Sublime picnic

We had an all-day picnic today at Corina and Marco’s farm near Urubó. It’s in the same vicinity as the Biocentro Guembe that we visited two years ago, but much further out from civilization.

The farm was just beautiful with an amazing view. They have been working for two years to clear it of trees, etc. Now they have horses, cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, dogs, cats, a rhea (ostrich), and a monkey. They are growing potatoes, yucca, tomatoes, lemons, herbs, and probably other things I can’t remember. Not to mention the huge pavilion, an adobe oven, and a sand volleyball court.

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Climbing the cathedral

Friday morning we headed over to the Plaza 24 de Septiembre at the heart of Santa Cruz. The scenic cathedral at one corner of the plaza, the Basilica Menor de San Lorenzo, opened a mirador several years ago. In 2008, we tried to go up, but could not because we got there after 11:30 a.m. and it closed at noon.

We got a late start to our morning (as we usually do), and it was looking like this attempt would turn out to be a repeat of two years ago. But we got to the cathedral right on time and had no problems going up.

Maybe we are a little crazy, climbing twisty stairs with four children in tow, just for a nice view. But we like church towers, faros, and observation towers. That’s the way we roll.

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Blustery birthday

Thursday was Yoli’s birthday and her dad insisted we have a big meal of salteñas to celebrate. So we came over in the late morning to his place so Yoli could watch/learn/help him prepare the food.

A big wind had kicked up that lasted all day. Dust was flying all over the place. It was Ceti Alpha V come to life.

(How do you like that for a Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan reference?)

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Improved traffic lights

Among several changes we have noticed in Santa Cruz are the new traffic lights that you find at many major intersections. These are big bright signals with counters that show you how much time you have left until the cycle changes — so, if it’s red, how much time until it turns green, etc.

Even more amazing is that drivers obey them. Several taxi drivers have told us that they are a big improvement.

A tasty and festive day

Bolivia’s Independence Day is this Friday, and the official state celebration will be held this year in Santa Cruz, rather than Sucre or La Paz (the capital and government seat of the country, respectively).

There are lots of festivities leading up to the day. This morning we went to Yoli’s old school, Instituto Superior de Bellas Artes, which her niece Melany now attends.

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Home base

The past two days we’ve basically stayed here at El Jordán.

Yesterday was pretty much a rest-up day, and today Yoli was teaching a cross-stitch class in the afternoon.

We didn’t bring many (make that “any”) toys for the girls to play with. I like to pack as light as possible, but we still ended up bringing a good deal of luggage because Yoli brought many gifts and clothes to give away.

But we spend time playing around on the patio using an old basketball as a soccer ball. We have also been doing a lot of reading. Today we finished “Little House on the Prairie.” Jadzia had really been pushing me to read a lot chapters each day because she and Ludi wanted to begin the next book, “Farmer Boy.”

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More pics than you can shake a stick at

I was able to borrow a USB cable Saturday and worked on our trip photos later in the evening.

I had originally planned to update my previous blog entries with the photos that matched the stories. However it has taken too long to work on these photos (my Pismo PowerBook G3 is getting long in the tooth), so I’m just dumping them all into one big, new blog entry. I hope you enjoy.

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