Almost six weeks have gone by since I first arrived in Lima, Peru and started making my way toward Cochabamba, Bolivia, where I currently hang my hat.
“Well?” ask emails and chats from home, “How is it?”
It’s both. The beginning of my long-term trip to South America has been both of everything. It’s both the suspension from time that is travel and the daily grind that is real life.
It’s both what I love and loath from past experiences in Latin America — piracy, fireworks, endless markets, packed buses, street dogs, public urination, street food, public displays of affection.
It’s both Spanish and English. It’s both what I had imagined and nothing like I expected. It’s both hot and cold. It’s both high and low, and everything in between. But I can say, at over 11,000 feet of altitude right now, that it’s been mostly high and always exciting.
Some highlights from the trip so far:
• The Inti Raymi Festival in Peru to celebrate the shortest day in the southern hemisphere Inca-style
• A bicycle tour to the ruins of Moray in Peru to see the Sacred Valley
• A 20 hour bus ride from Peru to La Paz to prove that I could do it
• Five days in La Paz to catch up with my friend Paul who lives there
• Arriving in Cochabamba, lots of wandering around
• Theme parties and community dinners with the Sustainable Bolivia crowd
• Sun basking on the rooftop terrace of Casa Sucre, the volunteer house where I live
• Hikes up the 1,399 stairs of the Cristo to see how long it takes
• A weekend trip to Villa Tunari to encounter some not-so-friendly monkeys
• Performance Life’s street children circus
• A weekend trip to Torotoro to see some dinosaur tracks and caves
• Feeling very alive on Bolivia’s “death road” by bicycle
Less certain and equally exciting is the list of what is to come:
• A brief foray into Uzbekistan
• El Salar de Uyuni, the Mecca of trick perspective snapshots
• The silver mines of Potosí and the colonial whitewash of Sucre
• A 2.5 day bus ride to Argentina when my Bolivian visa expires at the end of September