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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!

Husband and I decided to have a joint June-Birthday-Celebration… back to the place we got married, some 14 years ago… lots to #celebrate! #travelwithkids Watching the #sunrise from way up high… Riding in a hot air balloon! Thanks to the awesome flying crew from Rainbow Ryders, we had the safest experience… followed by some well-deserved #champagne drink for the grand finale! #outdoors #hotairballoon #adventure #upintheair #wonderful_places #landofenchantment #travel #rainbowryders #traveler #bucketlist #NewMexico #birthday #loveneverfails #familytravel #traveltips #albuquerquesunrise #ABQ #viajenocel #ballooning #flying @awesomeplaces2k17 #atalantaworld @umaviagem @ig_color #travelawesome #landscape @travel__blog @viagemeturismo #blogmochilando #MissaoVT

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Interesting coincidences traveling brings us! My father's first job, at the age of 15, was as an apprentice telegrapher, while leaving at the Brazilian countryside, in Ceara. . . During our morning's visit to the Las Cruces Railroad Museum, our kids got to learn about the challenges and excitement faced by men like their grandad'. Also, the museum is located by the corner of Miranda and Las Cruces… life has crazy ways to surprise us all! #museum #railroad #LasCruces #travelwithkids #welltravelled #telegraph #trainstation #NewMexico #Mesilla #tripadvisor #traveltips #multicultural #travel #vacation #Southwest #oldtown . #memories #photography #history #roadtrip #typewriter #santaferailroad #oldwest #landofenchantment

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Exploring the #SonomaDesert. Last night, returning from watching the fireworks in Morenci, AZ, our kids spotted this #venomous beauty, which was promptly collected by our guesthouse hosts. #giantcentipede A bit of research about the local #environment #biology and natural #wildlife revealed: Scientific Name: Scolopendra heros Giant Red-headed Centipede Giant Arizona Desert Centipede, Giant Black-headed Centipede Scolopendra heros arizonensis Terrestrial invertebrates that live under stones and wood, in crevices, and in litter and soil. They will burrow some, staying underground on warm days and emerging in cloudy weather. They are carnivorous and feed on insects, lizards, frogs, and rodents in the wild. #Arizona #Summer #travel #desert #ecology #photography #outdoors #geekmom #biologist #roadtrip #dangerousanimals #Southwest #traveler #travelwithkids #nature #getoutside

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National Radio Astronomy Observatory. ✅ Car stop here suggested by the husband (who, as you will see here, apparently can't take a selfie to save his life! 😍) That suggestion pleased the #geek wife and mother, as well as our '3 aspiring explorers' and the #scientist in-the-making 😃 #NewMexico ✅The Very Large Array is the most versatile, widely-used radio telescope in the world. It can map large-scale structure of gas and molecular clouds and pinpoint ejections of plasma from supermassive #blackhole. ✅ It is the world’s first color camera for #radio #astronomy, thanks to its new suite of receivers and a #supercomputer than can process wide fields of spectral data simultaneously. The VLA is also a high-precision #spacecraft tracker that #NASA and ESA have used to keep tabs on robotic spacecrafts exploring the #SolarSystem. ✅ Each of the VLA’s 28 telescopes (including the one that is a spare) is an 82-foot dish with 8 receivers tucked inside. ✅ The dish moves on an altitude-azimuth mount, what you’ve probably seen as a classic tripod mount: it tilts up and down and spins around. #telescope #verylargearray #VLA #NRAO #desert #science #roadtrip #travel #travelwithkids #Southwest #Vacation #budgettravel #traveltips @theinvisibleuniverse #signs #vlba #radioastronomy #discovery #lpfanphoto @travel__blog #toptotravel #moodygram

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America by Air has inspired me to pay more attention while flying on a #windowseat Ha! What are those circles down there? Somewhere between #NewMexico and #Texas The circles are probably caused, according to our flying crew, by irrigation systems. In the center of the circle there is a well and a long pipe suspended by a structure of steel supports on wheels that pivots from the well and moves in a circle around the well, irrigating the ground it reaches. In other words, a large sprinkler system. This is the common way to irrigate out west and other parts of the country, in fairly arid areas where farming would not thrive without it. It's a system that's been used for years. #irrigation #science #technology #flying #travel #serialtraveler #aerialphotography #photography #circles #clouds #frequentflyer #sky #outwest #geometry #travelblogger #photogallery @ecocompanion

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Twenty reasons for adding Bolivia to your expat visiting list – and maybe sticking around for a while!

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From the ExpatsBlog team of editors: “After our hugely successful Expat Blog Awards 2012 last year, we thought we’d take a different spin on this year’s awards! Realising that last year’s scenario would be unfair to recently-joined newer bloggers, we’ve decided to combine the Expat Blog Awards 2013 with a big expat writing contest!
                                           

Twenty Reasons for Adding Bolivia to Your Expat Visiting List !

Expat Blog Awards 2013 Contest Entry That said, here’s my pitch… If this blogpost here makes you a bit curious… hop over to ExpatBlogs and check out a list especially prepared for this year’s writing contest: Suggestions on why expats should add Bolivia to their visiting list… they’ll be so in love that may want to stick around for a while! And remember: your great comment will help this blog go for Gold… two years in a row… why not? 😮

Bolivia is a culturally diverse, geographically unique and strange in so many other ways that it’s hard to find another place/country quite like it. And this statement is coming from a ‘serial expat’, a traveling mother of third-culture children, a trailing spouse married into the US Foreign Service, and a Latina-born woman.

