05 May 2011

more bolivian carnaval in oruro

I couldn't resist.  There are just so many amazing images from the Oruro Carnaval, I had to include some more.  Enjoy!


The kids were cute-- except when they were pointing super soakers at you.  My partner got shot in the face with a water gun at point-blank range, and he took the water gun and sprayed the kid right back in the face.  If you knew how sweet and mellow my partner is usually, you'd be as surprised as I was.  The kid was shocked, too, but the people around him thought it was hilarious.
One thing I found endearing was how many of the kids would watch each other as they were walking to make sure they were doing everything right.

Loved the not-so-young, too-- dancing, waving flags and playing music for hours and hours and hours.

The music and dancing were nice, but for me, it was the costumes that blew me away.  Even the bottoms of their black pants had ruffles and embroidery.

More of the harvest theme:

Bolivia is one of the only countries to have a majority Native American population, and I found some of their faces to be so striking, with a certain dignity.

Unlike most places, many Bolivians also wear this kind of traditional dress all the time, so the women in the audience, for example, look more or less like the performers, with a bowler hat, two long braids, and a long, ruffled or pleated skirt.  (I mean this for the regional dress-- it's less true for the furry bears, sequin animals, etc.).  Oh, and the colorful cloth tied around the shoulders to carry babies/vegetables/etc.

Even the vendors at the parade were often decked out.  

But not as varied as the Cochabamba soccer (I mean fútbol) vendors, who I guess can wear whatever they want:

This guy on the right (above) sells a cinnamon sorbet that is really popular in Bolivia.  It's light and refreshing-- perfect for a warm day.  I also thought it was interesting to see how differently food was presented.

To me, this lady looks like she just stepped out of a fairy tale:

I would totally believe she had something either magical or poisonous in that basket.  In any case, she was making a lot of sales, so I guess whatever she was selling was good.

But I digress.  Back to Oruro and their amazing Carnaval celebration.  Speaking of vendors, there was something so nice and simple-- and old-fashioned-- about this interaction.

Note that he's giving her a coin and not a bill.  I wish ice cream cones in the States costed coins rather than bills, too.

But anyway, back to the parade.  Enjoy!

Beer in the middle of a parade?  Sure, why not...  This guy below has one stashed in his belt for later, too.

This one makes me laugh because it looks an awful lot like the Harvard Ph.D. graduates...

But back to the festivities.  I love to see someone completely engrossed in what they're doing.  I think it's those moments that we live for, when we lose ourselves in doing something we love.

I can see battle waged between the two following couples...  My money's on the first one.

Parts of Bolivia have been settled by Africans, and they apparently have some incredible fusion music that incorporates African beats with Andean flutes/strings.  The following photos are clearly references to African slaves, but I'm not sure what Bolivia's history is with slavery...

You'll notice the people with the whips also have their faces painted black, so maybe they came to Bolivia with their own slaves (?).  

(I don't know how well these black painted faces would go over in other more PC countries.)

These dancers are usually men, so I was pretty psyched to see women taking on the cowbell jumping dancing, too.  (It was also refreshing to see women in pants after all of the ruffly skirts.)

Ditto for the band members, especially the percussionists.

You see the giant armies of performers here, but the actual military was also around to make sure no funny business was attempted.

I loved the llama dancers-- they all had little stuffed llamas, which they twirled around as they danced and spun.  I think they were one of the happiest bunches I saw all day.

But these guys look like they're having a pretty good time, too.

I love the crazy vibrant color, and I especially love those legwarmers (above).

You'll notice in this shot (above) that passersby were getting either attacked with water balloons, super soakers or foam spray.  Not fun.  Even when you wear a plastic poncho.

These helmets were solid wood or something like it-- when they would strike the ground, it was a great dok sound in unison.

These are Bolivia's national colors.  Love all the feathers.

And finally, the kid with the cymbals and beer can helmet.  So, want to go to Bolivia for Carnaval yet?  I'd highly recommend it-- and there are so few tourists in most of Bolivia, you really get a sense of what normal life is like.  Maybe it's because I married a half-Bolivian, but I think Bolivia is one of the coolest and most underrated countries in the world.  Did I mention it's also really, really cheap?  Right.  So, what are you waiting for?  Start planning that trip already! :-)

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