Monday, June 28, 2010


Things to miss: Coca cola in glass bottles, empanadas, buying food from people who cook out of their houses,

lunch with the Sanchez family

Sarita, we slept on mattresses in the living room and watched Miley Cyrus on TV all weekend. She always asks me for gum and consistently gets in trouble for eating dessert before dinner.

CHAO. For the record: Sarah, Erwin, Papacho, Chi chi, Hermana Sonia. What an incredible family! They have been so generous and kind to me. Sonia has become one of my
other mothers in my life, one of those kind and nurturing types, who shares their wisdom and life experiences with you. She is an incredible powerhouse of faith. Bolivia is kind of a long ways away to travel to, but I am glad God puts us in the path of the people we need at the time that we need them. Good times.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Samaipata- mochilero central

I went to Samaipata this weekend. It is a 2.5 hour drive west of Santa Cruz. If you don't have a heart attack on the drive up from being hurled around corners at incredible speeds, dodging donkeys and dogs in the road, and avoiding head on collisions with other cars, you will arrive safely into this little haven of touristy goodness. There are a large number of Europeans in the town that own many businesses for tourists coming to see the waterfalls (shown above), ruins, and national park in the area. Adam from the orphanage (a volunteer, not an orphan) and I were thrilled to be travelling company for each other and be able to escape dusty dinky Montero. Highlights of the trip included visiting the zoo, eating non-bolivian food (no milanesas or papas fritas), meeting many europeans, staying at hostel owned by a texas man and his bolivian wife, pancakes for breakfast, ratatouille for dinner, chocolate brownies...I was just re-reading this paragraph trying to finish it and obviously my favorite part was the food. The hike to the waterfalls was also really incredible, as was the scenery. I loved it and am now ready to come back to the States, I guess.
On the drive home I sat next to a guy from Ireland, a mochilero (hippy backbacker type), he almost had me convinced to abandon my cares and take off for Argentina with nothing but a pack on my back. val-dir-ree, val-dir-rah, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
this is the hand drawn map a adam and i used to get around town, it actually got us where we needed to be. walking to the falls
adam at the top of the falls
look at those cool mtn. peaks the town of samaipata
sarah, you should get travis to build you one of these for the kids
adam was really into the fort and play equipment
this is one of the pet monkeys that lives at the zoo. they have a couple different monkeys that roam around free, this picture was taken 2 seconds after she saw me. At first glance, she walked towards me, then pulled on my clothing to hoist herself up to my arms, where she wrapped her little furry tail around my neck, put her little arms across my shoulders and buried her head into my neck, then she licked me. it all happened so fast, i wasnt very prepared for it. everybody wants some love, right? after she hugged me she climbed up into a tree. she wanted nothing to do with adam, i think he was secretly jealous that the monkey didn't choose him.

the end.

Los Motos

The streets of Montero are full of men in vests riding motorcycles. I think this is more of a Montero thing than a Bolivia thing. For 2 bolivianos you can go any where you want to in Montero on the back of a motorcycle. Here are a couple facts about motos:
for every 1 car in Montero there are 47 motos
each time you ride on a moto you decrease your life expectancy by a zillion percent
there is a 100 percent chance that if you are white and female, you will get asked out by the moto driver
My first moto experience involved getting a ride from the plaza out to the orphanage...which is in the middle of nowhere. It reminded me of a time in high school when I was driving a 4 wheeler in the sand dunes with Landon Mathews and I went too fast up a sandy dune (I am lacking on english vocab right now). He pluncked off the back and got a face full of sand. I was trying so hard to stay on the back of the moto on the way to orphanage. We had to go on a busy road for a while mixed in with cars, trucks full of sugar cane, and large buses loaded with passengers. The driver asked me if I had ever ridden on a moto before, he must have known I was a first timer by the way I gripped his shoulder. Looking around at other moto passengers, I realized that they almost NEVER touched the moto driver, they grip the bars on the back. I quickly corrected my passenger style, but it didn't help, I still got a very firm and persistant invitation to dinner with the driver.
Thanks for reading this moto message from Montero.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Day for Emily and Irma

With the Sanchez family gone to Cochabamba, Irma (the house helper) and I took the day off and headed to the big city of Santa Cruz. Irma has been evasive of my camera, I thought I could capture her when we were riding the bus and I sat in front of her, but all I caught was her blue shirt and long shiny ponytail.

We went to the zoo. This is a really large guinea pig animal, about the size of a real pig.

Here is Irma in the aquarium area. Irma is the same age as I am. She has lived with the Sanchez family for eleven years. She always has a quick joke or clever comment ready, although you wouldn't know it from her serious expression in this photo.

this is the monkey island.

this little guy wouldn't let me take a picture of his 12 brothers and sisters sleeping next to him because he kept poking his sneaky nose through the fence. Rather than risk a snot encrusted camera lens I didn't get a picture of the slumbering siblings.

After the zoo experience, Irma and I went to the movie theater. Irma said she didn´t care what movie we saw, so I picked Robin Hood. I'm still having one of those hit your hand to your forehead moments repeating to youself, 'stupid, stupid, stupid.' It dawned on me while we were in the movie, the plot revolving around conflicts with distant France and England, swords clashing and people dying by arrow wounds, Irma falling asleep and the spanish subtitles flashing by on the screen so fast that there was little time to comprehend them, that this was a terrible choice. It was Irma's third time in her life to go to the movies and I took her stupid Robin Hood, a story she had never heard of, in english with spanish subtitles, and furthermore, the character Robin Hood, played by Russell Crowe, wasn´t even a fully developed character. I should have payed attention to the way her eyes lit up with familiarity when an option was to watch Toy Story, a movie she had heard of and it would be cool for her to tell her friends she saw it. But of course, I didn´t want to watch a Disney movie. All in all, Irma said she had a good time, and I think she did, but sometimes I'm embarrassed at how much I take for granted and how I think about myself all the time.
Random Peoples:
Here are some new friends from a nearby orphanage. I met the two Americans randomly in Montero and they invited me to come visit. The orphanage has 17 boys living there. They were kind of wild, but see how tame and trained the dog is!
Lastly, here is a woman that took out a loan from us so that she can cook food every night and sell it in front of her house. These are all her kids. We come by everynight to collect money from her because her husband will spend it on booze if we don't come get it, at least that is what I am told.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

montero y mi casa

tourists all over the world are at this very moment taking pictures of outdoor markets. i am no different, i present to you: the market in montero. there was a lot i didn´t photograph, like the cages of live chickens, the bulls head in a pan of blood, the rows of booths full of chicken corpses, and lots of really short women walking around with babies tied to their backs.

this one is for my dad:
these are the kids that live at the house where i live. let me explain, there is a store in front of the house and next to it a row of rooms (the blue wall). many people rent rooms from this house, and we all share the bathroom. my room is the second one, btw.
and here is our lovely lovely bathroom, shower on the left, toilet on the right. the shower is cold, but i really dont mind because it is so hot here. chao for now!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


my feet were so gross and crusty. i broke down and got a pedicure, for about 7 dollars, not bad!
the bike repair shop. this is one of the women who took out a loan from us.
this is the view from a cathedral tower in the big city of santa cruz. the city put up a big screen where the world cup is projected. it is really fun to be here for the 'mundial.' it's a much bigger deal here than in the US.
'ahoringa' is bolivian for 'ahorita,' which is spanish for 'right now.' the other day i thought i was clever during family home evening with the sanchez family, and when someone asked me a question i very loudly and emphatically replied 'ahoringo.' i had the wrong vowel ending- everyone laughed and i remained the 'tall white foreigner in the REI pants who wears the same shirt everyday' (pictured above).