I know that chronologically, graduation should come first since I graduated a full TWO DAYS before I left for Bolivia but I've been missing these people and this place lately so I've decided to write this post first. Like I said, 2 days after my graduation, I had my bags packed and was sitting in the Dallas airport, getting ready for our 12 hour trip to Bolivia. Now, the flight itself is really only about 7 hours but we would have to fly from Dallas > Miami > La Paz > Cochabamba. I like to think of myself as a champion traveler so this seemed like no big deal.
There are a total of 10 kids going and maybe 10 minutes after getting to the gate, I find out who I'm sitting next to. His name is Ewan and he continues to pledge to constantly annoy me the entire time. He goes so far as to say that perhaps he should set an alarm to go off every 30 minutes in case he falls asleep so that he can wake me up and alert me to the status of the plane: It's flying. This is clearly going to be the best trip ever as is further evidenced by the following exchange:
Rafa (adorably awkward Puerto Rican friend): Cindy, wait, you dropped money! *chases her with $2*
Cindy: Oh, thanks Rafa.
Rafa: That's for last night -wink-
This marks inappropriate exchange #1 out of what will ultimately become 7402342, estimated. So I spend the flight doing sudoku with Ewan and we finally get to Miami where we have just enough time to dine before we get to La Paz. Now, just in case anyone doesn't know, Miami is basically at sea level. La Paz is at 13,000 feet elevation. This is a very rough transition on the human body. When we land, sleep-deprived and starving, 9 out of 10 of us are hit with this overwhelming feeling that we're going to pass out. 'Soroche' is what they call it in Spanish- altitude sickness. The ground keeps shifting beneath my feet and I can't shake the ever-present feeling of nausea. We end up seeking refuge in an oxygenated lounge until we check in to our flights. We then proceed to pass out on the plane the rest of the way to Cochabamba.
By now, we are sleep-deprived, sick and starving and the day has only just begun. I don't remember much about that day except sleeping, going out to eat. At some point we went out to go get water because at 9,000 feet elevation, one dehydrates pretty quickly. We're RSVPed to attend a cocktail party that'll kick the whole convention off so we make our way down to the venue. It turns out that the cocktail would not be held at the Regina Hotel but rather the Regina Hotel and Resort. Naturally, this resort in 45 minutes away. Taking into account the fact that we were already an hour and a half late, we decided to eat at some chain restaurant called Dumbo's. Then we slept some more. Truthfully, this was the last uneventful day we would have in Bolivia. The rest of the week, while exciting!, is legitimately insane.