Monday, August 27, 2007

Stranger than fiction

I'm sure that is what the local Cochabambinos thought when they saw Maggie go by this sunday. She is accompanied by her personal body guard, Thomas. We have been warned that if you bike alone, on the little used but beautiful city bike trail, you may be stopped and robbed of your bike. Not sure if the thiefs would be able to turn a profit on roller skis. I think the city planners were 20 years ahead of themselves when they put in this trail. No one seems to know what to do with it.
A special week here at the local barrio catholic parish of "Divino Nino Jesus". Each day contains a special mass. Next sunday is the benidiction of the bicycles (we will bring our new bicicletas (bicycles)to be sure!)not sure if the blessings will work against theft or breakdowns or accidents, but we'll take anything. I went by myself to misa (mass ) last sunday to this neighborhood church. Next time I'll venture out to some of the really old classic cathedrals. Catie

Sunday, August 26, 2007

view out the door of montecillo clinic

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inside the new clinic

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montecillo alto

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Getting out of Town

Yesterday was an amazing day. I spent the night at friends Tony & Patricia (from St. Paul originally)Got up at 3:30 am and went with Patricia and her daughter Anna with a group of volunteers from a really cool NGO called Mano a Mano (see link on our blog page). Mano a Mano Bulids ,stocks and opens meidical clinics and schools that are then eventually funded by local communities and mano provides continued training and equipment to the clinics. Our mission was to do the set up of equipment, stocking, and inaugurating of a newly finnished clinic high in the mountains 3and half hours from Cochabamba. An amazing trip throughthe high dry alpine, the lakes were rimmed w/ ice at daybreak and there was heavy frost on the sparse grass. We passed grazing llamas, sheep, horses, and spare homesteads on our climb to over 13,000 feet. The work was fun, the people, wonderfull, and the inauguration rewarding knowing that a staffed clinic offering basic health care , traditional and western medicine, will be available to this region for the first time. I definately had a mountaintop experience I'll try to attach some photos. To learn more about check out

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Our Neighborhood

Here is a picture of a beautiful tree that is in bloom all over the city right now. I was sad when I saw the petals starting to fall, but then noticed the tree next to it was just beggining to bloom, so They will be around a bit longer. This tree I see from our kitchen window. The round-about behind it you can see on the Google Earth snapshot (left). No clouds or rain for months this time of year. Not sure how these trees manage to put out all these flowers with so little water.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

back to school

personally i think it is unfair that i have had homework for 2 weeks and every one at home is just coming home from vacation. the school we go to is called AISB(American international school of Bolivia) . There are 10 kids in my grade from 4 different countries and 3 different contents, we all go to the same classes and have the same schedule so it's impossible to get lost (almost). i probably have about 10 different classes over the whole week and our schedule is different every day which is crazy, but keeps it interesting. all but 2 of my classes our in English but the kids speak Spanish in the halls, it's amazing almost all the kids in the school can speak 2 or more laungues. i did try to take Mandrian... but what i didn't know was that it was taught in Spanish, so i was entirely lost, half the time i didn't even know what language they where speaking let alone what they where saying. but we talked to the princible and we decided i could help kindergartners instead.... that was not mush better, imagine 7+ 5 year olds all trying to explain the rules to a game to you in Spanish, and when you say you don't understand they just say it louder and louder until i had them all screaming at me, luckily they have short attention spans and went to all trying to fit on a slide platform that was 6feet tall and had an area of 2 square feet. why didn't i ever learn to say be careful or don't push her off the slide please?
so over all, all is well .I'm starting community service at an orphanage after school on Monday, so we'll see about that.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Edificio Maria Luisa (the Maria Luisa Building)

Well, we signed a 10 month lease and unpacked our suitcases. Ended up in a different apartment then we thought we had a verbal agreement with. While waiting for a confirmation from the original place, went to see another (this one with furniture), and took it. If you have google earth, go to Cochabamba and find the stadium. We are 5 blocks west of the north end of the stadium. A local described it as an older middle class neighborhood. We are on the top floor of a 5 story apartment, each apt. takes up one story. This is a photo looking west just after sunset. Feels really good to be settled. The building (Edificio Maria Luisa) is named after Grandma and everyone in the building belongs to the same family. Kids the same age as ours and grandma and grandpa here too. Had us down for a visit this evening. Grandma showing me how to store money in my bra so I don't get ripped off. Tom and Maggie mostly healthy again after a flu bug. Catie

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Holy View

We are kinda late getting this up, we just moved hotels ,from dead center in this one to the far left thought you might want to know. If we understand our agent, tommorrow we finalize our rental agreement for an apartment . Its in the same block as the hotel we're in now so a short move. Mags and i fighting low level flu symptoms... school is good (and challenging) for the girls... we hope the house hunting is over... next furnishing it.
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Christ parting the electric poles

Yes , one of the lesser known miracles. note the holes we climbed up inside and took the next photo out of one of the holes.
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sunday hike

