May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month!

31764692_10156433012256584_274724937388785664_oHey there!
Glad I got your attention! 🙂

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Did you know that May was Skin Cancer Awareness month?

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer. UV radiation can also come from tanning booths or sunlamps. The most dangerous kind of skin cancer is called melanoma.

The good news? Skin cancer can almost always be cured when it’s found and treated early — even melanoma. Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to prevent skin cancer or detect it early on.

This May, spread the word about strategies for preventing skin cancer and encourage communities, organizations, families, and individuals to get involved.

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  • How many of you leave the house everyday with sunscreen on? I am guilty….I need to be better of putting on sunscreen BEFORE we even step outside.

*Are you choosing a mineral based sunscreen vs. a chemical one? Stay clear from the ingredient OXYBENZONE….that is bad news..:(

*Do you kids fight you with sunscreen? Here is a solution I’ve found for my whole family, including the pre-teen soccer player [who hates putting on any lotion/skin protectant], the always-on-the-go tween girl, and the baby-of-the-house, our 7 year old daughter: [click on link below!]

Safe Sunblock for the Family

Again, they are a mineral sunblocker – safe with non-nano zinc oxide, moisturizing with Aloe & coconut oil, and are non-streaking.

Many people today are foregoing sunscreen all together because they are concerned about the hormone disrupting ingredients in conventional sunscreens 😱It isn’t all or nothing, there are safer sunscreens out there. Free of questionable or harmful ingredients, EFFECTIVE and it goes on clear – no white streaks here 🙅🏻‍♀️ I’m super excited to share that our sunscreens are currently 20% off, while supplies last!

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Here are just a few ideas to spread to ‘awareness word’:

Encourage families to adopt good habits together, like wearing sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher and limiting their time in the sun. [Great promotion on safer mineral sunblockers going on, safe with non-nano zinc oxide and moisturizing power!]

Motivate teachers and administrators to teach kids about the harm of UV radiation and why it’s important to protect yourself.

Identify youth leaders in your community who can talk to their peers about taking steps to prevent skin cancer.

Partner with a local hospital, state fair, or similar organization to host a skin cancer screening event.

Curious? Have questions about it? Drop me a note [comments below]!

Thank you, and safe sunny times for you and your family!! 🙂

Additional informational link: https://www.skincancer.org/get-involved/skin-cancer-awareness-month

Summer Fun: Getting a ride to the Tiki Hut (3-wheeler free bike service!)

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Preview from our Southwest USA road trip

Oh, well… since time is a hot commodity during vacation, I will just share here the links with our Instagram images… once time becomes more available, a better writing/blogging job will happen. Thank you!

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Moving: Departing Brazil, heading to Cuba!

We’re officially Havana-bound, now…

Our HouseHold Effects [HHE] and the Unaccompanied Air Baggage [UAB] will soon be on their way to our next Post Assignment!

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Celebrating Mother’s Day in a very ‘Brazilian Cerrado’ style – hiking to the Itiquira Waterfalls!

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It’s about a 2 hour drive from Brasilia, in order to get to the waterfall, but it is definitely worth the trek![as described by Giddyforpoints, on First2Board – thank you for sharing!

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Map to Itiquira Falls

Local name: Salto do Itiquira
Location: Formosa, Brazil

The Itiquira Falls is a waterfall in Brazil. They are located 34 kilometers north of Formosa in the state of Goiás and 115 kilometers from Brasília on a paved road. The falls have a height of 168 meters, making them possibly the highest accessible waterfall in Brazil and the second highest overall. The falls are formed by the drop of the Itiquira River from the higher central plateau north of Formosa into the deep Paraná River valley. The waters are unpolluted and a bottling plant is located on the river above the falls. The area is a municipal park and is protected from development. There are tourist facilities outside the park, near the entrance. (source: Wikipedia)

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Showing life in Brazil to our American family members!

The eldest member of our US-based Miranda Family, comes to Brasilia! Or, as the kids like to call him, their ‘Abuelito’ 🙂
Here, joining the kids for some well-deserved Easter Egg Hunt fun, organized for the US Embassy community:

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Moving on, we’ve decided to join the Mirandas & the Nogueira Lima families: we all headed up to see the Brazilian part of the family in Fortaleza – taking the American ‘Abuelito’ to go visit the kids’ Brazilian uncles, aunts, cousing and grandparents? All aboard, heading to the Northeastern coast of Brazil for Easter Weekend! 🙂

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Brazil & US Families together!

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Back in Brasilia, how about start the weekend fun for our second guest, with some typical feijoada, caipirinhas and tropical fruit juices, while listening to traditional “chorinho” [samba] and Bossa Nova? All by the lake Paranoa side, watching the weekenders riding their boats, jet-skis and kayaks… Table for 16 people, please!

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Gotta always save some [physical] energy for joining the US Embassy community during a friendly basketball mini-tournament, right?
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Mid-afternoon sightseeing… ice-cream, anyone? Even better if it’s sold from a red vintage VW! 🙂

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Considering making and keeping healthy friendships [in our case, our expat fellow friends] are the most important part of this ever-changing life, a few images from a night with friends, celebrating life, friendship, birthdays and good food! One of the pictures here is a ‘multi-collage’… guess which!

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What now?? Some family time back at our Lago Sul house, having fun with the little “resident monkeys”? 🙂 Priceless!

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Brasilia, our current home, and a city planned to host the coutry’s federal government, is famous for [among other things!]:

a) its unique sky colors & the typical Cerrado vegetation

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b) its architectural lines and building structures, its religious/faith-based centers, bringing out a strange, yet passionate urban beauty:

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Snapshots of our little expat life in Brazil…

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Some may think being an expat is hard, living the ever-changing routine, adapting/adjusting as you go…

Some others may find it intriguing, exciting and worth pursuing, despite the constant uncertainty and the last-minute life-changing decisions ones is often faced with.

