Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Molly's Impressions

[August 18-21, 2015] Tuesday through Friday

Santa Cruz from the balcony of our hotel
Santa Cruz

It's always exciting getting ready for a trip, especially when it is to someplace you have never been before, so I was excited. I especially love having Elder Lyon show me the places and introduce me to people he knew on his mission. Another reason to be excited!

The flight from Cochabamba to Santa Cruz is only 45 minutes, but they still managed to pass out snacks and drinks. I loved the snacks both going and coming back. The snacks come in cute little boxes and the contents are some kind of bread, some kind of cookie and a hard candy (my candies were purple both times). The flight to Santa Cruz had little cuñapes, which are a yummy bread made from yukka flour and cheese and the cookie was a cocada (hard macaroon). Coming home we had a little crescent roll with cheese inside and a thick short bread type cookie with chocolate drizzle. For drinks we chose Sprite. The flight was lovely and they gave us seats with lots of leg room for my companion, and we were prepared to open the emergency door if anything should happen.

The first thing I noticed about Santa Cruz was the highway from the airport into town, lovely and wide with lines separating wide lanes. The streets even in the city were wider with definite lanes defined by lines and the lights were more than suggestions. However, when we took the taxi to visit the Alvarez family, the roads looked more Cochabamban (narrow with no lines, go at your own risk).

Every day we walked. I loved walking the streets with Charlie and hearing how things had changed and seeing it all through his eyes. We found the street he lived on as a missionary and what the place he lived in could have looked like. We found the chapel and even went inside. There was a guard that opened the gate for us. I think Charlie will tell more and have pictures as well.

One street in one of the market areas
The central plaza was beautiful with beautiful trees, people sitting on benches and lots of pigeons. I can picture with Charlie's help how it must have looked 40 years ago.

We found their market district. Not quite as crazy or as big as La Cancha in Cochabamba but still pretty crazy. I was happy to see more women there dressed in native full skirts, hats, braids and of course an apron. If I had long hair I would definitely wear it in two long braids down my back.

One day we walked to the Parque Urbana, which is a big beautiful park with amazing trees of all kinds. I especially love the ones with root-like vines hanging from them. After all Santa Cruz is surrounded by jungle and I could imagine Tarzan swinging from such vines.

There are always people buying and selling everywhere in Bolivia (at least where I have been so far). Even at the park there were concession booths (more like buildings) selling all kinds of food and treats as well as toilet paper outside the rest rooms. I was glad I had some tissues with me.

Strange tree in Parque Urbana
At Parque Urbana there was a crowd of people in a large open pavilion, as we got closer we realized it was the Senior Citizens (tercera adad as they say here) group. Just like back home. We also passed by a group of about 6 older gentlemen playing soccer.

Of course the high-light was visiting with Felicidad and her son Marco Antonio Alvarez. What dear, delightful people. So faithful. It was sweet for me to see how much they love Elder Lyon and how much our visit meant to them. I think it came at a good time for them. I loved hearing them talk about their lives for the last forty years and hearing their faith and especially hearing my sweet husband bear powerful testimony of truth and love. I could even understand some of it. But I could definitely feel the love. I am so grateful to share these sweet experiences with my companion. It's the added bonus that I hadn't expected, but I am so loving it and feel so honored to be experiencing it all.

Beautiful tree - this is on Av. Trumpillo

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