Hummm… need more examples of the colors and textures? Take a look:

The worldly recognized, the Andean rugs…

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Also, here one may enjoy the  typical “salteñas“, recipes borrowed long ago from neighboring Argentina

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Craving for more? Let’s go on a quick trip towards this unique place on earth!

What you may find in Bolivia? Take a look at these images, and don’t forget: go visit the Expat Blogs and share your wonderful comment about this travel blog! [Thank you!!!]

dressed in patterns

dressed in patterns

Madre Luna, from the Moon Valley

What looks like a carpet of stalagmites canvassing a desert, Valle de la Luna, or “Valley of the Moon” is what is left of a mountain composed of clay and sandstone that has been battered by strong winds and time.

Here are more images of this unique country… looking for a bit more explanation? Check the full text prepared for this year’s contest [shameless, right? :o]

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death road bikers...

Mountain biking trip

Mountain biking trip

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Cotapata Park, Bolivia

Cotapata Park, Bolivia

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bolivian unusual

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Aguayo

Aguayo

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Laguna Verde [‘Green Lagoon’]

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Singani in Tarija

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Pre-Inca Ruins

Pre-Inca Ruins

The Table of Sacrifices

The Table of Sacrifices

Pre-Inca Ruins

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Immerse into the local culture and traditions

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Español: Alumnos del Colegio Padre Luis Gallar...

[Photo credit: Wikipedia.com]

 

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The famous “trufi”!

 

Connect with the past, experience the present and look into the future… Bolivia offers it all! ♥

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Twenty Reasons for Adding Bolivia to Your Expat Visiting List !

 

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Understanding the Bolivian Traditions: ‘Día de Todos los Santos’.

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All text here [in bold], including the explanations, traditions, etc, may be found on the website: “Bolivia Bella”[http://www.boliviabella.com/bolivia-dia-de-los-muertos-day-of-the-dead-bolivian-holidays.html], except any ‘notes’ added by myself and/or inserted as comments. Thank you very much, Bolivia Bella! 😮

Dia de los Muertos (or Dia de los Difuntos) means Day of the Dead, which in the Catholic faith is also known as All Souls Day. In Bolivia it takes place on November 2 after the celebration of Todos Santos (All Saints Day) on November 1st.

[Note: During the first week of November, we were fortunate enough to partake at a ‘Todos Santos’ ceremony at work, with a throughly explanation, even enjoying a nice meal [lentils & meat] at the end of the presentation!]

Prior to this day, both the public and the city governments begin preparing the cemeteries for this holiday. Usually the city governments begin cleaning and fumigating the cemeteries while individuals and families hire bricklayers and painters to repair and paint individual tombs and family niches.

On Dia de los Muertos indigenous customs mix with Christian (Catholic) religious beliefs. Families visit the tombs of their dead with a feast, which they prepare the night before. They spread out the feast in the form of a picnic, setting places for their dead relative at the “table” as they wait for the souls of the dead to “arrive”. If the dead person is a child, a white tablecloth is used. Black or dark cloth is used if the dead is an adult. The table is also adorned with candles and photos of the dead. Some believe the dead return to Earth to see if they are still being remembered by their families and friends.

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Often families hire bands or take other forms of music with them. They also pay children to recite prays at the tombs. Many believe God takes pity on the prayers of children or the poor, more than on the prayers of those who are not in need. Families sometimes also sing or hire someone to sing.

Many people don’t take the feast to the cemetery. Instead, they spread out a feast at home and guests who visit are offered all the favorite foods of the dead.

Many believe death is not separated from life. So they await the dead to show themselves. It is said the dead arrive at noon, and depart at the same time the next day so at noon on the next day, another great feast is held because the dead need a lot of energy to return to their world. Anything out of the ordinary that takes place during the feast is taken as a sign that the dead have arrived (even the landing of a fly on food can be thus interpreted).

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The dead are always present but on this particular day, they either come down from heaven to join their families, or rise to heaven. November is springtime and also planting season on Bolivia. The rainy season begins and gardens and trees begin to bloom.

In Western Bolivia, according to Andean indigenous beliefs, the “table” is usually set in three levels: the Alaxpacha (heaven), the Ak’apacha (earth), and the Mank’apacha (hell). The preferred foods of the dead are taken into account when preparing this feast and the foods are set out in a certain order respecting the ecological layers in which they are produced (sky, earth, underground) as indicated above.

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Many of the Andean cultures belief in the importance of reciprocity. The living feed the dead, whose bones are drying under the November sun, and the dead intervene with the earth to ensure she provides rains, which begin in mid-November, and eventual harvests are abundant.

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Before the arrival of the Spanish, the dead (who at the time were embalmed) were taken out of their tombs. Friends and family members would dance with them, walk them around the cemetery, eat a meal with them and then put them back in their tombs. When the Spanish arrived they forbade this ritual. So today, a family member often dresses up to look like a dead family member and appears at the family reunion at the grave. He or she takes part in the feast that has been prepared and asks how the family has been over the past year. Sometimes the “dead” person gives advice to the children.

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When the day ends, the children take palm fronds and chase the person in the costume out of the cemetery just to be sure the soul of the real dead person doesn’t give in to the temptation of inhabiting their body in order to remain among the living.

Another important ritual is the baking of tantawawas which are sweet breads made into various different shapes. Some of the breads are shaped into babies (wawas) and faces are either decorated onto the breads or little clay heads and faces are baked into the bread. In addition, other breads are shaped like ladders (so the souls of the dead can climb up to heaven), stars, crosses, or angels with wings to help children and babies to rise to heaven.

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Posted by on November 20, 2013 in ART, foreign service

 

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