Our family falls right in the middle. It’s definitely not the easiest lifestyle; nevertheless, worth every bit of it!

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Coming back to reality…

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Traveling on a kid-friendly budget: Six days in Uruguay, South America

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Want to know more about our family trip to Uruguay, it’s capital, Montevideo, the charming province of Punta del Este and the historical province of Colonia del Sacramento? All within a family-friendly budget, spread out thru bus rides, hiking trips, smart hotel and dining options searching! Just stay tuned (or send us a message using the comments section below – we will be glad to share our travel tips and family challenges!) 😲

For now, we will leave you all with a few collage pics from our traveling family Instagram (@expatmomof3) profile. Thank you for stopping by!

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Now, heading to Colonia del Sacramento!

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Back in Montevideo, for some amazing History of Soccer!

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Another great, safe and enjoyable bus ride, took our family to the charming beach resort region of Punta del Este…. for some well-deserved endless vacation time!

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A family affair. Snapshots of our first 2017 travels: Ouro Preto (UNESCO Heritage Site), Mariana (mining town) & Inhotim (largest open air museum of contemporary art), Minas Gerais, Brazil

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Praça Tiradentes, Ouro Preto:

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Gold Mine in Mariana, MG
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Inhotim,Open Air Contemporary Art Museum
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CARNAVAL!

From a very talented blogger, currently experiencing motherhood and expat life in Brazil, and a friend, Tessa Wegener. A great and enjoyable read!

Wegener's Wanderlust

Samba! Feathers! Glitter! Streamers! Confetti! — Carnaval has officially begun in Brazil!

A little bit of history

Did you know that the word carnaval is believed to have evolved from the Latin phrase carnem levare which means “to remove meat”? Carnaval, like Mardi Gras in the U.S. or Karneval in Germany, is a pre-Lenten celebration that ends on Ash Wednesday and has its roots in European Catholicism (or in earlier pagan traditions, depending on your source!).

Carnaval in Brazil is a transcultural phenomenon and its history is inextricably linked to European colonialism and African slavery. The Portuguese settlers of Brazil introduced Entrudo (another name for Carnaval) during the 18th century. Initial celebrations evolved over the years and took on the form of masquerade balls, polka dances and waltzes. At this point, festivities were still clearly delineated according to social class—there were “Grandes Sociedades” for aristocrats, “Ranchos Carnavalescos” for the working-class, and “Cordões” for the…

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Life in the Foreign Service: and our next assignment is….

Could we be any happier? We got (again!) our #1 pick as our onwards Foreign Service Assignment post:

Obviously, more to come… but for now, I only have one thing to say:

YAAAAAY!

Stay tuned… 🙂

Written by Karen Hastings

History and Havana go hand in hand. The name “Havana” conjures images of Spanish conquistadors, revolutionary heroes, and the literati and glitterati who once basked on these sun-splashed shores. Today, the fascinating history of Cuba’s capital awaits travelers at every twist and turn; in the cobbled streets of Old Havana, in the beautiful Cuban Baroque buildings, the historic forts, museums, legendary restaurants, and lively public squares.

A fiesta for the senses, Havana is a city made to stroll. Listen to live rumba music on a street corner, feast at restaurants where Hemingway once dined, or inhale the salt-soaked air along the famous Malecón. But perhaps the best part of a visit to Havana is the people. Friendly and outgoing, the locals are proud of their culture-rich Caribbean city and happy to share its historic treasures and many hidden gems.

The First Bierwagen: making passing-by tourists happier, every Oktoberfest!

During the Brazilian October Beerfest 2016 festivities, one might find surprises anywhere… everywhere! Even crossing the city of Blumenau’s traditional street, the November XV, as you may see below…

Free beer being given by these lovely mom-and-daughter set. Old German pappa is responsible for the driving duties!

One can’t beat the uniqueness of mixed cultures! 😊

Liederkranz at the Blumenau Oktoberfest, 2016

Show dos ” Velhos Camaradas” na Oktoberfest de 2016, em Blumenau, Santa Catarina, Brasil.

Video by the Lima-Miranda traveling couple 😊 Enjoy!

For more info on this folk group, feel free to visit:

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Oktoberfest Princesses!

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More to come, obvioulsly, since we are currently on our way back home.

Airports never are a great “blogposting” choice!

For now, leaving you with the husband’s choice of ‘princesses’, and his unchallenged Queen! 😊

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Getting ready for the Greatest Brazilian Beer Festival – Oktoberfest of Blumenau!

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And, the Lima Miranda Clan is getting ready for another cultural trip. The second largest Oktoberfest happens some 6,000 miles away from Munich… in Blumenau, Santa Catarina, Southern Brazil – exactly where these ‘travel-addicts’ are going!

This time, it will be a celebratory trip for the husband and I, a token towards our 13th wedding anniversary – and a decade a half of love, companionship, shared joy and challenging moments, laughs, adventures and discoveries… Thirteen years of married life, witnessing our family grow as a balanced unit. Life has definitely been good to us. Time to celebrate!

Our kids will happily stay back with their Brazilian grandmother, “vovó Regina” , who has kindly flown to Brasilia in order to spend some quality time with her Brazilian-American grandchildren, period which coincides with the children’s international school ‘Brazilian Spring Break’. This means kids at home for a whole week, no classes… the perfect scenario for their parents to ‘escape’ for a while! [smiles!!]

Arriving in Blumenau today. Stay tuned for more – can’t wait to share our ‘in-loco’ observations!

