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Tag Archives: South America

[Photography] Back to the Past: The world’s largest site of dinosaur tracks!

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This is the second post on the historical Bolivian city of Sucre – now, stepping a little deeper into the past… some 65 million years ago, to be more exact! :o

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Another opportunity for our traveling family to enjoy some kid-friendly activity during our end-of-the year holidays.

After spending a full day in Sucre, we decided to venture out. A quick bus trip took the 5 of us to the Parque Cretacico – and I understand if you’re not able to replicate our day, so, feel free to take the park’s virtual tour here!

It seems that 65 million years ago the site of, 5km north of the center, was the place to be for large, scaly types. When the construction grounds were being cleared in 1994 for Sucre’s Fancesa (Fabrica Nacional de Cemento SA) cement quarry, some 40 minutes out of town, plant employees uncovered a nearly vertical mudstone face with some 5000 tracks of, at least eight different species of dinosaurs – the largest collection of dinosaur footprints in the world.

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Take a look at this, and imagine these images been turned inwards some 90 degrees – now it looks vertical, but this area used to be flat, horizontal, the perfect path for some, let’s say… dinosaur strolling! :o

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Though you can see some of the prints from outside, entering the family-friendly Cretaceous Park gives a better panorama, and that’s exactly what we did, after paying a very ‘family-friendly fee’- gotta love the expatriate life down here in Bolivia!

From downtown Sucre, right across from the Cathedral, we took the 2:30 bus – we’d been told the best light for photographs is during the afternoon. Enjoy the images!

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A general view of the surroundings, just outside of the park [the past looking into the present!]

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[Photography] Back to the Past: A visit to Sucre, Bolivia [Part I].

Well, this is the very first blogpost of 2014 – a promising ‘blogging year’…

Let’s wait and see!

2013 was a fantastic year for our family, and we’ve enjoyed every bit of it – life in Bolivia has proven to be warm, friendly, healthy and joyful. We’re now ready for embracing our last few months here, prepare for home leave back in the US and for our future assignment, Brasilia, in Brazil.

A bit of a regular day in the beautiful city of Sucre: can’t beat a sky like this, right?

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Closing up our travels in Bolivia in 2013, our family had the pleasure to experience the country’s capital, the original historical place, its stories and tales – the city of Sucre.

The city's main plaza

The city’s main plaza

Right after Christmas Day, we flew out of La Paz for several restful days in the country’s original capital – more on this visit will soon come, but for now, I’ll leave you all with this ‘placeholder’ for future posts.

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Sucre (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈsukɾe]), also known historically as Charcas [ˈtʃarkas]La Plata [la ˈplata] and Chuquisaca [tʃikiˈsaka](population 247,300 in 2006) is the constitutional capital of Bolivia, the capital of the department of Chuquisaca and the 5th most populated city in Bolivia. Located in the south-central part of the country, Sucre lies at an elevation of 2810 m. This relatively high altitude gives the city a cool temperate climate year-round [Excerpt from Wikipedia].

 

 
 

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Bolivian New Year’s Tradition: Underwear for Good Luck!

This will be our family’s second New Year’s eve in Bolivia… and the last one, since next Summer we’re headed out to our next adventure! :o Life in the Foreign Service, baby!

Learning a bit more about the Bolivian culture is definitely part of my ‘unofficial duties‘ as an expat and a mother… We have lived in different places, and each country has its own way to greet the coming year… in Brazil, our previous post, the New Year is celebrated in white clothes, and at midnight, asking for blessings from Yemanjá, the protector of the waters.

Regarding the many different traditions for welcoming the New Year, the beautiful country of Bolivia couldn’t stay behind others, and for sure, brings out its very own expression of ‘luck’…

This time, I was quite surprised to find out how: WEARING YELLOW (AND/OR) RED UNDERWEAR! Similar to countries like Mexico, where colorful underwear is a ‘must-have’ for the New Year’s Eve, here in Bolivia, it’s important when the underwear is changed.

People have to buy some yellow [or red] underwear piece and wait for midnight… When it comes, they just run to a place to change it and believe that their luck will change as well! It’s also believed that this practice helps them find a loving mate. Red means an amorous love life ahead and yellow expresses the desire to gain money and wealth. The wishes of the locals are expressed via their underpants.

