Monday, December 21, 2015

I didn't forget I was supposed to be writing these

I totally forgot I was supposed to be writing blog posts. This one will be kinda long because I recently went on probably the greatest two week trip with the best group of people out of anyone in the entire world. But before that we celebrated Thanksgiving here and everyone made a dish from where they are from. It was a really cool thing to see all this half-assed food that everyone worked hard on. I didn't make anything because I was lazy (what a surprise) and I wasn't really sure what to cook that was Wisconsin-y. The more I think about it the more I could've made but now that's like a month ago so whatever.

Today is 4 months here in Bolivia as well. Crazy to think I only have 6 or 7 more months left here. I don't want my Bolivian life to come to end. I love the life I have here and I love all of my friends and my family. Also I'll be getting a new family too. On January 16th I am switching to a new house. It's interesting because my next host brother I had met in Wisconsin last year.

Okay, I'm gonna try and talk shortly about the trip aka the best thing ever:

First, we got onto a flight at 5:30 in the morning to go to Tarija. Tarija is a city in the south that is famous for it's wines. When we arrived we went to an overlook of the city and got some free time to wander the streets. We went to a lake as well. We stayed a night in the city and we toured 3 vineyards the next day.

Next stop was Cochabamba and it was rad as hell. I really like it because it felt like Santa Cruz but in the mountains. We went to the Christ the Redeemer statue there which is the biggest in the world (suck it Rio) and got to go inside it. Inside we found written on the wall "RYE 14-15" so we promptly wrote next to it "RYE 15-16." I hope that the next group finds it and is able to write on the wall with us. We also toured some historical districts in the city as well.

After Cochabamba we made our way over to La Paz. We flew in at night and we stopped on an overpass in the upper part of the mountain city (one of the highest cities in the world) to see one of the most beautiful sights. We saw what seemed to be like the rolling waves of city lights. It was a beautiful sight and also the one part of the trip my phone died so I couldn't get any photos, which I feel was like a lesson to enjoy things. The next day we went to a witch market and there were dead baby llamas everywhere. After that we toured some other places and stuff and blah blah blah. Then they had us spend like 3 hours in a Cinecenter which was weird but I texted my friend Micaela who was an exchange student in Wisconsin last year and lives in La Paz. It was crazy to see her in Bolivia, a lot of memories from a great period in my life came back really quickly and it was nuts.

We then went to Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. We spent hours on little boats getting to Isla Del Sol and I must say that was another one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. We hiked for almost 2 or 3 hours to get to our hotel.

We went back to La Paz for a day before we headed to the next city. We got a little time in the witch market again and I texted my friend Teresa who was a major reason I did exchange and the reason I even knew what Bolivia was. It was one of the most surreal moments I have ever experienced in my life. I hadn't seen her in over a year and then bam I'm in her city over 4000 miles from where I had last seen her.

After we took a bus down to Oruro where we stayed for a solid 30 minutes because honestly it kinda sucked. It was a reminder that I was indeed in the poorest country in South America. We got on a train which was pretty awesome and took it down to Uyuni. We arrived at like 3 in the morning so everyone went straight to sleep  in the hotel. In the morning it was time for the best day of the trip and one of the best days of my life:

We went to a market where everything was like little salt stuff and I got a llama keychain and an ashtray as gifts for people. After the market we went to a train graveyard and climbed around and took cool photos for a while. Then we went to the outskirts of the salt flats where there are like little bits of water that bubble up from below. We then drove out to the flats. It was freaking insane. I have never seen anything even remotely like that in my life. We took photos for almost hours and then we had a picnic for lunch. After we took more photos we headed to the island in the middle. It was a crazy formation with cactus that were almost 10 feet tall. We even found a geocache there. After the island we went to the base of a mountain there and went to a place where they buried bodies and stuff and saw some human remains. It reminded me of hamlet for some reason and then I spent the next solid 45 minutes quoting Shakespeare. We then went back out to the flats to watch the sunset. Fucking insane as well (pardon my language but that's the only way to describe the beauty and even then it doesn't do it justice). After the sun had set we made our way back to our hotel which was the first hotel in the world made completely of salt. That night we were all hanging out in the nicest hotel I have ever been in and we saw the stars for the first time since I had arrived. Palmer was in such a good mood, he forced me to let him teach me how to ride a bike. I never thought I'd learn how to ride a bike on the world's largest salt flat under the stars. Nuts.

After the Salar de Uyuni we went to Potosi. We went into the active silver mine in the mountain there and it was a straight up terrifying experience for almost everyone. I enjoyed it but it was odd to say the least.

After Potosi we went on over to the last city, Sucre. Sucre was beautiful. It was a city created because the Europeans wanted a city to live in that wasn't Potosi (which I don't 100% blame them) and the result was gorgeous. We toured the city and then went back to our hotel. The next morning as we were going to our last airport we had mixed feelings. Some people, including myself, didn't want the trip to end and there were others that were sick of it already. By some weird thing our flight got cancelled and we were to have an extra day in Sucre. The airport paid for our hotel that night and they got us the nicest hotel in Sucre. It was so nice it had a secret museum in the basement.

The next morning at 5 we were supposed to head to the airport but I didn't wake up till 5;30 so they all went to the hotel and came back for me and a few others that overslept because I told them the false info that the time was for 5:30. Oops.

We've been back in Santa Cruz for a little over a week now and being away, even on the greatest trip of all time, made me realize how much I missed and how much I'm going to miss little things from my city like sitting on the church steps in the center, the cafe con leche guys in the plaza, taking micros around a city of circles and many other things. I love you Santa Cruz.

I love you all too,