Getting Started!

Trip Start Sep 17, 2012
Trip End Dec 06, 2012

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Greetings Parents, Loved Ones and Stalkers!

Your offspring are currently in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and are having the time of their lives.

It has been five days since we met each other, in beautiful Estes Park in Colorado, where we were
housed by the YMCA of the Rockies for orientation.

Our group is a zoo… Noah the narwhal, Evaline the elephant, Jake the jaguar, Wyllie the coyote, Margret the mouse, Robert the raptor, Julie the jellyfish, Hannah the harbor seal, Cruz the cougar,
Oliver the owl, Tyler the tiger, Allison the aardvark, Kyle the kangaroo and John the jackrabbit; as well as our wonderful leaders Shawn the snake and Jo the joey. (Shawn devised an animal-based name game to augment our memories.)

We spent three days participating in team building activities and preparing for
travel through South America. After fully exhausting the topic of diarrhea we
were ready to leave, and spent the next 32 hours unexpectedly lost in the wide,
wide world. Our dear friend Wyllie (coyote) met a personal hero in the Denver
Airport, conveniently while sporting this musicianīs face on a shirt. The day
before both teams received high fives from Daily Show correspondent and actress
Kristin Schall.
After witnessing fantastical lightning above Miami during our 8
hour flight to La Paz, our transit came to a dramatic close when the planeīs
hydraulics failed, forcing us to land in Santa Cruz at 5am, rather than in La Paz.
Sleepless hours spent in the Santa Cruz airport (except for those who
found some shut-eye on the airport floor) finally yielded a flight directly to
Cochabamba and our adventures in this amazing town began early. We received a
surprise welcome in the form of “The Final Countdown” from a marching band that
was awaiting the return of two Special Olympians adorned with medals.

We have spent the last two days exploring and getting to know each other even
better. Today we made an exhausting pilgrimage to the summit of a mountain just
outside of town. Awaiting us at the top was a large statue of Jesus Christ. This
statue, locally known as Christo, is just slightly larger than the famed statue
of Christ in Rio de Janeiro, to represent the time after the resurrection and to
prove that Bolivia is cooler than Brazil.

This afternoon, our group embarked on a fantastical hunt for treasure through the narrow (and congested) streets of Cochabamba. Some call this quest a “scavenger hunt”, but we are no scavengers. Without a doubt, the most rewarding treasure was the discovery of numerous local
tongue twisters, repeated dozens of times by frustrated locals. Also on our list was the location of a large, black, cadet cap desired by one of our leaders, Shawn, who sent us out to do the dirty work.

After our exhausting search, we were greeted by our Cochabamba director, the lovely Jean-Carla, who took us out for a lovely meal and a jazz concert in the plaza.

But our adventure  so far hasnīt been all running through busy city streets and dodging the continuous stream of motorists. Much of our time has been spent catching up on rest in the rooms of our Hostel, playing cards, cracking jokes and talking about home. Everyone is excited to be here and while we miss our families and friends, weīve quickly become acclimatized to this foreign land and also become very comfortable with each other. For some of us, sharing rooms is a hint of the college experience yet to come, for some a reminder of college days passed; but for all of us it’s a comfort to be surrounded by friends.

-Robert and Evaline
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Dave Graham on

Love the Jesus "high five" and the aardvark!.

David Ward on

Hey !
A big shout out to my grandson Cruz !
I love you Buddy !
Sounds like you all are having a wonderful adventure...
Wish I was there...enjoy !

Kathy Clements on

John Healy, we are reading with great interest in your trip. Have a wonderful time.

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