(cheating a little, and pasting here a bit of background info I found on Wikipedia): The Oktoberfest of Blumenau is a festival of Germanic traditions that happens in middle October in the city of Blumenau, Santa Catarina, Brazil. It is considered the biggest German festival of all Americas and the one of the biggest Oktoberfest celebration along with the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest and after the original Oktoberfest from Munich. It takes place at Parque Vila Germânica (Germanic Village Park), located in the Bairro da Velha (District of the Old Woman), and lasts for 17 days.

Site oficial do Evento

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The Blumenau Oktoberfest is a triumph of music, dances, colors and some excellent iced beer, served in “chopp” (mugs). Brazilian beer is slightly lighter than

the European one, but very good indeed.
The main “cervejas” are the national Brahma and some local beers like Eisenbahn, Bierland, Wunder Bier, Das Bier and Gaspar.
Brazilian beer is best matched with traditional German dishes like the Kassler (pork rib with sausages, purée and sauerkraut), Eisbein (cross-cut veal meat with sauerkraut, sausage and pure) and Marreco Recheado (a typical regional dish: goose served with red cabbage, rice and pure).

foto2The calendar of the festival is filled with events. The Oktoberfest is not just about beer: it is memory, tradition and folklore, a gathering moment dedicated to friendship and conviviality. During the festival the locals put their outstanding cultural richness on display through music, dance and typical gastronomy.

blumenau_girlsThe official opening ceremony takes place on Wednesday at 22 pm after the big parade in rua XV de Novembro. The costume parades with German folkloristic dance groups are one of the festival main attractions. The dance shows account for the typical ‘Oom-Pah Music”, polka, waltz and mazurka, all of which are partly “contaminated” with some samba moves (Hey, we’re still in Brazil after all!)
Some funny competitions are also organized, the most interesting and famous of which is the “Concurso Nacional de Chopp em metro”, that livens up the sector 3 of Parque Vila Germanica with an alternate schedule. The competition is free and open to all participants over the age of 18, and begins at 22 pm. The challengers must drink 600 ml of beer, “um metro de chope”, in the least amount of time. Every evening a winner is elected, and during the closing celebration the three best times (respectively for men and women) will be awarded a medal.

On the last Sunday of celebrations, the festival elects the Oktoberfest princess: an important responsibility for the chosen girl, since she has to embody the values of the Blumenau culture.

UPDATED: “Moving is the 3rd most stressful life event”…

How crazy it is that this topic is always so current?

and once more, our nomadic family finds itself jumping the ‘ bidding-season’ ropes… It never fails. Always exciting, nevertheless, stressful… Are we, Foreign Service folks, somewhat creatures of dark sarcastic humor? We must be, otherwise, what could be a logical, plausible explanation for continuously putting ourselves – and respective hauling families – through such an ordeal?

A long time has gone by since I first prepared this blogpost… And yet, it remains so current! Even celebrated my birthday surrounded by bubble wrap & moving boxes – it was pack out season! 😮 The original post was “Inspired by the FS Blog Round Up, I decided to do some research and put together a pack of interesting information about moving and packing, including my personal comments. Some of the “facts” were actually quite new to me.

Others, made me laugh. What about a bit of my life as a ‘rolling stone’? 😮 That’s exactly how I feel, moving every so often!

Also found some “advice” on moving with small children – supposedly, “moving with kids could be a breeze, if you plan ahead”. This is probably my favorite, and I ask: “how much ahead to you need to plan? maybe before you were joined by your kids??” 😮

Anyway, here are some of the ‘facts’ about moving and packing:

Comment: Really?! Would have never guessed! 😮 Moving is trauma, ranked right up there with getting a divorce, losing a job or burying a loved one. But chances are you already know that. So here comes the question:

So.. Why we do it???

** just a rhetorical question! We all look forward to those intense

finding-sorting-wrapping-packing-storing days!

  • One-sixth of all Americans, an estimated 43 million people, move each year. (U.S. Census Bureau)

Comment: And 50% of all moves take place between Memorial Day and Labor Day – that’s just weird – at that time, I had no idea why the preference! [** U.S. school year/calendar (thanks, Carla!)… now it does make sense – another hint that I’m a foreign-born spouse!] 😮

  • Individuals move 11.7 times in their lifetime. (from: U.S. Census Bureau)

Comment: Already crossed that mark, even before meeting the husband and joining the FS…

  • The typical moving customer is a married couple between the ages 25 and 44, with one or two children between the ages of 2 and 11.

Comment: Good to know we’re not alone. It comforts me to know there are several other parents out somewhere, screaming and kicking … 

And here are some of the “advices”:

  • Get back to normal: For the sake of the entire family’s happiness, try not to take too long to resume doing what your family enjoys.

Comment: I’d really appreciate knowing how to get back to normal after a move, not taking long to resume to your ‘normal’ routine. Maybe I’m always too busy trying to prevent the kids from killing each other, that I may loose focus…

  • Pack late (late?) – The actual process of packing up and putting things away in boxes may be emotionally trying for preschoolers, as they see familiar and favorite objects disappear into boxes. Try to pack your preschoolers’ belongings as late in the moving schedule as possible, and reassure them that their belongings will be going to the new house.

Comment: You don’t realize how much stuff your kids have until you start packing.  BTW, where are the kids? Make sure the answer to your question is on the top of your to-do list! 

  • Pace Yourself: Your already busy schedule keeps you on your feet at all times, and moving adds a whole new list of things to do.  Plan ahead. Give yourself several weeks to pack for your move, that way you are only packing a few boxes a day. This will decrease the amount of time you need away from your everyday responsibilities, including your kids. In other words, it’s not only about keeping your kids busy, but it’s about making yourself more available during your move.

