Saturday, February 28, 2015

CARNAVAL (a picture explosion)

 Carnaval is not just a one day or one week thing. It lasts for a month with different little holidays and celebrations and even burnt offerings during that time. There are two days off work for Carnaval that errupt into a mass water fight. The missionaries stayed inside those two days except when they went to their pension to eat or to a ward sponsered activity. I think in MANY cases they were happy to be inside. They had had enough of water balloons, and spuma during the preceeding weeks. We traveled to a youth conference to speak and then drove the streets a little to see what was up. This is what we found. . . the photos are not the best as they were taken in a moving car!
During the preceding weeks every street corner has a booth set up. One must be
Spuma - spray foam - is sold
everywhere. This photo is from
a grocery store:)

and . . . then it begins. Young men roam the streets - 

everyone gets excited and involved . . .

Open bed trucks filled with 'youth', and extra water drive up and down the streets

Why use a squirt gun when you can use a refillable bucket?

Just a few of those wandering the streets . . . prepared for fun

The city fountains provide free water

Everyone gets involved

No one is safe

An expert water balloon tosser.

 The younger kids do not roam the streets, but they can be found in every neighborhood sitting right at their front door waiting for a car to drive by. Or, in some cases, Mom or Dad drive them in safety of family car with the squirt gun perched on the open window and a huge smile across their face. 

There are several CARNAVAL parades, held on different Saturdays The largest is held in ORURO, a city several hours from here. Cochabamba held a parade last Saturday. It started in the morning around 9 or 10 and went well past dark. The restaurant owner we spoke to said it would go till midnight. We heard bands and saw fireworks from our home till late that night. Bolivians do love a party! The paper said our parade had 20,000 people 'dancers' IN the parade. I have no idea how many watched it but it was huge, long and crowded. We watched for about 2 hours. We went too early to see the native dancers and the native costumes. We saw the military groups. Next year we will find the native dancers.

and yes the squirt guns and spuma cans continued

Add caption
most people are good sports about the constant barrage...

I love the native costumes

A cholita walking the route selling food.

This was from a MEXICAN 'float' and they threw out tortilla chips! yes I was happy!

20,000 people IN the parade. I believe that was a correct estimate. I love Bolivia and her culture and people.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


 We were in Tupiza this weekend for the reorganization of a branch. I planned on going out with the sisters for a while to teach while President was busy with interviews.  I decided to go out early to wait for the sister missionaries in the front of the little hotel where we were staying (the only hotel in town). As I walked out the front door I saw the streets lined with families, and the children carrying various massive squirt guns or cans of foam spray. I asked what was going on and learned it was a PRE CARNIVAL parade. I have a lot to learn about carnival. It seems to be a holiday with Tio (the god the miners worship, also know as the god of the underworld, or the devil etc), Pacamama (an Incan goddess, mother earth) and Christianity combined.  I have seen dried llama fetuses and displays of little icons to compile and burn for the local traditions but I really do not know how it all fits together yet. 

Luckily the missionary sisters were late. This is what I saw as I waited. This holiday involves squirt guns, cans of foam spray, parades, parties, water balloons and fun. The actual holiday is a week from today, next Monday and Tuesday. It looks like the fun of the holiday spills over and takes up a week. During Monday and Tuesday our missionaries will remain inside as we have been instructed by our area seventy. Evidently, besides the fun, there is a lot of drinking, and the water balloons are often frozen! Gringos and missionaries would be targets.

This little guy was so anxious for the parade to come, he had to practice squirting anything he could find.

Every 'band' played the same tune . . . over and over and over and over.

Such little gentlemen

The mamas followed closely behind or with their little ones, ready to help if needed

I know this little angel from Tupiza. She stopped when she saw me, and posed . . . YES! This is a smile!

In a Bolivian parade you can just sit down and rest. This older group needed a rest so the parade stopped for a few minutes. I am not sure about the 'face makeup'.

That meant the younger ones got a rest too. 

 The cholita venders sell ice cream during the break and then the parade starts again!

Sorry the audio does not work . . . you will have to imagine! (and I will try to figure it out)

The first part of the parade ended (the parade happened in segments lasting about 2 hours total). The sisters arrived to get me and off we went to teach families about Christ.

The next night we were in Sucre and getting ready for bed when I heard a marching band playing starting at 10:30 at night. I believe they were marching in the plaza close to our hotel. Fireworks were interspersed with the music. I think this week of CARNAVAL could be FUN.