Electric showers and a book fair

We got off to a slow start Friday. Eventually it came time to run the kids through their first showers of the trip. Electric showers.

Longtime readers of this blog may recall that relatively few homes in Bolivia have water heaters. Those who want warm or hot showers install an electric shower head, which uses a heating element to warm the water.

There are a few tricky things about these showers. The first is adjusting the temperature. You can tweak it a bit by increasing the water pressure, but usually you get either super-hot, warm, or cold. The second is that when you touch the handle to make an adjustment or turn off the water, you need to use a washcloth or you will get a shock.

I filmed the kids’ reactions to their first electric showers and edited them into the video I posted above.

For lunch we ate a soup Yoli prepared from the leftover chicken we ate the other day.

The book fair

Yoli had heard about a big event which would be happening while we were in Santa Cruz: the Feria Internacional del Libro.

We saw it on the news again at Don Hector’s house, and it looked like there might be lots to do. We decided to take the kids as a change of pace from all the family visits, and as something unique we hadn’t tried before. Plus, Yoli’s brother in law Boris was working with a vendor there, and we hadn’t had a chance to see him yet on this trip. The kids were less than enthused about the idea, but when we heard Noemí would be attending (she is a teacher) we thought it would be fun to meet up with her.

The kids (Jadzia) had been begging us to ride a bus instead of taking a taxi. it’s a more adventurous way to travel, but much tougher to do as a family of six than when we were a family of three. Anyway the feria was being held at the Fexpo center, which was along a bus route, so we gave it a go. All went well.

When we got to the Fexpo, we found a huge traffic jam. Buses were bringing students from all over Bolivia to the book fair. There must have been thousands. It was chaos. We waited outside a while for Noemi, but the kids were bored and restless, so eventually we pushed our way to the ticket booth, bought tickets and went in.

Inside the gates, the fair was spread across many buildings. We began walking through, among hordes of teens and tots. There was all manner of books to be seen, all in Spanish, of course.

There wasn’t much of interest for our kids in these first buildings, though. It was mostly booksellers, not really any activities. However we did make our way to the Sociedad Bíblica Boliviana booth, and found Boris. Yoli spent a while talking with him, but the kids just got more and more restless.

Yoli talks with Boris at the booth for the Sociedad Biblica Boliviana (Bolivian Bible Society) at the Feria Internacional del Libro de Santa Cruz.

Next we went to the children’s area. There were many colorful decorations, including a huge dragon. There was a main stage where two performers sat on thrones like those in Game of Thrones (except made of pencils instead of swords). They seemed to be a knight and a lady who were extolling the virtues of reading and knowledge.

A dragon holds a book which reads “nos gusta leer” (“we like to read”).

A play at the Feria Internacional del Libro de Santa Cruz.

Around the perimeter of the room were numerous storytelling booths. many of them employed puppets, including a huge Cthulhu thing with tentacles. Alas, all of this was in Spanish, and of minor interest to our kids.

However just at this time, Noemí showed up with Leya in tow. After being apprised of the situation, she offered to walk the kids back to Sara’s house to play for an hour or so — and get them pacamutos to eat. Yoli asked me if I’d be okay with that, and I didn’t hesitate. It was a badly needed respite from the kids and complaints, even if it would be short.

Together with Leya, Yoli and I walked around the fair in peace at a more leisurely pace, stopping to check out things of interest. And there were a lot!

After we finished, we walked home and also had pacamutos. They were very tasty.

Splitting up for a sleepover

The oldest cousins invited Jadzia and Ludi for a girls-only sleepover, which is apparently a tradition among them now. They all left together in a taxi from Sara’s house to go to Don Hector’s, where they were supposed to eat food and watch a movie.

We kept Josie and Joseph, and turned in for a nice, quiet evening watching Beauty and the Beast and eating leftover bread.

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