Sunday, July 4, 2010

Meeting up with Kate in Bolivia

Well, I´m finally here after a 21 hour flight and almost missing one of my connections. The first impression at the airport, where I had a long layover, was quite interesting. The airport at La Paz is one of the highest in the world. It´s otherworldly to land on the frozen Altiplano at 13,400 feet and see huge glaciated mountains towering over you. And heading straight to that altitude from sea level was strange. The airplane actually depressurizes during landing. I noticed an interesting phenomenon while fighting altitude sickness, or at least altitude uncomfortability. While I was sucking on something in my mouth, I felt all this air come out of it. I then realized I could experience the same feeling with an empty mouth--with a little suction it felt like there was a hole in my mouth where air was coming through, but then it would disappear. I think what was happening is that I was actually boiling my saliva by reducing the pressure. I sat in the airport for hours, amazed that I could create these little boiling pockets in my mouth. And then there was this amazing scenery:

I made it to Sucre, found Kate, and we have enjoyed walking around town the past couple days. Beautiful colonial architecture on narrow little streets:

Outside of downtown it´s a beautiful mixture of old and new buildings, some falling apart, some being built, all on steep hillsides. On our walk to the host family from downtown, one of the streets dissolves into a stairway. We get quite out of breath climbing it because of the altitude here. It´s only around 9000 feet here (which is much more comfortable compared to La Paz), but you still feel it when climbing hills. The weather is nice. Hot sun during the day and in the 70s maybe, and chilly at night. Here is the stairway:

There are little mangy dogs everywhere:

Today (sunday) we went to the market at Tarabuco, which is a few hours by bus outside of Sucre. It´s well known for its beautiful crafts, especially the weavings and wool clothing. Lots of beautiful veggies for sale here, too. It leaves us wondering why it seems like nobody eats any veggies here.

There were some delicious looking meat markets:

And amazing scenery around the town.

We saw these little tufts of plantlike material on all of the power lines in Tarabuco. Not sure what they are:

After we got back home, Kate tried on her new alpaca sweater and showed it off for me in front of the woven blankets we got:
Anyway, It´s been a spectacular couple days and I´m looking forward to starting spanish class tomorrow and to exploring around around town a little more. Cheers to all!


  1. so glad you made it! looks like you're having a good time already. and i am completely jealous of that sweater!
    -sarah lynne

  2. Good story. I can just picture Jeff and the boiling mouth syndrome! The stairway reminds me of my childhood living on Queen Anne Hill and all the streets that become stairways for blocks! One was right by our house! Now about that meat market...what's that "lace" tablecloth hanging down in front of the meat? Cute dogs!!! Miss you already.
    Love, Mom