Comment: Would love to know how to pace myself. One day I’ll learn. Not next year. Not in this decade. Also, how could I “buy” several weeks ahead, for packing before a move? If I’m able to manage a semi-smooth “packing & moving” event, ensuring that our car keys and travel documents won’t be packed away with our HHE, I’ll be pretty lucky!:o  Here is some good advice (at least for me!) about keeping it real for the traveling children (thanks to “Family-Travel-Scoop”): Do talk frankly with your children about the move Do let your child express his/her feelings Do acknowledge their frustrations/anger Do research the country you are moving to with your child Do let your child say goodbye properly to the place you are leaving Do expect an adjustment period when your child has mixed emotions Do keep traditions from home alive in your new home Do maintain regular ties with family back “home” Do bring items (e.g. framed pictures) and put them in each home you live in a similar place Do involve your child with any decisions that may affect him/her if possible

Good luck to all the ones moving out this season! I’m glad we don’t have to think about packing for at least, another 8 months… Oh, boy!!

The Lima Miranda Clan visits the Majestic Iguazu Waterfalls!

Getting ready for the boat ride going along/under the falls, between Brazil and Argentina waters!
Getting ready for the boat ride going along/under the falls, between Brazil and Argentina waters!

 

Glad it’s Friday!

Spring has arrived in Brazil, and our working-traveling family keeps enjoying our time in Brasilia, which due to its central location, has enabled us to tackle a few of the ‘bucket list travel destinations’ we’ve originally planned for 3-year assignment in Brazil.

This September, we took advantage of a Brazilian National Holiday, Independence Day – and an American holiday, Labor Day, to visit the so-famous Brazilian Waterfalls – Cataratas de Iguaçu, in Southern Brazil.  Husband had already visited the Iguazu Falls, but I had never had that chance (yeap! I’m that kind of Brazilian-born individual who’d never could experience what a lot of foreigners do and brag about…). The possibility to bring our kids along on this quest was the added bonus for this traveling-foreign-service family! 🙂

Thank you very much to Kennedy Runo for sharing his 10 interesting facts about the Iguazu Falls! It was a great inspiration for this blogpost 🙂

Here is my favorite “interesting fact”, from K. Runo ‘s list:

There is a legend to explain the falls: God wanted to marry Naipí, an Aborigine girl against her wish. She escaped on a canoe with her human lover, Tarobá. Upon realizing this, he got angry and separated the River Iguazu by creating deep falls so that the two will be condemned to an eternal fall.

 

Iguazu Falls, also Cataratas do Iguaçu in Portuguese and Cataratas Del Iguazú in Spanish are waterfalls that straddle between the Brazilian State of Paraná and Province of Misiones in Argentina along the River Iguazu. It divides the river into upper and lower Iguazu. With more than 275 falls, the Iguazu are the most majestic of water falls. The most scenic one is the curved cataract christened the ‘devils throat’ that has 14 falls that drop to a height of 350 feet. Iguazu Waterfalls are second only to Victoria Waterfalls in size. However, in terms of beauty, none of the other waterfalls in the world can come close to compete. If you are a nature buff and have never visited Iguazu, then you have missed out. [thank you, Kennedy Runo on 01/17/2014 in Brazil]

 

Our oldest 'explorers', very attentive to all they've learned, and will report back to their classmates. Family travel is always a great opportunity for teaching moments - especially the incredibly enjoyable ones, with our aspiring scientist-drama-queen and our 'know-it-all'-boy! :)

Our oldest ‘explorers’, very attentive to all they’ve learned, and will report back to their classmates. Family travel is always a great opportunity for teaching moments – especially the incredibly enjoyable ones, with our aspiring scientist-drama-queen and our ‘know-it-all’-boy! 🙂

Our family also went along with the Macuco Safari crew, driving throughout the Park, learning about the preservation efforts to keep the Mata Atlantica intact and respected!

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Considering I haven’t blogged in a while, I plan on making a gradual return – or, you may say I’m simply lazy at this point. Have way more to share from our trip to the Brazilian Iguazu Falls, our hiking trips, and our visit to the Bird Sanctuary, also located in the municipality of Foz do Iguazu. But that will be left for a future blogpost. For now, just a ‘teaser’ of the beautiful Parque das Aves – Foz do Iguazu Park Bird Sancturay:

Lovely Flamingos!
Lovely Flamingos!

 

Useful links and/or references:

http://www.macucosafari.com.br/en/macuco-safari
http://www.uniglobeonetravel.com/10-interesting-facts-about-igauazu-falls
http://www.parquedasaves.com.br/en/

Stay tuned for more!

 

Life on the Superblock

I know I haven’t been the greatest blogger recently – life finds its way of escaping us, somehow…
In any event, a close friend, and now, a brand-new WP blogger, just published her first impressions about their assigned city – Brasilia, the capital of Brazil. I’ve written about this place before, the city I tend to call ‘my-own’, despite growing up as a military/government brat here, back in the 70s, 80s… and departing away in the 90s…
Brasilia has a very special place in my heart and in my life – that’s the reason this blogpost is here. My congratulations to the newest WP author, and my best wishes for The Wegener’s Wanderlust, which I leave you all here with her beautiful pictures of Brasilia and the sunset on (the artificially-designed) Lake Paranoá. Enjoy! 🙂

Wegener's Wanderlust

A little over a year ago, my husband and I moved to Brazil. When friends and family first heard that we would be moving to Brazil, they immediately assumed we would be in Rio de Janeiro and were likely envisioning their next vacation on Copacabana beach. We had to break the news to them that no, we weren’t going to be in Rio, nor in São Paulo. Instead, we’d be going to the center of Brazil’s vast country, to live in its capital Brasília, a city that has only existed a mere 56 years.

Brasília is surrounded not by the beach, but by a tropical savannah region known as the cerrado. Yet its defining characteristic is the layout of the city–depending on whom you ask, it resembles either an airplane, a bird or a cross. The main ministries and government buildings are located on the Eixo Monumental, which runs west to east; on…

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Interview for the ExpatFinder.com: An American-Brazilian in Brasilia

Thank you for the expert folks at Expat Finder for publishing the interview!

