Tuesday, June 30, 2015

P Day, La Cancha, and Big Feet

[June 29, 2015] Monday

President Jensen and Elder Chalmers took me to their preferred peluquería for their every other week haircut, so I could decide if it worked for me. It looked great, and I trust their judgement (having very little experience here), so I got a nice trim. Quite a bit shorter than I have been used to, but Molly says it looks fine. Since she has been my barber for nearly 36 years, I suppose it will do. And it only cost $5!

Afterwards, we went to La Cancha again, to replace my router (which I can't seem to make work), and get a USB3 cable for my USB drive (I thought I had put one in my bags, but haven't been able to find it...)

La Cancha is about 5 km (a little more than 3 miles) away. We've been told that some missionaries have walked there, and since we walk to the grocery store, various other stores, etc., I figured I'd like to compare distances to something our children will be familiar with.

Since I've always been a fan of maps, I figured I'd give you some perspective on distances here around the Temple via Google maps. Here are two maps - one of the area around our American Fork ex-home, and one around the Temple here. Both our old home, and the Temple are in the upper right corner of the maps:

American Fork at 100 m scale from Google maps.
Our old home is in the upper right hand corner,
100 North and 100 East are at the lower left.

Cochabamba Temple area at 100 m scale. 
Temple is at the blue dot in the upper right hand corner.
Av. America is at the bottom.

Now, for perspective, here's a map showing La Cancha. It is at the very bottom. It is not really well defined as far as boundaries, but the ellipse gives you an idea. This map is at a 500 m scale:

La Cancha. About 4.7 km, or 3 miles.
Roughly equal to the distance to Wal-Mart, on foot, from our old AF Home.

So, off to La Cancha.

This time we took the #3 Bus line - quite an adventure. There are a number of different classes of buses. There are what we called "Micros" when I was here before - a bus much like the small sized school buses you might see in the United States. I'll get a picture eventually, but they are plastered with all kinds of information. We haven't used them, yet, so I'll see what we learn eventually.

Then there are the "Trufis". They are are basically minivans, but a bit on the smaller size. They go all over the place, have a fixed route (I think), but you flag them down like a taxi. Someone said that they heard the record was 20 people in one, but the ones I've seen, fully stuffed, have maybe 10. If you get in one when it's empty, and end up in the way back, everyone has to get out to let you out when you get to your stop. To get the driver to stop, you have to yell something like, "A la esquina bajo", or some such ("I get down at the corner".) From the looks of them, you wouldn't want to take one if you had any bags of groceries.

The type of bus we took was smaller than the Micros, but larger than the Trufis. We squeezed about 20 in, seated, with room for another half-dozen standing without being too claustrophobic. These buses have fixed routes as well, and come on a pretty regular schedule.

The #3 route goes right by the Temple, across Avenida America close to where the IC Norte grocery store is, crosses the Rio Rocha (which actually had water in it today) / Av. Uyuni, and then proceeds down Av. Lanza to La Cancha. It's route goes down a very narrow, one way street (Av. Lanza), that was completely packed. It probably took us 30 minutes to go the three miles, with most of that in the last mile waiting for the bumper to bumper traffic to move. We probably should have gotten off the bus and walked that last mile or so. Instead, we went all the way to Av. Honduras before exiting, to take our chances in the narrow streets and passages from there.

La Cancha is pretty organized, while seeming chaotic at the same time. Each type of product is concentrated in a specific section. Here's the "tourist" section (aka Artisan products):

One section of La Cancha - Artisan music products here.
That's Sister Runquist in the bottom left corner

One vendor in La Cancha. Touristy stuff here, too.

As we were driving into La Cancha, I tried to get a picture of a meat vendor. It isn't very good, but you can see the buckets of raw chickens. They were all dyed orange for some reason:

Whole chickens for sale. Plucked and cleaned!

So we went over to Av. Esteben Arze, where the electronics are. We found a group of computer stores, all packed into one little hallway. Each one occupied less than 100 sq. feet, and had printers, computers, USB drives, routers, etc. Pretty much what you'd expect to find in a computer store in the United States, minus the selection. They had one brand of router - TP-Link - with two choices: one antenna or two. The two antenna version cost over 400 B's (about $60), and the one antenna version cost a bit less than half that, so I took the cheaper one. Since our apartment is only about 650 sq. feet, I really don't need the broadcast strength of two antennas.

I needed an ethernet cable, too, to run from the wall or router here at the hospedaje to my desk, so I asked about that. They don't have pre-built cables - just the raw materials. So I asked for a price - about $0.12 per foot with the connectors added, so I got 2 of them, each 12 feet long, for about $3.00. Not bad. They even tested them for me before I took ownership. Connecting the ends always worries me because you have to make sure the 8 wires are arranged in the right order, etc.

But the USB3 cable I needed for my USB hard drive was a different matter. They finally found one, the little pigtail size (less than a foot), and charged me 50 B's, or $7.00. Interesting.

I brought them all home and hooked it all up. The router works great, good WiFi, and now I can have Molly talking on the phone with her mother (it's a VOIP phone with MagicJack), while I Skype on the laptop. Before, I had to hook the phone to the laptop, and we could only do one at a time.

With the WiFi, we can connect with our iPads and FaceTime with Holly as well. So, we're now back to being "connected".

We visited with Becky and Emily last night as well - much better connection than we've had in the past, and we were running just on the WiFi. Once I get everything connected and arranged, I'll have the laptop wired as well, I think.

One last thing about La Cancha that we learned. As we were leaving on Bus #3, Molly was sitting against the window, and I was next to her. I had my Nexus in my left shirt pocket (I'm just using it as a camera since I don't have a cellular plan here), which is pretty normal.

All of a sudden, Molly saw something come in the window, thinking it was some big bug or something. I felt something hit my chest, and then it was gone. It was a pick-pocket, who had probably seen me take the phone out and put it back, and had waited for his opportunity. Fortunately for us, he didn't get my phone (which I will now carry in a more secure place). The Bolivians on the bus were concerned, and very ashamed that someone would try such a thing. They were concerned for us, and were glad, too, that the pick-pocket had failed.

In the afternoon, we walked down to a shoe store where we had been told they had shoes big enough for me. I have two pair of dress shoes, and no real walking shoes. The one pair of shoes I bought last seem very durable, and are comfortable to walk in, but I'd like to get something else to help make them last the 23 months we'll be here.

So we walked into the store, and they said that they had one style in size 47 (that's 13 for you internationally handicapped souls). They brought out a size 45 (US size 11), expecting it to be good for me. Hmmm....

So we walked down the street a bit, and saw another store. When I asked if they had a size 47, the young man at the counter first exhibited surprise, with wide eyes, and then started to laugh.

We tried one more without success. Oh well. we'll keep looking. Elder Paredes, another worker here at the Temple, said he thought that I could find a Brazilian brand down at La Cancha, so maybe I'll take another trip that way next week.

We're really enjoying it here! Here's a panorama from right in front of the Temple. I'll try to get one from a better vantage point to actually see the city below. Maybe someone will let me on the roof of the hospedaje to do that.


  1. Orange-White Orange, Green-White Blue, Blue-White Green, Brown-White Brown. crimp ends on a hundred cables and you'll never forget it dad!

  2. Wow, you guys are having quite the adventure! Crazy pick pocketer!