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

#ExperimenteBrasilia – Miranda Family Sunset Lake Experience

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boat d

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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boat a

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



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

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:



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: Sunset Over the Desert in Uyuni, Bolivia.



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.

Sunset as it is, in La Paz, Bolivia

Sunset in La Paz… couldn’t be any more peaceful in the city…


No filters – No curves – No.thing

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Sunset through the Mountains around Nuestra Señora de La Paz, Bolívia.

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Sunset… as it is! Beautiful, thanks to Awoodstock!

What we see looking though our TV room window…

We made it. We’ve been in La Paz for exactly 7 days, and here is a bit of what we’ve been able to see… But before we go into the image gallery, just found out that Jill is hosting another Foreign Service Blog Round Up (here we go, people unfamiliar with the ‘acronym world’- it became FS BRU!) – and, a fellow blogger, Ailsa, from “Where’s my Backpack?“, came up with a great travel theme: “sunset”!

Anyway, this week’s theme is coincidently: ‘your current post’, and 5 pros and cons of it… so, for somebody who’s got less than 2 weeks at post, take this list with a grain of salt… 😮 I’m sure things will change with time… for better… or for worse… let’s wait and see! For now, enjoying life in ‘Breathless La Paz‘ (you’ll soon find out why!). So, just taking advantage of a blog post written a couple days ago, to share my very own list of “pros and cons” or our newest post:

Nuestra Señora de La Paz is the administrative capital of Bolivia. It is located at an elevation of 3,660 meters above sea level, making it the world’s highest capital city. The city sits in a “bowl” surrounded by the high mountains of the altiplano. As it grows, La Paz climbs the hills, resulting in varying elevations from 3,000 meters to 4,100 meters. Overlooking the city is towering triple-peaked Illimani, which is always snow-covered and can be seen from several spots of the city, including from the neighbor city, El Alto. La Paz is an important cultural center of Bolivia, and we can’t wait to start discovering its culture, learning about its history, the people, the traditions…. and living surrounded by unique beauty!

The city hosts several cathedrals belonging to the colonial times, such as the San Francisco Cathedral and the Metropolitan Cathedral, this last one located on Murillo Square, which is also home of the political and administrative power of the country. Hundreds of different museums can be found across the city, the most notable ones on Jaén Street, which street design has been preserved from the Spanish days and is home of 10 different museums… We haven’t had a chance (yet!) to really go through the main attractions, but, ‘high altitude permitting’ (!!), we’ll begin… very soon!

PROS of our current ‘setting’:

  • The beautiful views surrounding our house, the mountains, the unique geography throughout the city of Nuestra Señora de La Paz, our #1 bid… I seem to never get tired of looking at these mountains…
  • The School. We were finally able to be at a post where we enrolled our kids (almost 7 & 4,5 yrs old) at an American School [in Mozambique, our son went to a Canadian Montessori Academy, and in Brazil, the oldest ones went to a private local school – for now, let’s just leave any discussions behind us… let’s say we were lucky to have different options for our children!]. Regarding their current school, we’re quite pleased with what we’ve seen, so far… Baby girl is still too young for school days, so, for the time being, she’s staying at home with….
  • … a great NANNY! Close friends (from our time in Mozambique) who were living in La Paz, hooked us up with their nanny/maid pair, right before they had to depart to their next posting – so, we had both ladies waiting for us at the house the day we arrived at our new home…
  • Our ‘sponsors’ have been in country for over a decade. They’re pretty ‘plugged in’, have a lot of insight info to share, tips, recommendations… they’ve got kids at similar ages to ours, and… are pretty involved with tourism, extreme sports, mountain biking, hiking… That said, we’ve already built a good ‘network’ during our few days in country…
  • The food! I’m simply loving it! Very tasty, so far, very safe to our ‘foreign stomaches’…  Our maid is a trained cook, and tries to ‘surprise’ us with a different recipe each day. Groceries seem to be way more affordable than back in Recife (Brazil) or DC/Va, for that matter. That said, going grocery shopping has become an entertaining task for this still-stay-home-mom!

Now, the, ‘not-so-positive’ remarks:

  • ‘mate’ (tea) does help with the high altitude effects… A lot, actually! 😮

    The ALTITUDE. Coming from our 4 weeks of home leave in the US, and before that, a great couple of years posted in Recife, Brazil, pretty much across the street from the ocean, the effects of the high altitude resulted in a shock to my body …

  • The HIGH ALTITUDE. I DEFINITELY WAS NOT MYSELF for the first 36 hours in country. Had the husband call the med unit at the embassy, and thought: “has somebody ever asked for curtailing after less than 48 hours at post?“. Became best friends with the oxygen tank. It made it possible, so, i’m very grateful to whoever came up with the idea of portable/personal oxygen tanks/cylinders. My deepest appreciation to you, Mr Inventor, whoever you are….