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Please find complete text below:

14 September 2016

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\We’ve had the chance to talk to Raquel Miranda, 44, a Brazilian-American expat who has moved to Brazil with her family. Mrs. Miranda who has been living there for two years now works as a public health specialist.

Read more about her experiences in the full interview below.

Q: Where are you from originally?

A: From Itaguai, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Q: What made you move out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil?

A: A post-doctoral research opportunity at UCDavis, California, in 2001

Q: Where are you living now? How did you come to choose this new country of residence?

A: In Brasilia, Brazil

Q: How long have you been living in Brasilia, Brazil?

A: Since August 2014

Q: Are you living alone or with your family? If yes, how are they adjusting to the Expat Lifestyle?

A: With family. Yes, the husband and our three third-culture children are adjusting pretty well, despite their young age [almost 11, 8 and 5]

Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes? How do you cope with homesickness?

A: I do. We Skype, call each other on the phone, write emails and have a family WahtsApp group

Q: What do you think about the locals?

A: Right now, we’re living in Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, and it’s coincidentally the city I grew up in, since both my parents used to be federal public servants

Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialise with other expats in Brasilia, Brazil? How did you manage to find a social circle there?

A: Coming back to the place I grew up in, some 22 years later was quite interesting, and challenging! Making new friends, as a working mother, and being perceived as a ‘diplomatic spouse’, was an intriguing piece of the puzzle! After six months back, I already had a good group of friends from work, other parents from the school, and acquaintances, associated with the US embassy.

Q: How does the cost of living in Brasilia, Brazil compare to your home?

A: Comparing to the US
•Q: How much is a cup of coffee?

A: A couple of dollars
•Q: How much is a meal in an inexpensive restaurant?

A: Anywhere around 5-10 dollars
•Q: How much is a meal in an expensive restaurant?

A: Could be pretty expensive. One could easily spend 100-200 dollars one a meal with wine/drinks [date night!]
•Q: How much is a bottle of wine? How about a pack of cigarettes?

A: Wine tends to be quite inexpensive since Brazil and neighbouring Argentina and Chile are good producers. Anywhere from $7 – 25 a bottle

Q: Do you have any tips for future expats when it comes to opening a bank account in Brasilia, Brazil?

A: Pack lots of patience! Have your CPF [tax number], have proof of local residency [any utility bill would do it!]; know your full address and have a landline phone number. Besides that, just bring a good reading book, be prepared to sit down and wait, with the patience you remembered to pack!

Q: How will you describe your experience with government paperwork such as applications for Visa and work permits? Why is that so?

A: We come in as a diplomatic family, therefore and fortunately, those steps are taken care of before our departure [from original country/post]

Q: Would you say that healthcare Brasilia, Brazil reliable? Any preferred clinics or advice for expats?

A: Extremely reliable. I’ve had the most diverse medical experiences after we joined the expat life/foreign service. Had a child in Brazil [Recife, 2010], have been hospitalized for seven days with some sort of infection… had allergic episodes… and was cared for. Our children, like any others at school age, have had their share, as well. You name it – from lice, flu, allergies, cuts, immunizations… and we have nothing to say but good things about the medical care. Obviously, we follow strict ‘home rules’, considering their ‘mama’ works with public health, at the first sign… I am on the ball!

Q: Did you secure a health insurance in your home or Brazil? What should be the essentials in the coverage for expats, in your opinion?

A: Yes, we did. ER visits, pediatric visits, dental coverage [basics] and minor medical interventions should be covered.

Q: What is the biggest challenge that you have faced as a new expat?

A: Always being accepted as the ‘new kid on the block’. Trying to prove that despite being a ‘foreigner’ or, in my case, for having lived away for so long, to be understood by others as being just like everyone else – with the same flaws, weaknesses, facing the same difficulties, and sharing the same dreams.

Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in Brasilia, Brazil?

A: Positive: the very warm, colourful, characteristic Brazilian soul. The negative? Unfortunately, the well-sung diversity creates gaps within the society, which leads to discrimination, and corruption.

Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Any particular recommendations for future expats?

A: Enjoy the local architecture, the surroundings. Other cities offer beautiful landscaping, the so-famous beaches, waterparks… enjoy the culture, the music, the colours… and the food!

Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?

A: Yes. Probably in a year or so, when we have our new international assignment. Who knows what the future has in store for us?

Q: What tips will you give to expats living in the country?

A: Try to understand the culture: Brazilians speak Portuguese, not Spanish [insert a smile here!]. Not many people speak English, so, don’t expect to find someone on the street that can give you directions to that fancy Peruvian restaurant! Brazilians are friendly, warm and very, very chatty! Try to be sympathetic, and listen to their [sometimes, endless!] stories!

Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about Brasilia, Brazil?

A: Obviously, our family nomadic photo and op-pieces blog, 3rd Culture Children also, Facebook groups, like Diplomatic Baggage in Brasilia and Conheca Brasilia.

 

The 2016 Olympics in Brazil, by the Lima Mirandas!

Greetings from Brasilia!

Well, the Olympic Games have come to Brazil… and our family has been very fortunate to have been part of these magnificent events.
Obviously, not the easiest task for our host country, but nevertheless, a pretty enjoyable experience.

How beautiful is the main host city, Rio de Janeiro? Here are a few shots I took from the “Cidade Maravilhosa”, while they were still getting ready to receive their guests:

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We do live in Brasilia, the capital of the country. We normally go to Rio for work (believe that?). Between games, social events, cheering… our children showing up on global social media channels (okay, I’m bias, but isn’t this 8-year-old girl the best representation of the sports fans??), our diplofamily made sure everyone would have great life memories from the Rio2016 Olympics.

Go Team USA. Go Team Brazil!