We hiked up to Cristo de Concordia this was the veiw of the city below

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Monday, August 13, 2007

1,300 steps to Christ

Sunday we all got out walking by 8:30am. Took the bike trail around town to the bottom of the statue of Christ and started up. I had the GPS out and we started at 8,400 ft and ended up at 9,300 ft! 1,300 stone steps to get to Jesus's feet. For 2 Bolivianos we went in side the statue and took a photo out one of the small holes. Our legs were shaking when we got to the bottom. Many families and fitness nuts making the climb.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

August 9th Cate

Well, we are beginning to get our feet under us, but we are still in a hotel and only have until Tuesday to find a place to rent, unless we want to move to another Hotel. It is really hard to get a place to rent with furniture, so we are considering buying furniture and then selling it when we leave. Today we went to “La Cancha” (the market) which is a giant kind of outdoor market that is probably 10x10 blocks in size. We priced furniture to see how much it would cost to outfit a place at least bare bones. It was quite interesting trying to find the parts of the market with mattresses, and then kitchen appliances and then living room furniture. They are all in different corners of the market, and if you do find something you like, are you ever going to find that particular stall again? Tom said it would be a great place to use a GPS, next time I’ll bring ours. It will probably the only GPS that will have Sofas and Refrigerators for waypoints. That gave me the idea to create a GeoCache somewhere in the market. Hmmmm….
The girls have missed out on our escapades with our real estate agent, Gloria, as they have been in school. (Gloria is facinating. She is about 1/3 the size of me, takes steps only about 8” long, has the most delicate spikey high heels and is continually sheilding her face from the sun with her date book held to her forehead. She is very cosmo and can hail a taxi and roll her eyes more stylishly than any I’ve seen so far.) So today right after school, we took the girls downtown to see an apartment and let them get the feel for the neighborhood. Instead of a glassy apartment on the fifth floor, which this one was, I’d really like the second story of a house behind a gate with tipica wooden windows and bouganvilla blooming in the window box with a nice garden in the courtyard a couple blocks off a main plaza. We saw something almost perfect except it is too far out of town and we would like to have our location more central so we can walk most places. Hopefully Gloria will come through for us.
Public transportation is wild here. There are radio taxis you order by phone that hve a set price depending on where you go, regular taxis you hail on the street, people impersonating taxis you mistakenly hail on the street, Trufis which have certain routes designated by a route number on top of the car, and then small buses which also have routes. In La Paz they had vans with a driver and a “caller”. The caller yells out the window anytime he sees a person standing by the side of the road a bunch of street names all rolled together very fast. If the person doesn’t respond, the van driver keeps going. I haven’t seen those in Cochabamba however. We have to ask the cost everytime before we get in a cab, as they always charge way too much as we are gringos. Most rides are about a dollar for 4 people in a taxi. Trufis are about .20 cents if you can learn which route numbers go where. We haven’t tried the buses yet. I need to work on getting all six feet of me in and out of very small taxis more gracefully. I hope to look like a giant Gloria by April.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

one cloud spotted

a veiw fom our hotel
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are we there yet?

Hey we made it, below is a picture of the girl's school... kind of an odd first photo from Bolivia... we are still getting familliar w/ this computer and programs etc.. more soon ,every thing going smoothly... here is cate...We are transitioning pretty smoothly. No sickness so far, our spanish is more sufficient than I thought it would be, so communicating with realtors and venders is doable. Won't understand much of the lease paperwork I am sure. We'll just sign at the bottom and call it good. Kids have made it through thier second day at school and are exhausted, but positive about it so far. They are blown away at the bi and tri-lingual kids, how they can go back and forth sentence to sentence. Cochabamba is very nice. Climate to die for, beautiful vistas of the mountains and lights of the city. We are looking for a house or apartment and having fun peeking behind the gates of the Cochabambinos (this is really what they call native Cochabambans). As in much of urban latin America there are walls around every yard and wrought iron gates and and window bars so walking on the streets you really don't get to see into the small gardens and houses of the occupants.
We are trying to decide between an apartment up a elevator in downtown or a ground level house type thing. More later. Love to all, Catie

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

switching gears

Our family just returned from Bristol Bay to the lush trees and bright flowers of Anchorage. I'm sure to most of you Anchorage would not be described as lush, but after miles and miles of tundra, beach grass and mudflats thats what it is.

The river system we fish in, Ugashik had the largest return of salmon since they have accurate records, (1960) over 7 million red salmon. For a fisherman this means you had your chance and you better have gotten a few. We did, and we are currently in the 5 day window where the numbers that keep flashing behind our eyes are the gross and we feel like we have money. We will have to do some banking in the next day or so and divvy up the money and as the 5 day window closes we will realize that most of that money really belongs to someone else and the numbers will dim from the neon Gross to a black and white Net. But at the moment we are having fun in sin city and relaxing our sore muscles.

For some reason its extremely hard to think of anything else but fishing when you are fishing. (One of the things I like about it). But now I feel like I have just woken up and I am remembering that we are going to Bolivia. In 2 days. Sureal enough to be a dream. So today its: vaccinations for the girls, banking(yuck), shopping for a laptop, confirm airline and hotel res., and beefing up the wardrobe a bit. (I was just going to wait till I got down there to buy pants etc, but my friend who recently spent a winter in Ecuador said: "you are probably going to be the tallest woman in South America."

I have a couple of fishcamp photos I will put on later. Catie