Wednesday, June 11, 2014

And .... We Are in La Paz

So, upon request, I've been asked a few times to explain myself for why and how Danielle and I ended up in La Paz instead of going all the way through to Santa Cruz.

Let me explain a few things first though. It is very unusual for me to be this persistent.  However, here were our options:

1) Go to Santa Cruz (like planned) on Wednesday June 4, land on Thursday morning, get all of our very, very heavy luggage, catch another flight to Cochabamba (which means repaying all of the luggage fees), travelling to Vinto (where Meghan and Andre live) in a small taxi, unpacking a tish, and then repacking and going back to La Paz on Thursday evening.  That would give us time on Friday to start our visa process during the week and then attend a wedding on Sunday.


2) Go to La Paz on Wednesday. That would give us time Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday to work on our visa. Plus, we had friends there waiting and expecting us.

So, I was unusually determined to get off that plane. Which looking at the situation, it really shouldn't be that complicated. The plane was stopping in La Paz anyways. People get off. People get on. Then it continues through to Santa Cruz. All I wanted was to get off with all of our luggage.

I asked 8 different times. 8 different people. Here were my responses....

1) Unhelpful man through booking company, "Sure, let me look into that. It will be $1400 each to stop in La Paz".

2) Unhelpful man through American Airlines, "Nope. I'll have to rebook your ticket and charge $200 change fee to each of you plus the difference in the price of the ticket".

3) Lady 1 at DIA when we were checking in said, "Nope. I can't print a different ticket unless I change your flight which means I'd have to charge your a fee and the flight difference."

4) Lady 2 at DIA when Lady 1 walked away, "Ya... that's not possible without buying a new ticket".

5) Lady 3 at the Gate in Miami, "You will have to talk to the officials." Me,"what officials? Where?" Lady, "when you get there."

6) Flight Attendant, "It is against the government. You can't do that."

Now we have landed in La Paz, people have gotten off and officials are coming in to check carry ons and security. The door is open and I can see the city right outside. I wanted off so bad! But, at that point it felt too late and I hesitated asking.

7) Official 1, "Well... no. If you would have asked earlier maybe, but it is too late now."

8) Official 2, "Well... no. I mean, maybe. You should have asked earlier. How many bags do you have? Color? I need names. Give me your tickets."

He pulls out his walkie talkie and starts communicating that we need 4 bags off. I felt relieved that someone was finally taking action but nervous because it was so last minute! People were already boarding the plane for the continuing flight! We were asked to step to the front of the plane, then step off the plane. We could hear conversation over the walkie talkies and they kept expressing that they didn't have the bags. Now I was nervous that 3 bags would come forward and 1 would get lost in Santa Cruz. Which was a very high possibility.

Then, all of the sudden, "go ahead ladies, they have your bags." I still didn't fully believe them. Not until we walked around the corner and then there they were! All 4 safe and sound! Yay!!!!

The End :)

Colonel Roberto Guardia

As I am sure many of you have heard we have arrived here safe and sound to Bolivia!! We had few issues at the airport...with the exception of our sudden change in plans. Our original plan was to arrive from La Paz to SantaCruz, and take another flight to Cochabamba. Please read Karly's post on how we ended up staying in La Paz.

So we end up staying with this incredibly nice family in LA Paz. At the time all I knew was that the wife and children were witnesses and the father was not and worked for the police department. We took advantage of being in LA Paz and got started right away on getting our residency. (LA Paz has all the government buildings there)  After going to get the requirements from Interpol, we get back to their home. Ade (the wife and mother) asks us what we need from Interpol and as I am reading the list to her here comes the father in uniform. We introduce ourselves. A very intimidating man at first.

After finishing the list, Senor Roberto Guardia (the husband) takes the list and says he will take care of it and get us all that we need. Of course I don't argue with the man. I readily agree and listen attentively as he tells me what he needs from us. He leaves to go back to his office and tells us to meet him there later that afternoon.

After he leaves Ade tells us that he is the Colonel of Bolivia. He is second to the highest official position. Next is General. So, needless to say this man's got power in the system! As we later came to see, just the mention of his name demands attention....and we are staying in his house. The Colonel's house!

Longer story short, he helped us get all the paperwork that we needed to turn into Interpol. All of the documents have his name and signature on it so no one questioned us. Residency process is half way finished! Turns out, Karly's unexplained persistence worked out in our favor after all. :-)

After getting to know him, he turned out to be a very loving, sweet, caring person. He gave us a lot of safety tips and advice and was always eager and ready to help. We turned out to be great buddies.

Something very interesting too is that Awake actually interviewed him. There is a paragraph and picture in the July 8 2002 page 4 awake. His name again is Roberto and in parenthesis it says (Bolivia).

How crazy is that?! :-)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

August, September,...June?

    Where has the time gone? It honestly seems like yesterday Karly and I were sitting in front of the laptop, hearts beating, mind racing, as we decided to click that oh so finalizing button..."confirm". And just like that we were officially going 'back to Bolivia'. At the time (Sept 2013) I knew I had 8 months to prepare yet again for this exciting adventure. Now, 8 months is solid right? Plenty of time to save, buy all the necessary items, tie off loose ends, etc. Here's the problem: that "8 month" mentality never left my mind. 8 months never turned into 7, 6, 5 months. I always had 8 months left. Then suddenly, it was May! Time to give my notice at work, notify the bank, buy the remaining needed items, and hardest of all, say goodbye.

    And here I am. June 3rd. Mere hours remain before departure time. Am I ready? Do I have everything? Will it all run smoothly? Only time will tell.

    But with all the worry, thoughts, and emotions, the encouraging words recorded at Isaiah 41:10 fill my mind. "Do not be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be anxious for I am your God." And then suddenly, everything is ok :-) 

    I am so eager for this exciting chapter of my life to begin. And am even more eager to share it with you all! More posts, pictures, and wonderful experiences to come!

Danna B