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Snapshots of Mother’s Day in Brazil

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#ExperimenteBrasilia – Miranda Family Sunset Lake Experience

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A long overdue return to my blogging tasks: Now, sharing a few experiences from our packed weekend in Brasilia. a rock concert, a farewell dinner, a family boat trip along the waters of the Capital’s famous Lago Paranoá.

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As a child, growing up in Brasilia, back in the 1970s, 1980s… the Lake Paranoá was a mysterious place, surrounded by endless possibilities.

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Now, as an adult, the opportunity of enjoying a boat ride, accompanied by my husband, our three children, seeing the joy on their faces when they got to go down on the life boat and row around the floating gazebo, was priceless.

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And I’m grateful for the opportunity to be part of a friend’s birthday celebration, witnessing the uniqueness of the Brasilia sky, and vouch first-hand for the local saying of “the sky in Brasilia is our sea“… Brasilienses [the so-called people from Brasilia] may not have their own beaches, they have an artificially-built lake, but they sure have one of the most beautiful skies this planet may offer!

A paradisiacal experience, the delight it is to navigate the gentle waters of the Paranoá lake aboard a private floating gazebo.

Thankful for the #ExperimenteBrasilia opportunity. Thankful for sharing this memory with my children and husband, who unlike me, did not grow up surrounded by the never-ending artificial waters of the Paranoá Lake. Thankful for enjoying the majestic views of the Brasilia skies, beside the love of my life… 🙂
More pictures yet to arrive!! Stay tuned for a soon-to-come blogpost update!

In the meantime, go ahead and follow us on Instagram… we just opened up the account to share images and stories from our Foreign Service Family! Lima.Miranda.Bsb

 

Rehoboth Beach photographers win at International Show

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Quick work trip to Bogota, Colombia

Full-time working mom. Juggling with career in Public Health, traveling throufhout the country for informational meetings or Project presentations.

Absolutely loving our assignment in Brazil as a foreign Service family: back to my hometown, witnessing my children develop their Portuguese/English interchangeable skills on a daily basis!

Traveling for fun and for work. The later, some 30 times since I started my current job… and still counting!

As an example, a quick trip to Colombia to share our HIV self-testing implementation project findings!

Sad, sad times for Brazil… The country tumbles… the unfortunate House of Cards…

Not much of a “talk-about-politics” person. In fact, not at all. Recent events have made me change the way things are perceived. Frustration and dispair have left a dark cloud over this country’s unique lanscape…my frustration has kept in silence, a wise choice in times like these. The social media covering the recent events has left people feeling sad, hopeless, frustrated.

Dark times ahead? Only time will tell. “My political party is my country”. Meanwhile, people go out claiming for a better nation.

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Then [2012]: bidding farewell to their ‘BFFs’! [Até logo, para os melhores amiguinhos!] : Now, in 2015 “Festa Junina” Mode!

After three long years, our family is back to the celebration of “Festa Junina”. Three years ago, when we left Recife, Pernambuco, our oldest kids bid farewell to their best friends, and embarked into the new adventure: La Paz, Bolivia.
Bolivia’s assignment is now over, and since mid-July 2014, we’re been living in Brasilia. The Fall Harvesting celebrations have reached the capital of Brazil, and once more, The Lima-Miranda Family will embrace their mixed roots, and enjoy the very first “Festa Caipira” from 2015, at their children’s international school.

Stay tuned for more updates on photos, which should describe how our family planned to display their best “Caipira Attire”!


Original Post [2012]

Last day of school. Bidding farewell to best friends… Hopefully, one day, they’ll be together again! ♥

Stepping out of Brasilia: A quick return to Recife, Pernambuco

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One of the advantages of being placed right in the middle of the country is the ability to [easily] travel around. another family trip, now, to a previous foreign service posting [2010-2012], the city of Recife, capital of the Northeastern state of Pernambuco.

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Garota de Ipanema: The Girl from Ipanema – the song, the inspiration, the couple…

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The bar and its entrance: [the claimed birthplace of this beautiful Bossa Nova song, where Tom and Vinicius used to spend hours watching the girls on their way down to the beach…]

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The song, by Vinicius de Moraes & Antônio Carlos (Tom) Jobim:

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The bar menu, obviously inspired by the song and all the beauty around it:

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The couple 🙂

 

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and the girls!!!!

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Snapshots of Temaiken Park, Argentina

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DSC_0193Although we’re currently posted in Brasilia, Brazil, I guess our family tends to be anywhere these days. Sharing here a few snapshots of a family trip to Argentina: this time, the Biopark Temaiken [Fundación Temaiken, Provincia de Buenos Aires].

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Sightseeing in Brasilia: Esplanada dos Ministérios

Well, it only took me pretty good 9 months after arriving in Brasilia, to finally come up with a quais-decent post. It does feel like I’ve reached the end of a long gestation. Work, kids, trips to Buenos Aires (Argentina), back to the USA, Rio, São Paulo, Curitiba (Paraná), Recife (Pernambuco, where we lived from 2010-2012, and the birthplace of our youngest child), Porto Alegre (Rio Grande do Sul) and the common lifestyle have taken much time away from blogging. Now, back on track, with the plan to do a much better job on “sharing” beautiful images. That said, here are the images of our current home, from our first “tour” as a family!


