Saturday, November 19, 2011

I know, I know. I´m not in Korea anymore...

Hola from Bolivia...not Korea anymore!

By posting a blog from Bolivia, I´ve officially made this my travel blog. Veronica and I made it safely to Bolivia. We arrived very early Thursday morning (4:30 a.m. Chicago time, 6:30 a.m. local) and spent most of Thursday drinking obscene amounts of water and being tired.

La Paz is roughly 4,000 meters above sea level, so our number-one goal was to avoid altitude sickness. We decided that the best way to do that was to sit around and drink water and coca tea - a native drink used to reduce the affects of the altitude - like it was our job. I have to admit, as soon as the plane landed and turned off the pressurizers, I felt like I was going to hurl. I felt dizzy and disoriented and thought, with a sinking heart, ¨Oh no, I´m one of the unlucky ones with an affinity for altitude sickness.¨

Don´t worry! After spending a few minutes repeating to myself, ¨You´re fine, you drama queen, you.¨ I was better. We sailed through customs, caught a cab to our hostel, walked breathlessly up two flights of stairs (We had to stop to catch our breath midway up) and spent the next two or three hours drinking water and tea. The tea is an absolute godsend. It completely wiped out all traces of discomfort.

Hungover with fatigue from the sleepless overnight flight and trying to convince our bodies that the lack of oxygen was OK, we spent that entire first day napping and drinking water and tea. We walked around La Paz some but...the hills!!! Couple the hilly terrain that puts San Francisco to shame with the lack of oxygen and you get two tired gringos (gringo essentially means white tourist).

We slept like babies Thursday night.

Friday we spent getting a handle on the city that is La Paz. Mastering the bloody hills, we found our way to the central plaza where La Paz´s main government building (attached to their main cathedral) is. I would say that the highlight of our day was the Art Museum. The museum featured Bolivian art from the beginning to the modern day. It was very cool, and the museum itself, once a palace, was stunning. (Pic of the courtyard of the museum below)

Saturday, we kicked off the day with an authentically local breakfast. We sat elbow to elbow with La Paz natives and feasted on Api tea (a purple corn tea flavored with ginger and other and ¨pancakes¨(basically a funnel cake without sugar). (tea pictured below)

We spent the afternoon in the Contemporary Art museum (Since we know nearly no Spanish, art museums are the only types of museums we really don´t need English translations to understand), which was cool, but not nearly as cool as the first art museum.

Tomorrow we are saying goodbye to our lovely hostel (which has an internet connection, free coca tea and sells water by the gallons) and La Paz and are taking a bus to Lake Titicaca. Should be fantastic! I will keep everyone posted as the internet access allows.

The weather has been awesome! Sunny and blue skies, typically around 65 to 70 degrees. Today a front moved in in a matter of minutes and dropped the temps to 40s with wind, clouds and rain. Thankfully, Veronica and I were back at the hostel in our new Bolivian sweaters (so warm! Made from alpaca fur...NO ALPACAS WERE HARMED IN THE MAKING OF MY SWEATER.) :)

Until next time...

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