Bolivia Day 2014: San Simon Caporales

Our little town held its yearly Bolivia Festival last month, and this year, I was able to spend a couple of hours at the park. Our boys didn’t participate in the soccer tournament this year, but I went anyway to watch the cultural dance troupes that are featured during the festival.

This year, it was the San Simon Caporales from the New Jersey chapter.  The Caporales is a traditional Andean dance that originated in the La Paz Department of Bolivia. The dance is now also performed traditionally in Peru, Chile, and Argentina, but is notably danced outside of South America by Bolivian emigrants (from Wikipedia). For more info,click here.

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From what I read in Wiki, this dance seems to feature the male dancers more prominently than the female dancers.

The male caporal depicts an old Spanish military guard.  The heeled boots bearing large bells are known as “cascabeles”.

Wiki says that the male dancer carries a hat in his left hand and a whip in his right.  Well, guess they did away with the whip lol

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It’s always nice to see the younger generation pick up and continue the cultural traditions …

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Harry Potter and the Wizarding World

I wasn’t planning on getting on any rides at Universal Studios, but the boys told me that’s where Harry Potter and the dragons were, and that I had to go with them.  And so we went to visit Harry.

My older son grew up with the books.  He was the same age as Harry when the books started, and he eagerly followed the adventures.  I had to make sure to pre-order the books as they came out, so that they would be delivered to our doorstep the first day it was released.  That was the only series of books that he has read, up to now.  The younger one has not taken to enjoying the reading as much.  I think the movies spoiled it for him a little.

Here’s my impressions of the Harry Potter world.

This is definitely my favourite – it is seriously impressive and imposing as you walk in to Diagon Alley.  You zig-zag through walls from the outside, and as you turn the corner, there it is.

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The dragon – huge, imposing, glaring down at you.  And it also breathes fire!  Definitely the best prop out there.

Of course, we had to go to Platform 9 3/4 and take the train ride.  I found the platform better than the train ride – that could have been better, I think.

And of course, there was butter beer – no, it was’t alcoholic, or maybe there was a little bit of it, I don’t know – we were too hot and thirsty from standing in line to get on the ride, we just drank it up.  It was more like a shake.  And other items found in the wizarding world.  hmmm … I didn’t get any pictures or souvenirs of that big white owl of his … or the hats and the wands and the cloaks …

This, however, I had to get … yes, I do solemnly swear  …

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Summer is Going by Too Fast …

This summer has gone by so fast.  Is it really the last summer weekend? I hope not … I haven’t had enough of summer yet!

Thankfully, the Coach made good on his word that the team would take a break and rest for a while, so it’s been a relatively restful soccer summer for us. I think that’s because most of the boys are going into first year high school now, and there’s so much going on for them.  I’m running around trying to get everything ready – wait, I think I still have to get some neckties.  Justin says the father’s neckties aren’t good at all, and did the father really wear all those ties?  lol

We also took a quick break to meet up with hubby and ended up in Orlando, Florida.  The last time we were there was ten years ago, so they didn’t mind going this time.  But no more Disney World for the boys – that’s for little girls and princesses, they said.  They spent the time going between Universal Studios and the pool.  And did those park prices really go up so high now?? I remember thinking before that $60 per person for a park entrance fee was a lot.  Now it’s over $100???  yikes!!  I must be getting old …

Hopefully I’ll settle down later and get back to writing and posting.  I’m still a little scatter-brained at the moment … yeah, I must be getting older …

Have a safe holiday long weekend, all!

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Filigreed Leaves

Out last weekend on the soccer fields, walking through the fields, I noticed these on the ground.

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Were these leaves left over from last winter?  Or were they a precursor to the coming winter?

I looked around, and there were more  …

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I was immediately obsessed with the patterns and designs on the leaves … delicately carved, it seemed.  I already had the telephoto lens on ready for the games, and I didn’t want to change lens out there.  I tried to take close-up photos, but it couldn’t get as close as I wanted to.