Think I’m just making it up? Take a look at the largest open market in Achumani, a residential area in La Paz, and tell me what you spot from the selling stands! ♥ The Cholitas selling their articles probably thought I was another ‘crazy foreigner‘ when asked them for permission to snap these shots… and they were a bit disappointed when learned I wasn’t gonna buy any pieces‘aren’t you concerned about your good fortune for next year?’ And with a smile, I just kindly thanked them for their time and help, and for explaining the meaning behind the colors; but told them I was happy with my present fortune… and that I’d be okay for the New Year’s, despite lacking a piece of undergarment displaying a money sign:o

Wishing all a very HAPPY, COLORFUL & LUCKY NEW YEAR! :o

[even if you could not get your red/yellow piece of underclothing for good luck!]

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Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” [week 39, 'Saturated': the Quena Case].

The Quena Wood Case

Saturated. With colors. My offer for this week’s photo challenge, still sharing bits and pieces of the Bolivian culture, through the 52 Bolivian Sundays Photo Project! :o

This photo was taken during one of our recent hikes, just outside La Paz, through the Valle de La Luna unique geological formations. Flute players, Andean musicians usually come over and greets adventurers and pass-byers with their art… in more ways than one!

This beautiful wood case is commonly used to carry the Quena set, the traditional Andean flute. Note the unique wood work inside the case, all the colorful faces, carefully design to represent different Bolivian pueblos.

The quena is a South American wind instrument, mostly used by Andean musicians.

And here, a little bit of ‘cultural’ background:o

The quena (Quechua: qina, sometimes also written “kena” in English) is the traditional flute of the Andes. Traditionally made of bamboo or wood, it has 6 finger holes and one thumb hole, and is open on both ends or the bottom is half-closed (choked). To produce sound, the player closes the top end of the pipe with the flesh between his chin and lower lip, and blows a stream of air downward, along the axis of the pipe, over an elliptical notch cut into the end. 

Quena is mostly used in traditional Andean music. In the 1960s and 1970s the quena was used by several Nueva Canción musicians, this use was in most cases for particular songs and not as a standard instrument but some groups such as Illapu have used it regularly. In the 1980s and 1990s some post-Nueva Canción rock groups have also incorporated the quena in some of their songs; notably Soda Stereo in Cuando Pase el Temblor and Los Enanitos Verdes in Lamento Boliviano. The quena is also relatively common in World music.

♥ Enjoy as you please, and thanks for stopping by! ♥

 

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2013 in ART, BOLIVIA, photography, TRAVEL

 

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Photo Project ’52 Bolivian Sundays’ [week 35, 'Sea']. Okay, no sea in Bolivia, but…

Location of Bolivia in South America on the 1s...

Location of Bolivia in South America (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I totally understand the words ‘sea’ and ‘Bolivia’ do not got together in the same sentence!

Sorry for that… ♥

For the ones who have forgotten a bit of their geography:

Unfortunately, the country of Bolivia do not have access to the ocean, it does not have a ‘sea view’ of it’s own…

Not going into political details…

Some neighboring countries may have some justification to that… :o but for now, leaving politics completely out of any of my blogposts!

For this week photo series, I’m bringing in two possible options for the ‘Challenge Sea‘.

The first one: Bolivia does have the largest fresh water lake in South America [woot,woot!]

Lake Titicaca

The youngest hiker

The youngest hiker

Largest freshwater lake in South America

Largest freshwater lake in South America

The second option: the easiest way to get a unique ‘sea view’, on any given ‘Bolivian Sunday’ is to visit the neighboring Chile…. like our family did, some time this year!

Maybe, I’m cheating…(?) but I can’t go against geography, right? If there’s no sea, there’s no sea… ♥ Enjoy as you please, and thanks for stopping by! ♥

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2013 in BOLIVIA, foreign service, photography

 

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Identity, Tradition & Folklore in Bolivia: The Challa Ceremony honoring Pachamama and blessing a new home.

