Landing in El Alto – La Paz airport
After flying close to three hours from Bogota, we landed in El Alto, at a bit higher than 4000 m.a.s.l. After a simple immigration process, at 3:30 in the morning a lady driver got us to our hotel in La Paz. It was great to see El Alto again and I started to realise how big is growing. It is a kind of another city close to La Paz.
Sleeping at 4:00 a.m.
It was fantastic to go through La Paz’s streets and observing that Bolivia’s capital city has had a lot of investment in infrastructure. All looked nice and clean, and it was a good start to see and feel Bolivia’s development under Evo Morales/MAS government. At 9:00 we had breakfast and went to attend our first meetings. Before driving to Oxfam’s office I measured my pulse rate and haemoglobin to see if all was at the levels recommended by my GP: 94/47, 93/57, 90/45, have been the average measures, which is great! Better than that, I have felt quite well. Yes, walking slowly, but adapting to living at 3,600 m.a.s.l.
First feelings of La Paz
It is a beautiful city, with a lot of people on the street, all walking slowly, a lot of talking and beautiful parks and architecture. When we were going to our office it was great to watch the Ilimani peak, full of snow, brilliant in a sunny day. After 20 minutes or so, we were at Obrajes, where Intermon, Oxfam Quebec and Oxfam GB share a house. I met all my new colleagues. Some of them had met Manolo some weeks/months ago. We started working and I started to place myself in the new role of leading the 2020 strategic programme.
People here love all types of meat. Not knowing yet about the vegetarian options, I went into trout for my first lunch. For my first dinner we went to a restaurant which has been founded by the Danish and Bolivians, and they are making delicious dishes using the enormous (impressively enormous) variety of Bolivian dishes. DELICIOUS.
Plato Paceno in Api Happy
Today I went to have lunch with my colleague Ricardo. I had a Plato Paceno: it combines products from the valleys and from the high lands, potatoes, choclo, fresh cheese and broad beans. All can go pretty well with good llahua (hot spicy sauce made from tomatoes, locotos and seeds). For drinks we had: Mocochinchi, which is made from dried peaches, and Huilcaparu, an Andean cereal. After paying I got from Vilma a frequent client card!
Watching the preparations for the Entrada
My hotel is placed in Sopocachi, close to Plaza Bolivia. When I was having dinner I started to listen drums. A lot of young women and men from the university were practising their dances for the Entrada that will happen on coming Sunday. Watching the dances of some 200-300 young people and listening to their traditional music was the best way to start this first contribution to our Orange Tree.