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?”
The Inti Raymi festival in Cusco Peru
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.
Ekeko, the Bolivian god of plenty, in La Paz
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
Casa Sucre, the volunteer house where I live in Cochabamba
• 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
Cochabamba's Cristo de la Concordia is the biggest Jesus statue in the world
• 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
The view of snowcapped Andes and palm trees from Casa Sucre's terrace
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
Torotoro National Park in Bolivia