Just like fingerprints, no two leaf patterns were the same.  I wanted to take a picture of each leaf to study its patterns.  Of course, that would not be possible … but for a moment, I thought about it …

Like a sharp pointed tool, with the leaf retaining its outline and the veins showing, delicate and lacy patterns were cut out …

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Isn’t Mother Nature a great artist?

“By force of will … by nature of entitlement.”

“By force of will … by nature of entitlement.”  from ‘The Way of Kings’ by Brian Sanderson

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I’ve gone back to listening to audio books during my commute again.  Since I now commute on my own, I can sit there with earplugs in my ears, blocking out all the chatter and noises in the bus, the unwanted conversations that people think everybody should hear …

This is the current book I’m listening to.  I wanted a lengthy novel, an epic one, maybe another series, one that would take me ages to read.  Science fantasy was one genre that I knew fit that.  Browsing through Audible a couple of months ago, I had seen one by Brandon Sanderson, that looked to be a good one – Steelheart.  A quarter of the way in, I was wondering if this was Brandon Sanderson’s style … it sounded like he writes for teens, not for heavy, epic, 10-book series … not at the same level of Robert Jordan’s ‘Wheel of time’ series, for which he had been picked to finish the series.  That had worried me a little.  I still hadn’t read the last book of the WOT series – yes, I know, it’s been a couple of years since the last book came out, but I wanted to take my time reading that, knowing that it was the last book, and I don’t really want it to end … yet … Anyway … never mind the reviews, which were all saying that he did a good job with WOT, but did Brandon Sanderson really do Robert Jordan justice by finishing off the WOT series the way Robert Jordan wanted, and in the way that I expect?  I’ll have to find out soon …

Not satisfied with ‘Steelheart’ – yes, it was a young adult novel, which I had completely overlooked to see what type of genre it was in – I went browsing again, and another Brandon Sanderson book popped up – ‘Words of Radiance’.  It was the second book in a series.  hmmmm …. reading the reviews, it sounded like it could be one of those epic series that I wanted to immerse myself in.  But Brandon Sanderson again, after the less than satisfactory experience the first time?  I decided to take the plunge, and used up one of the precious Audible credits to purchase the book.  If I didn’t like the first book – ‘The Way of Kings‘ – then I didn’t have to buy the second book, which had just been released.

45 hours later, to and from commuting, lunch breaks, and a couple of late nights, I finished … and yes, I did want to know what would happen next.  So I purchased Book Two, which had just been released, and for which I did not have to wait four years … hmmm … but then that means that I’d have to wait years for Book Three?  I got into The Wheel of Time series three books in, so I was reading that for story for a good three-four months, before having to wait for years …

As you see, I’m already on Chapter 13, two days later.  It’s got 106 chapters … 106 !!  If this was a printed book, that would be over a thousand pages, right?  (That’s another on my to-do list … read a book that is at least 1,000 pages long … do audio books count?)  It’s kind of slow-going again, these early chapters, but I’m sure it’ll speed up soon.

The quote above is from the first book, ‘The Way of Kings’.  It struck me that this is probably why we have the alphas among us … for them, everything is an entitlement, being the first-born, the leader, the chosen one … If they do not get what they want by entitlement, then they use force of will, using the entitlement, to get what they want.

Hmmm … certainly makes things a lot clearer around here …

 

Be Still … Wait …

This was my message in my mailbox, from the app, “God Wants You To Know”.

” When you are unsure how to proceed, stop.

Be still and enter into the silence. Allow your mind to cease its restless thinking. Wait. Let the answer come in its time. “

In my current state of mind, it’s a very apt and timely message.  Did the app people know that?  Or is it just the general state of mind of the world these days, with all the conflicts, rushing from one appointment to another, from one business transaction to another … Yes, I think we all need to slow down a little … stop the restless thinking … empty the mind … and wait for the answers.

Ok … slow down … look up at the skies … watch the clouds drift by …

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p.s.  I need a few answers … :)