiting the Inca Ruins in Samaipata, Bolivia.

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11 Comments

Posted by on January 26, 2014 in ART, BOLIVIA, TRAVEL

 

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Image

[Placeholder] Visiting the Jesuit Missions in Bolivia.

[Placeholder] Visiting the Jesuit Missions in Bolivia.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on January 26, 2014 in TRAVEL

 

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Great Bidding Victory! Guess where we’re going?!

The illusion of two hands together reaching up to the sky creates the Metropolitan Cathedral

The founder, President JK

This city is well-known for its unique architecture, and the use of other media, like the water, to create architectural and sculptural illusions. Here is a bit of the city, showing that, even with the lack of focus on the main feature, the city constructions and its urban art remain unique, powerful and fabulous!

The Cultural Center

Have you guessed where will be heading out to next Summer? :o

 
18 Comments

Posted by on November 8, 2013 in BRASIL, foreign service, TRAVEL

 

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2012 in review, according to the WordPress stats helper monkeys…

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog. Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 68,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

 

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It’s time to be Thankful…

little things that make me happy… click here for this week’s ‘Happy’ post!

Less than one day until our Thanksgiving is here! Be Thankful. It’s the word for the Season. Thanks to This mom’s got something to say for letting me share this fantastic post. It’s about being grateful, which I’m sure many of us need to be.

“Thanks. And a whole lot more.” Just in time for this Friday’s photo challenge: Thankful!

“It’s Thanksgiving. The perfect time to reflect and say thank-you for all of the things you have been blessed with in your life. A time to hug your loved ones and let them know how much they mean to you. It’s a time to step out of yourself…”
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Posted by on November 21, 2012 in FAMILY

 

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Illustrated ‘Bolivian-style’ adapted cooking: Green Bean Casserole!

Now, updated with the promised images! Great fit for this week’s photo theme, as well. How I love coincidences!

Enjoy!

Here is my ‘adapted’ recipe:

Green Bean Casserole, “Bolivian-Style”, totally vegetarian!

Ingredients:

1 cup and some 5 oz of 1 can CAMPBELL’S® Miranda Family’s Kitchen homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup

3/4 cup milk

1/8 tsp. black pepper

2 (9 oz. each) pkgs. frozen cut green beans, thawed* 1/2 kg (1 pound and some 4 oz) of freshly cut, cooked [with a bit of salt] green beans

1 1/3 cups FRENCH’S® Original or Cheddar French Fried Onions homemade onion rings (yeah, that one, where you beat one egg with 3 Tb spoons of all-purpouse flour, and a bit of salt!) [hopefully, it'll do the trick... gotta be original, at least!] :o

Directions:

MIX soup, milk and pepper in a 1 1/2 – qt. baking dish. Stir in beans and 2/3 cup homemade onion rings (see the images for a real shock on my recently-discovered cooking skills!) :o

BAKE at 350°F 375°F for 30 35 min.

STIR. Top with remaining 2/3 cup of onion chips/rings. Bake for some 5 min. or until onion chips are golden.

Liked the results? What about my first-time homemade onion rings for the topping? ♥

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Weekly Image of Life: Celebration.

According to This man’s journey, “Everyday we celebrate events and people who mean a lot to us. Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, reunions, festivals, holidays, job promotions are just but a few of the many reasons for celebrating. There are celebrations brought about by love, inner joy, faith, heritage, culture, of answered prayers, of dreams fulfilled, of treasured family and friends. There are even celebrations of self for simply reaching a significant milestone in one’s life. Celebrating the very thought that we are here at the present, standing, alive, grateful, breathing freely, happily.

Thank you for the inspiration! ♥

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2012 in BOLIVIA, photography

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Brasília, Unfocused

The illusion of two hands together reaching up to the sky creates the Metropolitan Cathedral of Brasilia

The founder, President JK

The capital of Brazil is well-known for its unique architecture, and the use of other media, like the water, to create architectural and sculptural illusions. Here is a bit of the city, showing that, even with the lack of focus on the main feature, the city constructions and its urban art remain unique, powerful and fabulous!

The Cultural Center

Detail from the JK Memorial

This is an experiment in blogging motivation from the folks atWordPress.com. Every week, they post blogging ideas and tips to help you get the most out of the blog. This week’s photo challenge from WordPress is UnfocusedAccording to Sara Rosso, from WP, “Unfocused”. You may curse or cheer this week’s theme. We’re looking for that picture which is unfocused. It may be completely intentional, or accidental. You might have thought about trashing it, but in the end it definitely conveys something“.

