Sunday, May 23, 2010


Just so you are aware, this will be quite the long post since it will include a lot of details about our incredible 2 week vacation to Bolivia (for journaling purposes)! Seriously, though. This is probably the longest post you will ever see...... It was such an awesome opportunity to be able to return to my mission with my best friend and beloved husband, Cortney Taylor. It was great to see people that I haven't seen in 3 or more years. I can't believe how fast time flies and how much can happen in 3 years. Here comes the epic tale....... are you ready???

Days 1 and 2: Monday 4/26-Tuesday 4/27

We spent the few days before Monday preparing and packing for our trip. I had to work on Sunday night, and Cortney stayed up late getting the rest of things ready, so needless to say, our flight to Bolivia was long and tiring. (look at the guy in the background - it was tiring for him, too!)

Mary, Cortney's mom, dropped us off at the airport and we were off! Our flight left around 12:40pm. We had 2 layovers, one in Texas, and the other in Florida. We got to eat at Popeye's during our layover in Texas. We finally tasted the goodness that we see on TV in the commercials. Ha ha! Our flight from Florida to La Paz, Bolivia was about 8 hours long. We even got a free dinner out of it! Cortney played video games half the night and then finally fell asleep for about the last hour of the flight (crazy kid!). We got to La Paz around 6am and waited on the plane another 45 minutes 'til we left for Santa Cruz. Here's some aerial views of La Paz.

Beautiful, eh? I had been through La Paz once, but it was dark. What a beautiful area! We arrived in Santa Cruz around 8am Tuesday. From the airport, we headed to the hotel (La Sierra) and slept for most of the day. When we woke up, we went to find some food at a hamburger place called "Toby". Then we just went back to the hotel and rested some more until Wednesday came around!

Day 3: Wednesday 4/28

Today we slept in to try and catch up on sleep to better be able to enjoy the vacation. After breakfast, we got on a micro (pronounced mee-cro), which is a bus, and we headed to one of my areas to visit people. It was so awesome to be back again! We tried to visit one of the sisters who got baptized in my last area, but she had left for work already. So we headed to the house of the Llanque family. This whole family was baptized just a few weeks before I finished my mission. I just love them! When I left, they had just had a baby, and now that baby is a little 3 year-old girl! Their kids had grown up a lot too. It was sooo good to see them again! After visiting them, we headed to Hermana (Sister) Juana's house. She got baptized a few weeks before the Llanque family. She took us to lunch - our first official Bolivian type food meal - fried chicken, rice, and cold fries (the fries are usually cold because they cook them and let them sit for awhile - ha!). She's a cute, funny older lady. She couldn't believe we had come to Bolivia to visit! It was awesome to see her. This is a picture of me and her when I was still a missionary. She let me dress up in her traditional Bolivian outfit which some still wear all the time. She also did my hair in braids like they do. These skirts are called polleras (po-yed-as). Awesome, eh?

After lunch, we headed back to the hotel and rested for the rest of the day. It was great to be able to introduce Cortney to everybody that we visited.

Day 4: Thursday 4/29

This morning, we went back to my last area to see if we could catch Carmen y Papo before Carmen went to work. It was such a sweet reunion! Carmen was baptized at the same time Hermana Juana was. Carmen's husband was a member, but inactive. So we spent a few months with them, activating her husband, Papo, baptizing her daughter Angelica, and finally helping Carmen and Papo get married so she could be baptized. It was an awesome experience and we became really great friends. It was sad to leave Bolivia because of all the wonderful friends I had made. It was great to see that family again! It was also great to learn that a year after she was baptized, they had gone to the temple to be sealed as a family! I don't think there is any greater joy than learning that the work you did on your mission made a difference in someone's life and in the life to come! I just love them! It was cool for Cortney to finally meet them!

For lunch that day, we went to la familia Zamorano's house for lunch. For the first part of my last area, we lived at their house. At the time we lived there, their youngest child was a 2-year-old girl. She was my shadow and would call me mama. Now she's a big 5-year-old who is in kindergarten!
It was fun to see them and to spend a little time with their family. After lunch, we headed to Hermana Vicki's house, where we moved to as missionaries after living in the Zamorano family's house. I just loved seeing everybody! Everyone loved meeting Cortney and were amazed that he spoke portuguese. Almost every single person we visited asked us when we were going to have kids. It was pretty funny! Then they would proceed to say, "Then you can bring them here!" or "Then you can send them here to me to take care of!" I love how Bolivians are so open about everything! Ha!
In the afternoon, we headed to a Bolivian art museum. There were some pretty interesting paintings and figures...

That night, we headed to la familia Tome's house to eat and have a good time! They are a family from my second area that we taught for months. They are awesome!

From left to right: Mateus, Gina, Thaiz, y Robson

This picture has the same people as the photo above (minus Thaiz), as well as Carmela (Gina's mom, to my right), and her sister, Betty.

We all think that Mateus looks like Justin Bieber. SO....we made him sing the song "Baby" by Justin Bieber in order to get some candy. Ha Ha! The meal they made was delicious! Gina used to make us food all the time, and I do say that she makes some of the best Bolivian dishes I've ever tasted! It was fun to spend some time with them. It was more fun for Cortney, too, because he could speak portuguese with Robson and some other people there who spoke portuguese!

