Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Hi! We all made it to Bolivia safe and sound. First group (Team Alpha) came in on Tuesday and the second group (Team Beautiful) arrived on Wednesday. The hotel we´re staying at in La Paz has internet! What luck! It´s just a tad bit slow, so I´ll keep this post short and sweet with pictures to feast your eyes. :) Today is our last day in La Paz. Tomorrow, we will ride a bus to Cochabamba where we will meet up with Damian (our contact from CETHA) and pick up our supplies. And from that we will finally head to CETHA, Asanquiri. 

Plane view coming into La Paz

Yesterday was full of exploring! After a much needed nap for the second group, we walked around La Paz and toured Church of St. Frances and an art museum. We also used that time to try and adjust to the altitude. 13,000 ft of elevation can really get to you! Climbing two flights of stairs alone will leave you panting as if you ran a mini marathon! Doesn’t really help that La Paz is literally hills, hills, and more hills. Thank goodness for altitude sickness medicine. The city is so vibrant and full of life! The children here have the rosiest and chubbiest cheeks I have ever seen. Dogs are everywhere, but we can’t play with them. Pigeons also roam the street, but we don’t want to play with them anyways. Feisty little creatures. There are many colorful vendors and graffiti on every street, so your eyes never get bored! Same with your nose…lots of smells, both good and bad. The food in general is meat and starch with a wonderful array of spices, the first group even ate some llama steaks! One thing that you will always see around here is the Cholitas and their colorful attire.

Typical breakfast at our hotel: bread roll, toast, crackers, juice, coffee, and butter/jam

Church of St. Frances
Exploring La Paz
Awesome Spanish courtyard at an Art Museum

Strolling in La Paz

Feisty Pigeons

After our walking adventures, Gabe’s mom met with us at our hotel where we rode with her back to her house. Gabe is a member of our EWB NCSU chapter who happens to live in Bolivia. So awesome!! Traffic/driving here is horrendous mainly because there are no traffic laws…laws are mainly suggestions. Pedestrians cross the roads as they please. They do, however, have overly cheerful and very sweet people in zebra suits that help pedestrians cross main roads. So we got to Gabe’s beautiful home where he and his family graciously hosted us. We ate terrific food till our stomach’s burst, played with their dogs, and had wonderful conversations. To say that the Hoskins are amazing is an understatement. Thank you Hoskin family!
La Paz is covered in artistic graffiti 

Happy Zebras

The guy in this taxi is wearing a UNC hoodie...Go Wolfpack!

Riding in a taxi on the way to Gabe's house
Kia playing with Lisa and Auggie
Us (minus Kia) and the Hoskin Family!
After our wonderful lunch with the Hoskins, Gabe drove us to the mountains to drop off his brother, David (he does downhill mountain biking…pretty extreme!). The view from the mountain was breathtaking! You could really see the layers of La Paz: the valley, altiplano, and the mountains. The drive up there was quite frightening though. Sharp turns with your car literally next to the edge of a cliff, definitely an adventure! The mountain had some pretty awesome rock formations, lots of stalagmites…they looked like fingers clawing at the side of the mountain! Gabe drove us back to our hotel and we all pretty much called it a night thinking it was late into the evening, but really it was 7:30 PM! Yea, we got about 12 hours of much needed sleep.
Gabe looking out into the mountains on his SUV
David downhill biking

Panoramic view of the mountain (Wes and Ben are the two shadow people)

Breathtaking view of the valley and altiplano
So a short post was false, but it was sweet! There’s just so much life in La Paz that I can’t condense it in a sentence or two. I haven’t even talked about Team Alpha’s first day here or today’s events! But it’s way past midnight and I need to catch some sleep before our journey to Cochabamba tomorrow morning.

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