What other bloggers are sharing?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unfocused | Street Cat Weekly photo challenge: Unfocused « Musings of a librarian Weekly Photo Challenge: Unfocused | Chronicles of Illusions Weekly Photo Challenge: Unfocused « AbstractUnknownBoy Weekly Photo Challenge: Unfocused « Reflections in a Puddle Weekly Photo Challenge: Unfocused « R Shad Weekly Photo Challenge: Unfocused | Long Exposure Zooms « samjgreen WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: Unfocused – woven decor Weekly Photo Challenge: Unfocused « Canadiantravelbugs’s Blog Weekly Photo Challenge: Unfocused « Simply Charming Weekly Photo Challenge – Unfocused « superkendy Weekly Photo Challenge: Unfocused « Colour Me Happy Weekly Photo Challenge (2): unfocused | Het is goed Weekly Photo Challenge: Unfocused « Misk Cooks Weekly Photo Challenge: Unfocused | Perpetual Learner Unfocused – Unscharf « picturebandit Photo Challenge : Unfocused « a weirder fetish tunnel « primo piano WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: UNFOCUSED. | Colonialist’s Blog focus pocus « yi-ching lin photography
 
15 Comments

Posted by on May 9, 2012 in TRAVEL

 

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16 meters deep: Investigating marine life without getting wet! Projeto Navi in Fernando de Noronha.

Projeto Navi - The Navi Project: seeing 16 meters deep!

It’s finally here: the last post on our trip/expedition to the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago.

The husband, an avid and passionate amateur photographer. His wife, yours truly, always being reminded of her background as a Biologist and forever researcher… The perfect combination for venturing with Eng. Leonardo Veras through a private investigation trip along the open ocean waters in Fernando de Noronha.

Eng. Leo Veras takes responsibility for the Navi Project (Projeto Navi), a pioneer experiment at the archipelago – unique, and wonderful!

We were taken to observe the marine life, 16 meters deep, thanks to the ship’s glass bottom, resistant to pressure, high volume and speed. Talk about biology, math, physics, all at once! Lovely and fantastic! We were able to snap several shots, as well as, a couple of videos during our expedition. All 3 images from the Project’s Website (above) are used with permission from the Project’s Coordinator. [We are very thankful to Mr Leonardo Veras for his attention, kindness and, obviously, for the private tour!] All other photographs, (including all the videos to come!) presented below, are part of our family’s personal collection (feel free to use or share them, just remembering to mention the original source!) :o Thanks for the interest! 

Fernando de Noronha has caught the imagination of travelers for centuries and many urban myths are associated with this gloriously surreal island. The archipelago is made up of one 11-square-mile chunk of volcanic rock and 20 smaller islands, three degrees south of the equator, 220 miles from Brazil’s north-eastern coast. Fernando de Noronha’s claim to fame is its diverse and rich ecosystem.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Through

Through the aerial roots of this old tree...

“Through”. That’s the inspiration for this week’s photo challenge from WordPress. Humm… Physically speaking? Emotionally through? A passage? A rite of passage? Too many different interpretations for this one single theme. What’s “through” for you? For me, it means passage, strategy, possibilities to overcome challenges…

Since we’re getting through one more week, let’s see how it goes regarding the challenge:

A detailed view from a particular site at the Reuben Island Prison, South Africa - many tried to escape through...

Walking through the city, through old cobblestone steps, São Luis do Maranhão, Brazil

Taking a boat trip through the mangrove in Itamaracá Island, Brazil

Watching the sunset through the rocks in Jericoacoara Beach

"Take my hand and walk me through this path... through your lens I'll see your world..."

And finally, walking through the excited crowd, experiencing the largest street carnival in the world!

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Posted by on March 24, 2012 in post a day

 

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Communications from the past: Post Office and Wall Telephone

Post Office building, with its respective collecting box - still in business!

Brooklyn wall telephone

 
 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Contrast

The inspiration for this week’s challenge is “Contrast”, and here I’m, sharing a very recent image that represents a lot of contrast: the end of the day, beginning of the evening; the dark colors from the previously light sky, kindly kissing the calm ocean waters, introducing the night to observers and by-passers…

The postal card for Archipelago Fernando de Noronha, in Brazil

And, if you’re curious to know how this scene would look during the day, here’s another contrast: the ‘earth-colored sky’ is replaced by a paradisiac blue sky, which is reflected onto the turquoise and green waters…. from a far away view, I’m bringing you all to a closer look at the “Morro Dois Irmãos”(Two Brother’s Hill) :o

So, do you prefer the “sunset view” or the “daytime view”?  I’m totally bias, because I’m deeply in love with the main island, but I’m leaving the question here! :o

Related Posts from other WordPress photographers: Contrast

 
87 Comments

Posted by on March 9, 2012 in ARCHIPELAGO, ART, post a day

 

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World Heritage Wonder: Fernando de Noronha Archipelago, Brazil

The "Two Brothers" hill - Morro Dois Irmãos, viewed from the Praia da Cacimba do Padre, FN.

