After a long trans-Atlantic flight and layover in Sao Paolo, Brazil, we finally arrived in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. It was an uneventful flight. We were surprised that we couldn’t leave the airport upon arrival to Brazil because we didn’t have a visa. We had an 8 hour layover and we planned to check into a hotel, but immigration officials wouldn’t allow us pass them. We ended up buying a day pass for the AA Admirals Club and had a nice day together.
Our second night in Santa Cruz was the Festival of San Juan or Corpus Christi. This is a big Catholic holiday here. It is traditionally celebrated with a mass held at the soccer stadium. It coincides with the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year in the southern hemisphere. Bolivians have fires in the evening and eat hot dogs and drink singani, the Bolivian rakija (brandy). Tempatures got down to 11 C last night. We cleaned out the BBQ area and had a big fire. The Mayor’s office outlawed individual fires for environmental reasons. Instead, officials organized big public campfires. We told stories and had a nice time.
The origin of the Corpus Christi dates back to 1263 where in Italy, a priest named Pedro de Praga was celebrating mass and the host (communion bread) began to bleed. This is proof of the transformation during the mass the communion bread and wine actually turns into the body and blood of Christ. The host is still preserved and was tested in 1971 as well as blood crystals in the wine. There is human tissue on the host as well as an AB blood type in the wine. I don’t believe it but it does make for an interesting evening in late June.
During the day, we visited the Santa Cruz Zoo. Owen loved seeing the 10 jaguars because earlier this year, he made a poster and gave a presentation on the jaguar. The zoo had a nice collection of Neo-tropic birds and Amazonian fish. The kids also like the spider monkeys with the prehensile tails. We are all still suffering a bit from the jet lag.