Tuesday, November 01, 2005

La Paz rocketh!

Although my trip from New York to La Paz took about 36h longer than expected (stayed overnight in Miami, then landed in Santa Cruz and flew to Cochabamba before finally arriving at my destination, one suitcase short), I made it! Got here Monday October 17th early afternoon.

This is the view of the city when you come down from the airport - stunning, no?

So it's been two weeks. I am still living with my mother's cousin, Lucho, and his family. Never a dull moment! There are four kids, aged 23, 21, 16 and 6, the two parents, two household helpers, a dog, and yours truly. The house is in an urbanization down the valley, which means it's a 10min drive into town. My guess is I will stay here another few weeks before looking for an apartment in town, but there's no rush.

In terms of what I came here to do... I've started volunteering at the Hospital del NiƱo a few times a week; in the Neurosurgery ward on Monday mornings and in the Oncology ward on Wednesday and Friday mornings. Some afternoons will be spent with children, and as they are generally quite young and uneducated, all pedagogic support materials are welcome! I figure if they are going to be stuck in hospital, they may as well learn something useful and be entertained while they get better!

I have also visited a couple other projects and am in the process of deciding which ones I want to volunteer at for the first few months. One thing is sure - there's a ton to do here, and a volunteer experience can be whatever you make of it. It's amazing! So if you aren't sure what to do for the next few months, let me know. Hehe.

In terms of the society... Elections were scheduled for December 4th but have been postponed because of complications (the deputies haven't been able to resolve a problem they have in terms of congress spots per province). And although the country is full of natural gas, it doesn't get processed fast enough so there have been shortages in La Paz for the past few weeks, which often leads to road blocks. The people set up the small gas containers across a street and sit on them, being a nuisance to everyone and therefore making their voices be heard.

As for the informal sector? It is stunning - I think it's what holds the country together. The Black Market here is a whole neighborhood! Unbelievable.

What else? I've met one pseudo-single person here, everyone else is in a relationship! That's considered normal from the age of about 12 onwards. Piercings are in, strawberries and undercooked porc are health hazards because they can harbour a bug that gets into your brain and causes god knows what damage, the weather is 100% psychotic but it has been mostly sunny so no complaints, and the food is delicious.

My local cell phone number is +59 1 705 64461, and if you want to send me a letter or Swiss chocolate, your best bet is to go with the following address (via my great-aunt):

Shahnaz Radjy-Crespo
c/o Alicia Quintanilla de Crespo
Casilla 7820
La Paz, Bolivia
South America

One thing's for sure - I am absolutely loving it here!

Considering the general speed of internet access (I am currently using a dial-up connection!), I think from now on I will aim for more frequent blog updates and with fewer photos each (I just tried uploading two more pictures and basically just wasted 1h of my life, ish. *shakes fist in air and swears*)...


At 10:14 PM, Blogger Uh I'm Spiderman said...

CRESPO?!?            lol. thats awesome. im going to quito in december. i'll be there for nine months! we could potentially meet up!               oh and that pic of you eating sushi is hilarious

At 8:23 AM, Anonymous Hayat said...

Hi girl, c'est moi! been a long time....everytime i try to chat with you on msn...your mum is like 'hi c'est la mama' hihi....anyway i fell apon your blog! cool can't wait to see the crazy adventures you have. So happy for you that you are doing what you always wanted its great. have fun ciao hayat


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