    One of my newest ‘best friends’ here in in La Paz!
  • The VERY HIGH ALTITUDE. Besides the oxygen, I learned about keeping your body filled with fluids… Any kind, just avoiding the obvious options of alcohol, sodas, coffee… What??! Can’t I drink coffee?! I’m born in Brazil, to a Portuguese mom, and we’ve been drinking coffee since I was in grammar school! [I know it’s sounds horrible, but, hey, blame the Portuguese culture for that!] 😮 That said, imagine somebody, already dizzy, with a killer headache for literally almost 2 full days, lacking her daily dose of caffeine… Simply, not fair… But I survived… and now, guess what? I’m back into drinking my favorite beverage… And it’s all good…
  • The COLD WEATHER. It’s pretty cold over here, no central heating system, so we’re managing with several portable space heaters (thanks GSO!), but I’m sure we’ll adjust. Right now we’re leaving out of our suitcases, waiting for our stuff to come from Brazil (hasn’t left yet!) and from the US (part of the HHE/UAB coming from the east coast). Despite the cold, it’s quite easy to get a real SUN BURN if you’re just outside, trying to warm your bones up… sunscreen is a must! As they say here, “you’re closer to the sun, so, gotta respect that!”.
  • And lastly, it’d be great once we have a working cable TV… no shows for the kids, yet. No cartoons… but it’s giving us a chance to talk more (at least, that’s what we’re doing to forget about the lack of a TV). It’s been good to talk with the kids, and inquire about their first impressions of this new life. Talking’s been good. Unless, they get on our nerves, and guess what? Then it’s time for bed, school days are back, and the school bus doesn’t wait for long in the morning!

After the adjustment to the weather and the high altitude, it’s possible to enjoy the beauty that surrounds us…

Here, ‘peeking’ into our new life… and this is just the beginning!

A view of the American School, La Paz

Photography: sunset over church in Juazeiro do Norte, Ceara, Brazil

celebrating the 2000th Christian Year Jubilee

“The World That We Live In” has called: places we’ve discovered…

Life’s been busy – kids are back in school, which helps a lot, but also requires new planning, on a daily basis. Back to work. Already tired, believe it or not! In order to temporarily stop the madness, found Brooke‘s  (The World That We Live In) request for the State Dept Blog RoundUp. Theme:  “Favorite Places” – and in Brooke’s words: places you have discovered on your travels that you have loved or that have kept you sane in some way or another.

My favorite places? I hold Southern Africa in a very special place, really close to my heart, for several reasons: our first overseas experience as a family, the first encounter with a reality that I never assumed existed, in good and not so good ways; and my first experience as a single full-time working parent… All in all, great moments, which I’m sharing now:

We moved from Washington, DC to Maputo, Mozambique in October 2006, for a 2-yr hard-to-fill assignment. Our only child then, had just turned 1. Little did we know, I’d end up staying until Oct 2009 with our two children, honoring a work commitment – while husband had to return to DC – but this is probably a too long of a story, and I’ll leave it to another opportunity…

We were very fortunate to meet many different and attractive personalties, each one with an unique life story, with whom we share work experiences, concerns, happy moments. We did travel quite a bit throughout the country: for work and leisure. Visited all the ten provinces, bringing back home material mementos, as well as pictures we could have taken only with our hearts.

Catembe, Maputo

During our time in Southern Africa we also visited the neighboring Swaziland, a couple of times. Calming, relaxing, intriguing country. We got to attend the internationally famous Reed Dance, and were quite moved by it.

I couldn’t forget to mention another neighboring country, South Africa, birth place of our middle child, who’s now 3,5. Between safaris at Kruger Park, visits to the wine country and the cosmopolitan Cape Town, caravan trips with friends to Richard’s Bay, visits to avocado farms (and also med-evac flights!), South Africa was a sure choice for a delightful getaway…

A view of the tip of the continent
Kruger Park

Some people say that the sunset over African waters is almost like a poem… it might very well be!

But the best part of traveling and visiting places, is getting to know people, making true friends. I’m very grateful to the ones we met during our time in Africa, and the many more who’ll come along…



Friends are, in fact, the most special gift one could bring from any new place… Khanimambo!

Watching the sunset from the top of the Duna do Por-do-Sol

One of the few places in the world where the sand dune has its colors changed from beige to golden yellow and gradually to pink, in an emotional spectacle to the visitors.

Before this trip, the last time I’d enjoyed the sun set from the top of the Dune was in June 2001. Without knowing, I was sharing the moment with the one who would become my partner for life. Ten years later, the two of us went back to rescue that sunset we left behind. We succeeded… 😮

Sunset sequence at the Pedra Furada

This is one of the best known ‘postal cards’ of Ceara, Brazil. Jericoacoara is a beach located 300 km from Fortaleza, state of Ceara, in the municipality of Gijoca (Jijoca of Jericoacoara) – Until 1985 it was a simple fishermen village, without electricity, roads, telephone or television, lost in between immense white dunes and completely isolated from the rest of the world, until the tourism discovered it and year ’round, explorers come from all parts of the globe to witness this unique event – the sun setting through the rock’s opening. My husband and I tried to capture it:

Enjoying the last moments before sunset…

…and saying ‘Goodbye’to the Pedra Furada.

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