[From the Go Brazil site:]
A quintessential symbol of work by Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer in the creation of Brasília, the Esplanade of Ministries (Esplanada dos Ministérios) is situated on Eixo Monumental, one of the avenues forming the core shape of Costa’s design for Brazil’s capital, commonly compared to an airplane.Costa’s project for the creation of Brazil’s new capital is still a source of wonder. It beat 62 other entries in a contest launched by President Juscelino Kubitschek and was implemented by Novacap, the company created to build the city, as Plano Piloto.Costa said of his plan for the city, “Nasceu do gesto primário de quem assinala um lugar ou dele toma posse: dois eixos cruzando-se em ângulo reto, ou seja, o próprio sinal da cruz. (“It sprang from the primary gesture of one who marks or takes possession of a place: two axes which cross at a square angle, in other words, the sign of the cross itself.”)Eixo Monumental and Eixo Rodoviário form that essential cross shape. The city’s ample scale, exemplified by the Esplanade of Ministries, was intended to express an idea of dignity, Lucio Costa said in an interview available on Casa de Lucio Costa.Those generous dimensions also guided Brasília’s residential “super blocks” (super quadras) which the architect designed with wide green belts.Brasília, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is also listed by Brazil’s National Historic and Artistic Heritage Institute (IPHAN). Lucio Costa’s original report for Plano Piloto is available as part of the Institute’s description of the city’s heritage. The 16-kilometer long Esplanade has 17 buildings which house ministries and other federal administration organs, placed on opposite sides of the Eixo (pronounced AYE-shoo) and separated by a lawn.

At the start of the long stretch is the Metropolitan Cathedral, an architectural masterpiece which reopened after a three-year renovation.At the far end, the towers and the convex and concave structures which house the National Congress as well as Praça dos Três Poderes, or Three Power Square.The best view of the Esplanade is from the lookout point on Brasília’s 230-meter tall TV Tower. Inaugurated in 1967, the tower was designed by Lucio Costa and inspired in the Eiffel Tower. Other landmarks you can see from this vantage point at a height of 75 meters – which is visited by about 1,000 people a day – are the Mané Garrincha Stadium, the Nelson Piquet Autodrome and Lake Paranoá.

A bit of self-promotion… just because I feel like doing it…!

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Le Salar d’Uyuni en 20 photos originales

Oh, well… why not? Work has kept me a bit too busy these days, and once home, we’re greeted by the fully-energetic kids, who happen to be at their [insert a joyful screaming here!] last week of school vacation.

So, because of that, just felt like doing a bit of ‘self-promotion’ and decided to share this link with you all. Vanessa Huet, from Voyage Perou, compiled 20 original photos of the Salar de Uyuni, in Bolivia, our previous home. One of the photos display an interesting couple, supposedly balancing their weight on a not-less-interesting fruit [guess who?]! Things that one does when visiting the Salar!

PS: The text is fully in French, but the images are worth a thousand words, so… enjoy!

http://www.voyageperou.info/salar-uyuni-en-20-photos-originales/

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2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 34,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 13 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Living & working in Brazil as foreign service family: Our fifth month.

After being in La Paz, Bolivia for the past 2 years, we followed our hearts [and our assignment!] to Brasilia, capital of Brazil. Before I go any further, my blogsphere apologies for the hiatus – being a full-time mom of 3 children, one not yet at school age, who have decided to [re] join the wonderful PEPFAR team, working 40+ hours outside the house, life’s still good.

We’ve adjusted quite well, I’d say. Kids are pretty satisfied with the school; weekend have been crowned with social events, ranging from previously arranged and impromptu play dates, to barbecues at friends’ homes, to endless trips to the grocery store.

 

For the average ‘ trailing family’, we seem to be doing well. With all that said, I believe I can get back into blogging, updating family and friends on our whereabouts….

Work has me traveling quite a bit, which could be seen as exciting, but nevertheless, requiring excelling logistics skills, and a state-of-the-art household managing plan! 🙂 One of my work trips brought the whole family to Rio… and how? Well, October is Children’s Month in Brazil. And because of that, one of the airline companies was flying kids for free. Taking advantage of the Columbus Day holiday, we packed our bags, and went to the Cidade Maravilhosa. This post showcases a few images from our visit.

 

*. Parque Lage

“Parque Enrique Lage” is a public park in the city of Rio De Janeiro, located in the Jardim Botânico neighborhood at the foot of the Corcovado.

The atrium of the mansion, has a lovely café, enjoyed by families and tourists.

The land was formerly the residence of industrialist Enrique Lage and his wife. During the 1920s Lage had the mansion remodeled by Italian architect Mario Vodrel, with interior paintings by Salvador Payols Sabaté.

 

In the 1960s the land became a public park, with walking trails through subtropical forest. The Escola de Artes Visuais do Parque Lage (Visual Arts School of Parque Lage) and a café open to the public operate from the former mansion.

 

*. Meeting up with friends in Leblon…. nothing like taking a pic at a bus stop in Rio… so classy!!! 🙂

 

*. A quick stop at the Girl from Ipanema Bar… the so famous corner where Vinicius de Moraes and Tom Jobim complosed the long-loved poem to the eternal beach-tanned beauty…

 

*. …on our way to the beach!

 

*. Moving on…. Looking at the city from the shoulders of Christ the Redeemer – Nothing like enjoying the view from the “Cristo”!

 

*. And finally… The Ipanema Hippie Fair… got get there to understand it’s size, dimension and unique flavors & colors!

Wonders of life as a Foreign Service Family – Life at the New Post.

Greetings from Brasilia!

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After several weeks of ‘transitional homes’ we safely made it to our permanent housing assignment. And why is it important to mention it is a ‘permanent house’? Maybe for the curious ones, with friends cruising thru the joys of the Foreign Service life, there’ll be a long explanation out there waiting to be spelled out. 😮 For now, it’s enough saying we’re glad we don’t have to move to a difference residence. We’re comfortable and settled down. At least, as comfortable as possible – kids have enrolled into a Summer camp program, and we’re getting to know new families, learning the ropes for the city…

What and where to find our immediate needs for the house (forgot to mention that, although we like our ‘new place’, it’s pretty bare, hence the need to go out and buy not only groceries, but trash cans, cleaning products… You name it!).

