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Sarah’s first week!

One week in!
Hi Mom, Dad, and Emily,

Hope you’ve all been doing well in the past week and did not miss me too much! Everything has been great so far here on my front, so please don’t worry at all. And good news, I did not get any altitude sickness so cheers for that!

We started our past week in Croico, a town 3 hours away from La Paz in the Yungas, drove back to La Paz on the third day, explored the city and prepared for the trek. We trekked for four days, three nights, hiked from snow mountains to Yungas jungles, and returned on the 26th. The same day, we headed to Lake Titicaca, which connects Bolivia to Peru, and stayed in our first homestay family in Santiago de Okola. Now we’re back in La Paz and will head to Cochabamba tomorrow morning. Not excited for the 8 hour bus ride but can’t wait to visit another place.

La Paz is a stunning city. I’ve never seen a place that combined snow mountains, tall buildings, and red brick households all together, and you all know my obsession for cities and bustling streets! Seeing the city from afar, however, was different from looking at it in close sight. In order to avoid tax, a lot of the houses were unfinished, but  it’s still a lively place.

As you might have imagined, for me, the trek was no doubt the most challenging part so far and maybe for the entire trip. We walked along wide downhill roads on the first day and everything went smoothly, but on the second day we starting walking on slippery rocks in jungles. I can’t remember how many times I slipped and fell, but everyone was very understanding of my poor hiking skills and I got to walk with my own pace. Our instructors, Brit and Jessie, and our local trekking guide, Pacuel, was especially helpful. They offered to carry some of my weight and helped me a lot along the way. Luca helped me carry my camera so that I don’t crash it on rocks when falling lol. Mr. and Mrs.St.George also walked at the end with me. We had candied ginger and listened to music along the way! The people in the group were definitely my greatest support. We hiked for about 7 hours on the second day, but thankfully the third day was shorter and easier. The only struggle was that my entire body was sore and my hip bones were hurting a lot. Good thing is, I was a lot faster on the third day and wasn’t crawling anymore. Hiphip hooray!

In lake Titicaca, Nina and I stayed in the same host family. Our host dad’s called Juan and has a wife and a 9 years old daughter in his family. They offered the nicest room to us and carefully prepared every single meal we had in the house. We had a lot and a wide variety of potatos, which is their main crop. To be honest though, I do miss the way we cook food back at home in China and can’t wait to have food with you guys back at home, but I appreciate all their effort! They were really kind and warm. Also, working together and translating for each other, Nina and I tackled the Spanish conversations with Juan! Hope I’d be able to understand more Spanish by the end of the trip. Last night, the representative of Andean spirituality also visited and gave us a ceremony. We were all impressed by the inclusiveess of this religion, and I’ll share more once I get back home.

Bolivia is different from my imagination and I can’t express such difference in a couple of lines. So remember everything you wanna ask me and I’ll tell all the stories when I return!

Mom, hope you’re feeling well and hope everything goes well when you get to the bay area, can’t wait to let you know everything! Dad, don’t give yourself too much pressure and please remember to relax and rest sometimes. Emily, don’t be like me and argue with mom and dad too much. They’re the people who love and care about us the most, and I bet that everything’s going well in school for you! Sarah misses you all and will see you soon in two weeks!

 

Love,

Sarah Liu