Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Settling in

We found a place to call home for a bit. The place consists of three bedrooms that open to an uncovered patio area it also has a kitchen and bathroom. We have been doing our shopping at the local market a few blocks away, which means we are eating all Bolivian grown foods. Our “house mates” consist of a girl from France and an Argentinean guy his picture is below. We also began language school, studying for four hours each morning of the week. We plan to hang out here for at least a month. Then who knows what? For now, between 4 hours a day of Spanish lessons, plus the the three online courses that I am taking through PSU, my time is pretty full. Cassie is going to start volunteering at a local orphanage.

Cassie doing some laundry, I did my own.

This is the street that our place is on

Our new house mate, It's no joke...He is a clown

Experiencing Coca for the first time

The other day Cassie and I went for a stroll, we wanted to get to a good view point, so we picked out a nearby hill to climb to the top of. Once we got to the base of it, we found stairs that were formed from the rocks around. We took the stairs all the way to the top where there was a large statue of Jesus as seen above. There an indigenous man invited me over to his circle where there were 6 other indigenous men and women, all around a small cook stove that had burning coals on it. The man offered me coca leaves which I chewed for the first time. Then he pulled a huge hamster out of a card board box, and a women held a cup of water up to him. The man put the head of the hamster into the cup under the water. He held it there until the hamster stopped squirming, and lay motionless. Next the man put different kinds of spices on the burning coals and wafted the smoke onto each of the people in the circle. Then he offered me something to drink, it was some pretty strong alcohol, I partook and thankfully was able to hold it down, they all had a good laugh at my reaction to the drink (I later found out it was rubbing alcohol (95%) mixed with Fanta). Next the man accompanied by one other man took the small stove with the coals and the dead hamster to the other side of the Jesus statue, and about 15 minutes later returned with only an empty stove. I wished them a good afternoon and headed back down the hill, between the coca leaves and the shot of rubbing alcohol I had a very enjoyable walk home.

We always enjoy comments below,

Be Well,
Brent and Cassie

Monday, September 21, 2009

Still in Transit

We were hoping to write our first post from a place that we were “settling” into. However it is taking awhile for us to get to that place here is our trip so far:

September 15, 1:30am Depart San Francisco, USA
5hr layover in San Salvador, El Salvador
9:00pm arrive in Lima, Peru
Stay the first night in the airport, and second night in a hostel
September 17, 9:00pm depart for 15hr bus ride to Ariquipa, Peru
September 18, 2:30pm depart for 8hr bus ride to Puno, Peru
Stay the night in a hostel
September 19, 7:30am depart for 7hr bus ride and border crossing to La Paz, Bolivia
Stay the next two nights with couch surfer connection in La Paz
September 21, 5:30pm depart for a 13hr bus ride to Sucre, Bolivia

Here in La Paz, a city of over 1,000,000 pop. We are sitting at nearly 11,000 ft. above sea level, that’s just under the elevation of the summit of Mount Hood. Aside from the shortness of breath and occasional light headedness we are handling quite well.

We got to spend a couple of days in Lima with Amanda, its always good to have Goodness Collective connections.

We’ll post again soon from Sucre

Brent and Cassie