Learning a bit more about the Bolivian culture – part of my ‘unofficial duties’ as an expat and a mother… The harmonious relationship between the Indian population and the Mother Nature is very present in the handycraft industry, the musical folklore, and the religion. The worship dedicated to the natural divinities influences the daily life of the Indian community on the altiplano. Bolivians have a great respect and veneration of Pachamama, the goddess of the Earth. In her honor, offerings (challa) of small object with symbolic value are deposited or burned in the medium of incantations and prayers. There are lots of rituals dedicated to Pachamama, as for example, the construction of a new house must be preceded by a small blessing ceremony; another common ritual is before swallowing a glass of beer or liquor, one must honor Pachamama, while pouring a few drops on the ground.
A few months ago, family was invited to a friend’s house warming. The original couple has moved to Bolivia over a decade ago, and are strengthening their roots with this beautiful country, in more ways than one… They’re a loving, caring family, who has elected Bolivia as their home, and the home for their children.

As part of the ‘open house’ celebrations, the guests could appreciate a Challa Celebration, in honor of the new house, a new home for years to come. Sharing here are a few snapshots of this folkloric celebration, and wishing our friends and their family many years of happiness at their new home! ♥

Guests and their family members were invited to participate in the ceremony.

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2013 in BOLIVIA, expat, photography

 

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Photo Project: 52 Bolivian Sundays [week 20, 'Escape' - Zip-Lining in the world's most dangerous road].

world's most dangerous road

It’s the rainy season all over the city of Nuestra Señora of La Paz: a cold rain often comes at the end of the afternoon, letting us know the upcoming night will be even colder.

It’s time to get the fireplace going, pop in a movie for the kids, and why not, go over the recent photos taken during the a well-deserved experience with nature.

Escaping to the Yungas mountains, on a biking trip, cycling through the world’s most dangerous road, couldn’t be better sealed up than with a unique Zip Line adventure. Instead of going from tree to tree, why not go… from mountain to mountain? :o

According to Cheri Lucas, the one providing inspiration for this week’s photo challenge: “Escape. Depending on your current mood and headspace, or time in your life, this word can evoke different emotions and conjure a variety of images”. Today, sharing images of a great escape… to the world’s most dangerous road! Join us! :o

 

Definitely, one of the highlights of this month of May: Zip Lining with Gravity Bolivia! All are welcome to enjoy as much as the group did!

Find here, more impressions from other bloggers on “Escape”… Thank you all for sharing! ♥

 
 

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The peaceful surroundings of La Paz: Mallasa through photography.

 

A good way, indeed, to begin a peaceful week – the last one of February – sharing images from our surroundings, the municipality of Mallasa, a town 20-30 minutes from the city of La Paz, is a place of family entertainment with a pleasant climate, nature and tourist attractions.

One of the places most frequented by tourists is the VALLEY OF THE MOON, which are land formations that resemble the lunar soil, the Municipal Zoo “Vesty Pakos” animal’s own Andean area as the llama, alpaca, condor and others, the Parque Valle del Sol family recreational place but especially for children.

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2013 in BOLIVIA, photography, TRAVEL

 

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On your fingertips: stylish mom in a snap… what’s hot in Bolivia for the Carnaval?

Bringing out  fantastic idea, since it’s CARNAVAL weekend all over South America, and Bolivia is no different!

I simply love, love any type of ‘finger nail artwork’. And Bolivia, like any other Latin country, is probably one of the best places to exercise this passion! ♥

How to be a full-time mom of little kids, capable of helping them with homework despite the baby’s high pitch crying, not forgetting to devote some attention to the hubby, and yet trying to look good and stylish according to the ‘Latino’ trends? ? I know, pretty hard, right? We all try to be the “perfect woman-wife-mom”, fully committed with school activities, extra-curricular schedules, reserving some quality time for the growing family, keeping up with friends, being a committed professional…

Sometimes, it’s just too much… And then, you remember: you’re still a girl, and you’d like to (once in a while!) to look good, trendy, fashionable, stylish… not for your friends, your partner, your colleagues at work – but for your OWN SELF. The question: how? You don’t have a whole lot of time for any pampering, and you’re not willing to spend a lot of money. Hummm…

The answer: just give your hands/nails a make-up… a few minutes later and, voilá! The beauty of living in South America is that one is over-exposed to whatever is trendy/hot…. Why not try something new? And, I gotta say, I went for the nails thing… why not a different color a week? Below, a few suggestions from Paloma Cuesta:

Why not go for something different, just for the fun of it? And be a “very trendy & cool busy mom”, even if it’s only for a week! :o Below, a few images, courtesy of the artist Carla Llanos:

Imagen: Uñas Tips con Gel

Imagen: Uñas Acrílicas

Imagen: Uñas Gel con Acrílico

Imagen: Uñas Acrílicas, diseño blanco y negro

Imagen: Uñas, Encapsulado Flores Secas

Imagen: Uñas, Encapsulado Flores Secas

Imagen: Uñas de Gel, Cristales

Imagen: Diseño en Uñas de Pies

What about some stylish toenails? Feet deserve the same amount of TLC… and fashion! :o

 
 
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Posted by on February 9, 2013 in ART, Fashion, photography

 

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Photo Project: 52 Bolivian Sundays [week 1, 'Resolved'].

