Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Creation Cantatón~

Lunch break on the way to Oruro... 
Last week we were able to take a short trip to Oruro and La Paz. We went with the purpose of sharing another "Cantaton" at three different churches, one in Oruro and two in La Paz. (A "Cantatón is a Singspiration, a gospel sing along. You will not find this word on Google translate. It was invented by  Mark Mattix, all rights reserved!) We knew that our friend, Mark Mattix, wanted to do this with us sometime in April, so we squeezed in this quick trip before my parents arrived from Oregon to visit us. Our theme this trip was "Creation and God the Creator ."I have to say it was my favorite tour, so far, as far as the song choices went. Loads of very fun songs to sing and the content of them really made you think. Mark also had selected verses for us to read out loud together, between songs, that had to  do with creation and the Creator. It was really great!!

Carol, Mark's wife who usually runs the power point and is a cheerful road mate, opted to not travel what would have been 50 hours of driving to La Paz and back from Camiri. I don't blame her one bit! She is a trooper to travel as much as she does. We missed having you along, Carol! Instead Mark brought a young man from Washington state, named Joseph Lawrence. Joseph arrived in Camiri to go to the Facultad Biblica at the end of March. He will be in Bolivia for about five months, studying Spanish and the Bible at the Facultad. He was a great addition, not only because he is just an all around great guy, but he also has a great bass voice and plays the violin really well. Our family has found a good new friend in Joseph!

We started the trip on Thursday around 11 a.m. We had packed a lunch, so we were able to just pull over and eat it! Tuna sandwiches, anyone?

Putting our cooler chest to good use!
We arrived in Oruro at around 4 p.m. We had just enough time to find a hotel for Rudi and me and the girls to stay in, before going the church where our first Cantaton was held. Our boys, along with Mark and Joseph, stayed at a gracious Bolivian couple's house. Oruro is A LOT cooler than Cochabamba. We were all thankful for the warm clothes we had packed!

Clara at our hotel in Oruro.

Emily and Paula in one of the common areas at the hotel.

Native Bolivian Costume. 

Packing up in the street!
We had a great sing in Oruro. The people at the church fed us dinner and were very hospitable. As we were leaving a friend that we actually know from our church in Cochabamba asked if we could have lunch with her the next day. She has a house in Oruro where she works all week and a house in Cochabamba where she goes on the weekends. Friday found us at her house for lunch, after we had done some serious clothes shopping at a huge outdoor clothes market that Oruro is famous for!
Side note: I don't mention much about our adoption on our blog, because everything is supposed to stay very confidential. At least that is how our lawyer has made us feel! However, it does look like we may get our Bolivian babies in the next month or so! I feel the "nesting" urge coming on and am buying up kids clothes like a mad woman!! The are all just soo cute!!
Lunch at a friend's house.
After a delicious lunch, it was on the road again to La Paz. On the three hour drive between the two cities we passed the factory where most (if not all) of the bricks for all the building in Bolivia comes from. It was in the middle of nowhere. Judging by the large pit where the sand/rock for building the bricks comes from, a LOT of bricks have come from this spot!
A large brick factory!
Rudi in front of the Incerpaz brick factory.

"Selfie" of me with my lover boy!

Clara and Paula enjoying a roadside break!
The "large pit" where the material for making bricks
comes from, is behind them!

Clancy, Joseph, and Rudi: "On the road again"!
The road to between Oruro and La Paz was the BEST (by far) road we have seen in Bolivia. We took pictures of it because it was so unbelievably good! After all, I have put enough of the bad roads that I should give a little credit to the one good one, don't you think?! I mean it had overpasses, two lanes each side, and everything. It could have been the I-5 at home, a well paved stretch of it; it was sooo nice!
Beautiful Hwy!!
Another amazing surprise was how wonderful the city of La Paz is. It is actually a breathtaking city. I had no idea how beautiful it would be. As we were driving in from El Alto, the city above on the altiplano, you could catch a glimpse of the drop off into La Paz below and it reminded me of a city built into a "small"(as in not as deep or grand) Grand Canyon. I don't know how else to describe it. It was truly amazing.

