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“Buen Día” from La Paz!

As I sit in a crammed internet cafe at more than 11,000 feet, I have reflected on the past week and a half in a country so different than our own. In the short eleven days we have spent in Bolivia, our group has transformed from hangry gringo tourists in the immigration line at the La Paz airport to travelers eager to try our Spanish with the locals and immerse ourselves in everything the “Tibet of the Americas” has to offer. After a few light-hearted days in the tropical city of Coroico and the mountainous capital of La Paz, we set off for a trek in the Andes Mountains overlooking the Bolivian Altiplano. Though I assumed myself fit for any trek after two years of Thacher camping trips, I found myself gasping for air on the 17,000 foot high trail. Nonetheless, lunches of fútbol with our porters (a group of locals who helped carry our gear), breath-taking views of some of the highest peaks in the world, and the communal feeling of warmth and support from everyone at each campsite made the grueling adventure inolvidable. For these past three days, we were fortunate to spend time in a community on the coast of one of the world’s highest lakes, Lake Titicaca. My twin brother, Vincent, and I were paired together in the house of Don Vicente, a humble vendor of traditional woven goods. In the most basic Spanish I could muster, I talked to Don Vicente about the innate beauty of Bolivia and my wishes to return as soon as possible. After peaceful walks along the lake shore and meals filled to the brim with potatoes, we had to bid goodbye to the village of Santiago de Okola. In our second half of the trip, we will prepare for another homestay – this time in the tropics of Cochabamba – and will soon say Adios to a place that has given us nothing more than memories of a lifetime.

 

Ciaocito, James