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

Despite all the usual initial difficulties, inherent to the nature of the move, we believe we’ll have a nice time here. That’s the ultimate hope. We now have cable TV and internet – a great milestone! Kids have already made friends with some other children who would likely be attending the same school. We’re trying to build our own niche, despite the smell of fresh coat of paint that greets us every time we come back to the house… 🙂

I believe we’ll be happy here – at least we’ll try… Right now, wearing my most-hopeful-foreign service-spouse hat… The only one I was able to fit on our suitcase… Yeap, the same suitcase I’ve been living out of, for the past 8 weeks… But, who’s counting, right? 🙂

Now, let me get back to checking on my 3 little ones – just heard some clapping, so, I’m assuming the movie outside-and-popcorn event just ended – will go hug my kids with the most thankful smile to the Summer Camp supervisors and organizers: they enabled this very busy mom to enjoy some quiet time (and a coffee!), while getting back on the blogosphere horse!

Ate mais!

Wonders of life as a Foreign Service Family – Random Thoughts on Home Leave

Well, we’re back in Washington, DC – the last part of our ‘transitional’ Home Leave, surviving thru the perks of living out of our suitcases since May 19… but you know, not bad at all! 😮 No complaints on hauling our three children around, departing La Paz, Bolivia, heading to California for some family catch up… taking the kiddos to Disneyland and Legoland, surviving the long lines, the screaming, the cries for attention and for over-priced popcorn… picking up a few family members along the way, driving all of us to witness in loco the magnificent views offered by the Grand Canyon… and flying back to the East Coast… much has happened, and definitely, no time to spare… not even for blogging!

Need to do a better job trying to catch up with our lives… Haven’t had much free time, I must admit – the little ones keep me on my toes, and as any parent around here must know, Summer Break has all of us [parents] pulling our hair trying to find educational, recreational, interesting and fun activities for our lovies, during this time… it’s work, people… and we’ve been doing this for some 5 weeks already.. again… living out of suitcases, staying with family, long car rides… a few car sicknesses along the way… always fun! 😮

Now, it’s home stretch – a few days in the DC area, and we head out to our newest work and life adventure – Brasília, the capital of Brazil [yeap, the beautiful country that just put out the most unbelievable performance during the recent World Soccer Cup – don’t even get me started on that… as a Brazilian-born soccer-passionate soccer-mom-wife, I’m still recovering from the ‘bad dream’ many of us witnessed these past weeks…] Our family will be in Brasília for the next 3 years. Husband’s duty, as many wives/spouses here would relate and sympathize... 😮

Presently writing from a government-per-diem-acceptpleasant hotel room, packed with my noisy and restless adorable and very understanding little children, enjoying some quite time while I gather my blogging thoughts together [who am I kidding?? And why do we need to have both TVs on, and so loud??] But, all in all, I guess we’re ready for what’s in store for us… let’s wait and see! 😮

Classic pic, right? Gotta have your moment in the sun with Mr Mouse! A quick snapshot from our first stop during Home Leave 2014 - not-yet-tired parents at Disneyland!
Classic pic, right? Gotta have your moment in the sun with Mr Mouse! A quick snapshot from our first stop during Home Leave 2014 – not-yet-tired parents at Disneyland!

 

 

14 Days to Depart Post…

I believe we’re ready to begin saying goodbye to Bolivia – our home for the past two years – with a big THANK YOU! 😮

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Photography: Day Colors of the Desert in Uyuni, Bolivia.

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Intriguing Rock Formation… not a Plant, Though!

 

A few days back, I’ve shared images here of the sun setting along the desert in Uyuni, during our trip through the largest Salt Flats in the world- the “Salar de Uyuni”. Now, sharing some images from the desert under it’s daylight colors…

 


Inspirational post:

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View from the Salt Hotel Luna Salada, in Uyuni. Images are the result of my dear husband’s endless patience and search for natural beauty. Photos are unaltered.

Photography: [Big] Kids, Salt & Fun, where the sky and ground merge!

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Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat at 10,582 square kilometers. It is located in the Potosí and Oruro departments in southwest Bolivia, near the crest of the Andes and is at an elevation of 3,656 meters above mean sea level.

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The flats, located in Southern Bolivia near the country’s Tunupa volcano, and our recent family vacation destiny, make up the world’s largest salt desert.

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The Salar was formed as a result of transformations between several prehistoric lakes. It is covered by a few meters of salt crust, which has an extraordinary flatness.

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Photography: Train Cemetery in Uyuni, Bolivia.

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It’s said to be gateway for tourists visiting the world’s largest salt flats, the nearby Uyuni salt flat.

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Founded in 1890 as a trading post, the town has a population of 10,460 (2012). The town has an extensive street-market. It lies at the edge of an extensive plain at an elevation of 3,700 m (12,139 ft) above sea level, with more mountainous country to the east.

 

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The city also acts as a gateway for commerce and traffic crossing into and out of Bolivia from and to Chile. One of the main attraction, and in our case, for 2 visiting families, with 7 kids, ages ranging from 3 to 12 years old, is the Train Cemetery. 😮

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The so-called ‘train graveyard’ is located 3 km outside Uyuni and is connected to it by the old train tracks. The town served in the past as a distribution hub for the trains carrying minerals on their way to the Pacific Ocean ports.

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The train lines were built by British engineers who arrived near the end of the 19th century and formed a sizable community in Uyuni.

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The rail construction started in 1888 and ended in 1892. It was encouraged by the then Bolivian President Aniceto Arce, who believed Bolivia would flourish with a good transport system, but it was also constantly sabotaged by the local indigenous people who saw it as an intrusion into their lives. The trains were mostly used by the mining companies. In the 1940s, the mining industry collapsed, partly due to the mineral depletion. Many trains were abandoned thereby producing the train cemetery.

 

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