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Well, this is the time to come up with New Year Resolutions. I’m no different than many others, and since once of my resolutions is to get better at photoblogging, I’ve resolved to do something.

My resolution? Trying to blog better, more consistently… this year, I’ll see if I can abide by a weekly schedule… with at least a post a week for 2013, which I’m calling “52 Bolivian Sundays”, my plan to share my [photo] impressions about our surroundings, the culture we’re currently calling ‘ours’, the place we’ll call home for the next year and a half… Hopefully, I’ll stick to the plan, and have a photo post out every Sunday… 52 images of natural landscapes, people, culture, food, tradition, daily life, social events, artistic expressions… you name it! But each and every one of them need to represent the place we’re now calling home, the beautiful country of Bolivia! ♥

Today, the first Sunday of 2013, the opening photo is inspired by the weekly photo challenge, “Resolved“. My first resolution for the year: getting out [more] and exploring the country. We haven’t done a lot of traveling in these past 5 months here, but now it’s time to explore… and find out what’s hiding behind these mountains… or, what lies beyond these clouds… :o

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Bolivian New Year’s Tradition: Underwear for Good Luck!

Learning a bit more about the Bolivian culture is definitely part of my ‘unofficial duties‘ as an expat and a mother… We have lived in different places, and each country has its own way to greet the coming year… in Brazil, our previous post, the New Year is celebrated in white clothes, and at midnight, asking for blessings from Yemanjá, the protector of the waters.

Regarding the many different traditions for welcoming the New Year, the beautiful country of Bolivia couldn’t stay behind others, and for sure, brings out its very own expression of ‘luck’…

This time, I was quite surprised to find out how: WEARING YELLOW (AND/OR) RED UNDERWEAR! Similar to countries like Mexico, where colorful underwear is a ‘must-have’ for the New Year’s Eve, here in Bolivia, it’s important when the underwear is changed.

People have to buy some yellow [or red] underwear piece and wait for midnight… When it comes, they just run to a place to change it and believe that their luck will change as well! It’s also believed that this practice helps them find a loving mate. Red means an amorous love life ahead and yellow expresses the desire to gain money and wealth. The wishes of the locals are expressed via their underpants.

Think I’m just making it up? Take a look at the largest open market in Achumani, a residential area in La Paz, and tell me what you spot from the selling stands! ♥ The Cholitas selling their articles probably thought I was another ‘crazy foreigner‘ when asked them for permission to snap these shots… and they were a bit disappointed when learned I wasn’t gonna buy any pieces‘aren’t you concerned about your good fortune for next year?’ And with a smile, I just kindly thanked them for their time and help, and for explaining the meaning behind the colors; but told them I was happy with my present fortune… and that I’d be okay for the New Year’s, despite lacking a piece of undergarment displaying a money sign:o

Wishing all a very HAPPY, COLORFUL & LUCKY NEW YEAR! :o

[even if you could not get your red/yellow piece of underclothing for good luck!]

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“Lost in Time”: Flora of the Jericoacoara National Park, Brazil

Sometimes, even memories fall thru the cracks… :o Glad I found it! With you all, the Flora of the Jericoacoara beach, in Brazil! This is the place some 12 years back, I found the one who’d become ‘my guy’… ♥

Walks along the beach coast are one of the best ways to temporarily, leave reality, trading urban stressful images for exquisite coastline sites, immersing into natural beauty… Here are a few examples of nature’s hand, samples of the flora collection observed during one of our walks along the Monte Serrote, located at the National Park Jericoacoara (environmentally protected area, APA). Typical flora representatives are Caatinga and Cerrado.

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2012 in BRASIL, photography, TRAVEL

 

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