Monday, May 21, 2012

Welcome to La Paz


Bet you can't gues what this is....

It was my welome gift on arrival at the airport in La Paz.

I'll give you a hint: it's a lifesaver.
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It's my very own oxygen tank!
10 points if you guessed that.

It even comes with it's very own mask.

Just one of the many things that I am learning set this place apart from any other city. 

The altitude is a frequent topic of conversation, especially with new arrivals and everyone has been encouraging me to take it easy for a few days. My fingers have finally stopped tingling and the only effect I still notice is that I get majorly winded climbing stairs. So much so that I was completely out of breath after two flights of stairs today at the embassy. Hopefully no one saw that...

Beyond the altitude the climate is really striking as well. When I first arrived early in the morning it was very chilly - in the 30's or 40's (I'm not actually sure). The house isn't heated - except for some little radiators - so it felt ice cold.  Yet a few hours later we were walking around without coats or jackets and felt comfortable enough to eat outside in the garden.  I thought the cold would really get to me, but actually with a bit more judicious use of the radiators our house is now pretty pleasant and the air just feels refreshing, kind of like being in the mountains at home.

Speaking of housing, the embassy put us up in a mansion large house.  Apparently it's for real FSOs, but we got lucky and ended up here instead. I can see now why many FSOs complain that the furniture is out of date, but the embassy has been extremely generous and even if it isn't Martha Stewart's house it's very comfortable. I'd post pictures, but you know, security and stuff.

I'm going to make a real effort to blog more often while I'm here and tell you about all of the awesome things going on in Bolivia, but forgive me if it doesn't happen. I still don't have a permanent internet solution and I've got a lot of sightseeing to fill up my weekends.

I'll write a separate post about my impressions from the embassy once I can base it on more than one day, but for what it's worth, my first day was great and every single person I met was great.  As Annie would say, "I think I'm gonna like it here." (see gratiutous youtube clip below)

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