Paula started throwing up when we got to our hotel Friday night, so I opted to stay at the hotel with her while the others went to the first Cantaton in La Paz. This church also provided dinner for everyone, but Paula and I snacked on PBJ's and yogurt from our cooler! She didn't have much appetite anyway and was asleep by 7:30 p.m. She slept straight through till 7:30 the next morning. I am pretty sure that it was just the altitude effecting her, as she was fine the rest of our time there. Everyone came back from the sing enthused and Clara declared it to be the "best one ever"!

We spent most of Saturday walking around the city and taking the gondolas that are hung throughout the city. So much fun.

A La Paz Woman in Native Dress!
The main plaza is lovely with government buildings surrounding it! The only strange thing is the clock that is "backwards."  Can you tell what time it is? This was the President's idea of "turning back" the clock... Huh????
The Boohers in La Paz!

What time is it anyway? I think it was 9:15 a.m. for reals!

I would love to say we fed the birds, but I'm afraid our kids liked
chasing them more!

The President's personal guards! I think the one in front is over 13
years old, but I am not sure! Tan chiquito!

The group catching a trufi on the Prado!

Rudi, Paula, and I at the base of the Teleferico Amarillo!
Check out the cute jacket we got for Paula in Oruro. I told
you that everything was super cute!!

"No, Myles, you are not short enough to ride free!"

Serious business loading onto the moving gondola!
The group on one side, L to R:  Ruth, Myles, Tio Mark, Clara,
and Emily

The group on the other side, L to R:  Joe, Paula, Carla, Rudi,
and Clancy

Up we go!
A bird's eye view!

Of course the city has a nice big futball field for practices!
The weather was overcast, so some of our pictures didn't show how truly spectacular it was looking down from El Alto, where the yellow gondola line stops. The gondolas were put in mostly for people commuting from one part of the city to another. It is only 3b.s (approx 40 cents) to ride one way. They are not just a tourist attraction, but they are a really cool way to get around!!
On top of the world. The view from El Alto to below of
La Paz...

Another view of the city.

Some of the more modern road structures we have seen.
A more southern view of the city.
All together, we spent over an hour in the gondolas. We didn't take the red line, but did take the yellow and the green. It was a super fun way to spend the day and see the city. We had lunch at a food court in the mall. We knew we were truly in Bolivia, because our super nice restaurant didn't have napkins. For awhile there we thought we were back in the U.S.!!
Shopping mall built right up to one of the many
"small mountains". Amazing landscape in La Paz!
A "just because" picture. La Paz Style Wedding!
I love weddings in any culture! 
 There are some amazingly beautiful homes on the little hills in La Paz. In the picture below you can see the contrast of the huge beautiful homes on the hill and the "middle class" homes below!
After a nice nap in the hotel, we headed to our last Cantaton. It was within walking distance, so we hiked a couple blocks with our instruments to the church.

Walking to the church in La Paz.
We got there early, so there was plenty of time to practice and tune up the parts of the Cantaton that needed it! We had a great time singing with this church. Afterward, some of us walked to a chicken place for a late night dinner to fill in the cracks before bed!
Fine tuning!
And now for the real thing! I promise there was an audience!
Queen Paula on her guitar case bed!
 We headed for home early the next morning, because Rudi needed to play his violin at our church in Cochabamba that evening. Mark and Joseph stayed on a couple extra days. We had a good trip home and arrived without mishap! We passed three different accidents on our way home, all involving trucks with trailers. You really have to keep your eyes open as you travel, because you will come around a corner and boom there will be a trailer jackknifed right in front of you, without warning. It makes for tedious and slow driving. However, it was very worth it to venture out of our little valley in Coch! We were very blessed by the many new people we met and the way they reached out to us.
Altiplano farm!
 Our drive home was COLD. With no heater in the car, our feet were blocks of ice. Our motor is under us instead of being in front, so there is no generated heat on our feet from the motor! I felt a lot warmer when I saw this couple on their motorcycle. Brrr.....
And we thought we were cold!

Rudi with his "lap robe" trying to stay warm while
First trailer we passed that was on its side!
Of course, no blog that included the altiplano of Bolivia would be complete without at least one picture of a field of quinoa...
Another beautiful field of quinoa on the altiplano!
We had a great trip. Thank you, Mark for pushing us out to a new area of Bolivia, once again. We are always blessed every time we go.

 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: Colossians 1:16

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