Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Getting to Bolivia

[4 February to 5 February 2017]

With our last minute preparations done, washing the last clothes we needed, packing the last items (turns out I forgot my shaver charger – the only thing we have realized was forgotten to this point two weeks into our stay here!), our sweet Becky came with Howie to give us a ride to the airport.

Our sweet daughter Becky


We flew out of Salt Lake for Dallas, and were hosted in First Class. I think it must have been because our visas and flight booking happened late – just on Wednesday of this week, and First Class was all that was available. I won’t bore you with the gory details – a warm, wet washcloth to clean your hands, a cup of warm, mixed nuts, a fresh gourmet salad with broiled chicken, and a hot chocolate chip cookie with milk for desert. All served on china and linens. None of that low class pretzels, paper napkins, and plastic cups with soda pop for us. And, I actually had leg room to spare!

From Dallas to Miami, we got the regular service back in row 30. Cramped, uncomfortable, etc. But it was only a couple of hours.

In Miami, we found out that First Class was even better than the Salt Lake to Dallas route. In addition to the food (way too much – a big dinner at 10:30 pm, and a big breakfast at 4:30 am), we had lie-flat seats, allowing us to actually get a few hours of sleep between meals:
Lie flat seating - sleep is possible in First Class

Leg room to spare

Dinner at 10:30 pm

Breakfast at 4:30 am

We arrived in La Paz, Bolivia at about 5:30 am, and just waited in the plane for about an hour. They had to inspect everything and allow the additional passengers to board before flying to Santa Cruz.

When we arrived in Santa Cruz, we went through customs, got some Bolivianos (my Utah First debit card got retained for a bad expiration date [not] – good thing I planned for a backup with my  Wells Fargo Debit card) and then went to the BOA (Bolivian Airlines) counter to get our tickets to Sucre. We were hoping to get the 9:15 flight, since the next flight left at 12:20. When we got to the counter, it was 9:10, but the flight was delayed, so we were allowed to get tickets for that one. That allowed us to get to Sucre by about 11:00 am, where we met President and Sister Hansen.

They took us to lunch, but due to the food on the airplane, we really didn’t have a big appetite. Then we headed for Tupiza with them in the mission SUV. We took naps and visited with President and Sister Hansen. It was really quite an enjoyable ride. Unfortunately, I only got one picture:

We drove through Potosi, and arrived in Tupiza at about 7:00 pm. The Hansens put us up at the Hotel Mitru – reportedly the best hotel in Tupiza, where we unpacked enough to get some rest. We still didn’t feel much like eating, so we just grabbed some yogurt (the good, drinkable kind), took a quick walk around the motel neighborhood to get a feel for Tupiza, then went back to the motel went to bed for some needed sleep.

We’re happy to be here. Here’s a picture of the motel property. We’re happy to be here.

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