Saturday, 26 June 2010

San Juan

Wednesday 23rd of June was the day to celebrate San Juan here in Bolivia. It is supposedly the shortest and coldest night of the year in recognition of the birth of John the Baptist. A tradition that was introduced by the spanish colonialists. Traditionally people would build and burn bonfires with wood from old pieces of furniture in the streets in both the towns and the cities and eat hotdogs. In previous years we have experienced some these antics as the streets fill with smoke and fireworks are set off all over the place (No health and safety here!).

In anticipation of much smoke and noise, and Alana's fear of fireworks, I spent the entire afternoon preparing her for what was to come later on in the evening, ensuring her that it was nothing to be afraid of, and to focus on the pretty lights in the sky as opposed to the loud noises. She was beginning to get the idea, and was talking about it all afternoon, a conversation filled with many Whys. At 7pm in the evening we set off to our pastors house to celebrate with others. It was unusually quiet in the streets, however we just assumed it was all to start later on.

The hours slowly ticked by and still nothing. It turned out that the government had actually banned the lighting of bonfires and the use of fireworks this year, due to the amount of smoke that was normally produced, which has been so bad in the past in places such as La Paz so as to constitute the need of a bank holiday the following day simply because it hasn't been safe for people to drive due to low visibility because of the smoke.

So we were spared much of the trauma of Alana wailing and griping hold of us, or at least we were until very late in the evening when a few explosions started up around near our home which meant somewhat of a sleepless night for us all.

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