Tuesday, October 22, 2013

La Paz, Day 1

Hola from Bolivia! We have arrived safe and mostly sound and are currently getting our bearings, although we are taking our time to adjust to the elevation and moving pretty slowly.

We left Miami last night around 10:30pm. We were already a visible, and linguistic minority on the plane…possibly the only people who weren’t capable of speaking Spanish. Amelia stayed awake until take-off and then had a pretty good sleep on the plane. She laid out on a seat between Duane and I, and as far as I knew, remained there until we landed…Duane informed me this morning that at one point he woke up to find her standing on the floor with her head resting on the seat, still mostly asleep. At least she didn’t fall off the seat, right? Right?

We landed in La Paz at 5:30am, and immediately Amelia started throwing up. Poor little thing was so pale and weak…even though we had been taking anti-altitude sickness medication, she was still affected. In fact, we all were (are). As we left the plane we walked so slowly, and felt light-headed, experiencing the minor effects of the elevation. For those of you who don’t know, La Paz is just under 12,000 ft making it the second highest urban center in the world…Lhasa, Tibet being the first.

Our first view of the city was breathtaking (and not because of the altitude). There was just enough of a break in the clouds to cast some light on this spectacular valley. Buildings and shanties scale some of the most seemingly uninhabitable inclines, and there are mountains surrounding the city on every side. As we entered La Paz, it because clear to us that while the streets made absolutely no sense to us, people were very adept at getting around. There were no visible street signs (other than one hand-written one that I saw).

Our house is a shared accommodation. There are some other volunteers living here, although I couldn’t tell you how many people since we’ve been dead to the world since we’ve arrived. There is a really nice courtyard, and a small piece of grass that will be a nice area for Amelia to play on. We’re not sure how long we’ll be at this place…we’re just going to play it by ear and see if we like it and if it works for our family.

After arriving at our place we all immediately fell asleep in our massive bed…after about half an hour Amelia threw up again and felt awesome!!! Then she threw up again…wuh wuhhhh. That was at about 8am and she hasn’t been sick since, just really sleepy. Duane has basically been symptom free, and I have been sporting a bit of a headache and some nausea. There’s also the crazy feeling of your heart beating out of your chest when you walk upstairs…you know, like if you sprint, but here you’re only slowly taking a flight of stairs.

So, that’s our first day and we’re only halfway through. We are so looking forward to this adventure! We have no idea how to get around or how to find out house again if we leave, but that’s all a part of the joy of international travel! 


  1. day 1 at that altitude must be crazy! the "slow motion" totally is how ive felt at high altitudes. you should start running, and come back a super champ ;)

    1. We've actually seen people here running up huge hills that are at a higher altitude than La Paz.

    2. I'm pretty sure I'll be a super champ without running or training at all!

    3. you're always a super champ!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Super pumped to hear you made it safe and are settling it - lame about the sickness though. Bryn is right, when you come back it'll be like you're breathing super-levels of oxygen. Sign up for a marathon! Haha