Judithe and I finally got into La Paz…only a day and a half late! We had a wonderful time at dinner with my cousin Joe and his girlfriend Alex at a delicious little Cuban diner in Miami (shout out to Joe for taking me to CVS on the way back to the airport to get some Dayquil for a normal price as opposed to the $17 pack at the airport!). It was great to see both of them! We left Miami Friday evening as planned and had a good flight. We started the descent into La Paz but turns out the plane couldn’t land due to foggy conditions/visibility issues. So instead we went to Santa Cruz, Bolivia (where the plane was headed after the La Paz stop). After what seemed like a million long lines and MANY hours later, we were approved for our Bolivian tourist visa and were put on a 6:45pm flight to La Paz. Since we had so much time to kill before our flight, I went with 3 other new friends (Americans who were also on our flight- amazing how much you can learn about a person when you are stuck in 3 hour long lines together!) into the city of Santa Cruz, which was beautiful and HOT (it is more Southern and hence more tropical). The total cost of buses/taxis for a 25 min ride each way was around $4! I am glad I went.
Our flight was delayed 30 min but we made it to La Paz safely last night around 7:45pm. A driver hired by CFHI was at the airport to take us to our host family’s house, which is actually an apartment building they own. Judithe and I have our own apartment and they live right across the hall. The drive down to the apartment building was beautiful- the airport is at the highest point in the city (and actually is the highest airport in the world I believe, at about 12,000 feet) and we are staying closer to downtown. La Paz is kind of like a bowl, surrounded by mountains, so the airport would be on the rim and we had to drive down to the bottom of the “bowl” (valley) to get to our apartment. The apartment is beautiful and is in a very nice neighborhood, and our host family is very nice. Today was election day and no public transportation was allowed on the streets, so it was a very peaceful day. We slept in, ate a leisurely breakfast and lunch and tonight took a walk around the neighborhood. There is a beautiful Catholic church a couple blocks from our apartment building and we got to go inside to watch a bit of the evening Mass. No churches had services this morning due to elections. Since it is Palm Sunday, there were palm branches all over the church and venders outside selling crosses weaved from the branches- it was a neat experience. I have not had any problems with altitude sickness (although I have a pesky cold right now) but it was interesting that at the airport they had an oxygen therapy room. I have also been drinking tea from coca leaves which is supposed to help with altitude sickness. Anyways, sorry for the super long post. Tomorrow we start at El Hospital Del Niño and Spanish lessons!!