Tuesday was “Eat For Free Day” for me. For breakfast, I ate again with Arnold and Greta Wry, who have basically told me that any time I want to eat breakfast with them is fine. Then for lunch, Yoli and I were supposed to eat with Glennie and Marilyn Wry, but Marilyn was sick, so someone else cooked. And for dinner, Yoli took me to see her friend Gina and her husband for dinner.
But much more happened throughout the day.
After breakfast, I had been asked to help Louise (the GMU secretary) with a computer problem she was having. The “computer guy” label seems to have been firmly attached to me, so anytime someone asks for help, I have to give them a disclaimer. I tell them that my expertise is with Macs (and it is) and that my PC diagnostic abilities aren’t near as good. But on this occasion, I was able to find the problem (a rogue PDF utility) and uninstall it for Louise.
Yoli arrived and brought a friend with her. It was a guy she knew from her time at the seminary. He was from Argentina, but had recently married a Bolivian girl. He was a funny guy, and encouraged us not to wait too long to get married. I heartily agree with him.
After that, Yoli and I went to the center of the city: the plaza. Our plan was to visit a museum inside of the city’s cathedral (I believe it’s the Templo de San Larenzo, but I might not have that right). On our way, we went to pick up a photo enlargement Yoli is planning to give to her sister. Since we were already at the photo place, I talked with a manager about PhotoCDs. He said he did put photos on CDs, by scanning the negatives or the photos (whichever I provided) and could give me the files in any format I desired. The cost would be 50 Bs per roll of 36 exposures. I intend to come back on Thursday and drop off two rolls of my own film, plus a stack of photos for Hogar Nacer and get them made into 2 CDs.
We visited several other photo places to see if anyone else did PhotoCDs, but couldn’t actually find any. We were told of one store that did, but we were unable to visit it this time. I think we’ll just go to the first place we visited, since Yoli likes that place and it has a good reputation.
We wanted to eat some cinnamon ice cream at a special place close to the plaza, but when we got there they had just started making it (by hand, the old-fashioned way). We decided to try and come back after visiting the museum.
The cathedral is really quite beautiful, very South American to my eyes. I’d seen it before (the last time we were in the plaza), and it’s prominently featured on most Santa Cruz postcards I’ve seen so far. Inside it was very nice. There were many people there praying, lighting candles, and being quiet.
The museum was off in one wing of the cathedral and had a very impressive array of gold and silver objects.. chalices, altar coverings, etc. For those art lovers out there, these objects were great examples of the mestizo barroco (baroque). Basically, it’s the European Baroque style with heavy Indian influences. Thus, what is usually depicted as a pelican in European Catholic art is depicted as a turkey-like bird in the mestizo barroco. The angels have very Indian-like faces. It was very interesting. Much of this stuff dated from the 1700s, and I believe we saw a few items from the 1500 and 1600s. It was a reminder that Latin American culture is older and deeper than North American culture (not including the American Indians, of course). The museum had other stuff as well, lots of different clothing, like one of the robes the Pope wore when he came to Santa Cruz. There were also many paintings. We didn’t have time to see everything, but it was interesting to look at. We also got some help understanding some of the symbols (like the eye of God within a triangle) from a lady who worked there and tried her best to speak in slow Spanish so I could understand.
But, as has happened before (especially during my experiences in Jerusalem), in my heart I was saddened by the materialism of it all. Maybe that’s not quite the right way to put it. But when I look at scripture and the way Jesus lived, and what we learn about how the church is supposed to function, it makes me wonder what better uses the church’s money could have been put to. God doesn’t care if you take communion in a gold cup or a paper cup. There’s more than just that, though. I think the Catholic church has developed a vast, elaborate system of rituals and rules that are completely unscriptural. The elaborate objects are an extension of the rituals. Well, I don’t want to get too carried away with this thought process, but my visit to the museum was a mixture of being impressed and intruiged by the different objects on display, and being somewhat repulsed by the ritualism and materialism behind them.
At work we accomplished a lot. Glennie has asked me several times to look for songs from a guy named Jerry Douglas. But I keep forgetting to do it. So at lunch today, he reminded me again, and I told him it’d be the first thing I did when I went to work. But it wasn’t, because I forgot again. As we were getting ready to finish up, Yoli reminded me of what I’d said, so I quickly went to work seeing what I could find. I used LimeWire (a Gnutella client) to find a song, and I’ll download it today for him. Glennie says he wants to demonstrate for his students some “real” acoustic guitar work. I guess I’ll hear for myself what he means when I download a song.
Dinner with Gina and her husband was pretty fun. The meal was very good, though the meat was a bit tough (or as her husband said, it was cooked in the “Bolivian way”). Gina is a white North American, and her husband is Bolivian. It was interesting to see their kids and how they all relate to each other. English is the primary language at home, which surprised me, since they are living in Bolivia. But Yoli reminded me later that the kids had been homeschooled by their mother, and her primary language is English. They also go to school at the Christian Learning Center, which is a school run by a lot of people connected to GMU. Classes there are in English, as well. We ended up helping the family fix a few simple things on their computer (wow, twice in one day).
It had begun raining while we were at Gina’s, but thankfully it let up when it was time for us to leave. But after got off the bus and began making our way back toward Paragua Ave., it began raining again. So we both waited under cover for Yoli’s bus (#27) to come, and then I waited for the rain to die down a little more.
I forgot to mention that Tuesday morning around 5 am, there had been a HUGE storm. It really cooled things off when I woke up, but the storm blew away, and the sun heated everything back up like yesterday. We’ll see if Wednesday is any cooler.
Oh yeah, I did laundry today, as well. This is my second time doing it… My clothes last about a week or so, and then I need to do two loads (colored and white).