Just like the AtlantisFernando de Noronha has caught the imagination of travelers for centuries and many urban myths are associated with this gloriously surreal island. With its powdery beaches, lush rolling greens and crystalline azure waters, Fernando de Noronha is a tropical paradise of sublime beauty that is steeped deep in mysticism and mystery. The archipelago – named after a 16th-century Portuguese nobleman who may never have actually set foot there – exists in the proud Brazilian imagination, as well as a beautiful group of a main island and several islets. Fernando de Noronha is, strictly speaking, an archipelago made up of one 11-square-mile chunk of volcanic rock and 20 smaller islands, three degrees south of the equator, 220 miles from Brazil’s north-eastern coast.

Discovered in 16th century, the eco-wonderland is big on conservation, thus traveling from mainland is expensive business. Fernando de Noronha has the best beaches in Brazil, as Guia Quatro Rodas Praias, Brazil’s ‘Beach Bible’, bestowed five starts to only four beaches in Brazil – and three of them are at Fernando de Noronha. One of the more popular ways to explore the island-mountain is by hiring a dune buggy [look at our photos here on the sides!], which is available easily for rent.

We would always start or days early, heading towards Lago dos Dois Irmãos, or walking down the cobblestone streets in Vila dos Remédios.

street in Vila dos Remédios

Main Church - Igreja da Conceição

In Atalaia Beach, we were able to snorkel with fishes and juvenile sharks, checking out the swarms of hawksbill and green turtles, and also, witness rare island species like iguanas. Other adventure seekers like us, engaged in underwater activities, diving and snorkeling to experience the prolific marine life including albacore, barracuda, snappers, cangulos (fish)… An upcoming post will offer more details about our encounters with the marine and wild lives from the archipelago :o

Leão, Sancho and Porcos Bay are the best beaches in Fernando de Noronha and our personal favorite is Sancho Bay as the water changes color from crystal to turquoise to emerald and there is a huge reef wall around the beach making it popular among snorkelers. These will be subject of upcoming posts, since we’re still going through our pictures, often having to bring ourselves back to our present time…

Watching the sunset behind the "Morro Dois Irmãos" (Two Brothers)

Hiking along the beach coast - Praia do Cachorro, Praia do Meio, Praia da Conceição

One of the natural wonders found during our hiking adventures - native Atlantic/Rain Forest setting

Praia da Cacimba do Padre, well-known destination by surfers, and observers

Turquoise waters

Intriguing formations among the volcanic rocks

Fernando de Noronha’s claim to fame is its diverse and rich ecosystem. And while nature lovers throng to this eco-paradise, the volcanic island with its splendid marine life, dramatic rock formations and long lazy stretches of beaches is the perfect romantic destination as well… and we can vouche for that! :o

Searching for marine fish and dolphins

hiking couple :o

hiking couple :o

 

…finally, leaving you “curious for the posts to come“, a glimpse of what we found during our eco-friendly explorative adventures: :o

[We still need to share our experiences with the Brazilian TAMAR Project (marine turtles) and with the Shark Museum ("Museu do Tubarão")]. Imagine!!

 
32 Comments

Posted by on March 8, 2012 in ARCHIPELAGO, post a day

 

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Searching for paradise: Aerial views of Fernando de Noronha Archipelago, Brazil

This is the first in a series of posts on our recent trip to the Brazilian Archipelago of Fernando de Noronha: leisure, research, adventure, photography.

Peaks of the Southern Atlantic submarine ridge form the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago off the coast of Brazil, representing a large proportion of the island surface of the South Atlantic and the rich waters are extremely important for the breeding and feeding of tuna, shark, turtle and marine mammals. The islands are home to the largest concentration of tropical seabirds in the Western Atlantic. Baia de Golfinhos has an exceptional population of resident dolphin. The Fernando de Noronha archipelago covers the majority of the main island and includes the majority of smaller offshore islands and islets. The islands are part of a large submarine mountain system of volcanic origin, which rises from the ocean floor some 4,000 m in depth. The Fernando de Noronha volcano is estimated to be between 1.8 million and 12.3 million years old. The coastline is complex, with a number of high cliffs and sandy beaches. The north-west facing shores are relatively calm, whereas the south-east shores face the predominant currents and winds and are largely rocky shores with significant wave action.

Arriving… flying along the coastline

And here, a snapshot of “who’s got an unchallengeable view” of this paradise:

The highly productive coastal waters around islands are used by many fish species for spawning and as a refuge for juvenile fish. The shallow waters also provide habitat for benthnic organisms (such as coral, sponges and algae). Oceanic islands therefore play a key role in the reproduction and dispersal of marine organisms, providing a staging point for the colonization of other coastal areas and the surrounding ocean. There are less than 10 oceanic islands in the South Atlantic and the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago represents almost 50% of the islands in terms of surface area. As the site makes up such a large proportion of insular South Atlantic coastal area, it is an important repository for the maintenance of biodiversity for the entire South Atlantic basin.

Fernando de Noronha is also the only know location for Insular Atlantic Forest – a subtype of Atlantic Rainforest. To date over 400 species of vascular plants have recorded, including three endemics. The archipelago also contains the sole oceanic mangrove in the South Atlantic. [Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC]

 
 

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The Greene & The Miranda Families

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