Day 5: Friday 4/30

We left the hotel this morning around 8am to get to the bus terminal in order to buy some tickets. We traveled all day (about 9.5 hours) to a town at the southern tip of Bolivia called Yacuiba. Yacuiba was my third area. It's on the border of Bolivia and Argentina.

It was a beautiful drive!

A huge fishy in the middle of the fishing town of Villamontes..... (on the way)

Because we spent so much time on busses during this trip, we got a lot of reading done (okay, so Cortney got a lot of reading done)!

Cortney finished 2 books and then some! I on the other hand, spent my time looking out the window and sleeping :) We arrived in Yacuiba around 6:30pm. We walked to a family's house from the terminal that I knew. It was la familia Flores - they fixed us lunch everyday when I was in that area. They are awesome! It was good to see them again. I love that seeing people again was like having a family reunion with people you haven't seen in years! When we got to Yacuiba it was dark outside and because they had changed their house, I didn't quite recognize it! It wasn't until I put my ear near the window and heard their daughter, Fabiola, laughing that I knew we were at the right house!
After visiting for a bit, their son took us to our hotel - Hotel Paris! It was a lot nicer of a hotel than the one we stayed at in Santa Cruz. We ate dinner at the hotel restaurant (yummy yummy yummy!) and then turned in for the night, weary from our travel.......

Day 6: Saturday 5/1

Today was a lot of fun! We started out the day visiting my landlords (I know, kinda weird). They were awesome! They aren't members of the church but they were always supportive of what we were doing as missionaries and would feed us occasionally and just were awesome, friendly people! I decided we'd visit them first so that no one else would feed us and we could just go into town for some lunch. The thing is, when you're in South America and someone offers to feed you lunch or give you a drink or food, you can't say no. When they invited us to eat lunch with them, I said yes because I knew they were sanitary food handlers (unlike some other people in the country of Bolivia :) We had a delicious lunch of fish! It was tasty!
Here are the peeps! Our landlords are Don Abelino and Gladys (the man in the red shirt and the woman in the blue shirt) I just love them! And yes, they gave us each a huge fish!

But, let's just say that the people who catch the fish don't necessarily refrigerate it between the catching and selling time. So later that night, we definitely were feeling the effects of the deadly fish.......thank you, South America! We love you!
After lunch, we headed back to the house of la familia Flores. Their daughter and her husband, and their daughter-in-law were there visiting with their kids. It was sure great to see them again and introduce them to Cortney!
After chatting with the girls for a bit, we went to the branch president's house - President Padilla. Their family is so awesome! They have approximately 9 kids. I think. 8 or 9. Yep! While we were there, the missionaries assigned to the branch came to their house! It was good to see that they were working hard in the branch! Yeah! After that, we went to the house of la familia Yupanqui. Hermano Domingo Yupanqui was baptized one day after I left this area. His whole family were members (and his sons had gone on missions) and after many years he finally decided to be baptized! It was great seeing them and checking up on them....
On our way to la Familia Yupanqui's house, a taxi passed us and stopped on the side of the road and I heard this "Hermana!" and it just so happened to be Hermana Caty, one of my most favorite sisters I got to know. And, the funny part about it was that we were going to head to her house after we visited the Yupanquis! It was great to see the Vargas family again! I just love that family! Fernando (Caty's husband) is the district president of the Yacuiba district. She teaches institute. They're just wonderful and I sure do love them! They weren't in the branch that I served in, but she did so much for the missionaries and let us come over all the time on P-days to do laundry and just hang out. His mother is living with them now - (and his grandmother too!) - she's the one on my left.
After a tea time of rolls and butter/jam, hot chocolate/fake coffee, we headed back to the hotel to watch some TV. Yeah!

Day 7: Sunday 5/2
Sunday was great because I could see a LOT more people at church that I had forgotten where they had lived (I know, isn't that terrible?) and it was just great to be there again! It was great to have Cortney there with me and to introduce him to my favorite people! Here are some photos from the day at church..... ( I wish I could've gotten pictures with more people...)

I was able to go to both branches - one in the morning, El Carmen and the Yacuiba one (the one I worked in) later in the afternoon. In between churches, we ate lunch and then headed on a micro to the border! We just wanted to take some pictures and to say that we went to Argentina too :)

Lunch time.....
On the border bridge......
The wonderful river bed........welcome to South America! We came to the conclusion that the Argentinean side was cleaner than the Bolivian side :)

The market shops before the border....
A cool monument in the park......
More shops.....
A statue of Christ on the way back to Yacuiba.....
The beautiful mountains of Yacuiba.....

After church ended at 6pm, we headed to Hermana Caty's to say our goodbyes. Then we headed back to the terminal to buy our tickets for the next day. After going to 3 or 4 different companies that said they had no tickets to Santa Cruz for the next day, we finally found one that did! The trouble was that we didn't bring our money with us because we wanted to make sure and reserve some tickets. It was around 7pm and they said they'd hold our tickets until 8. SO, we hurried back to the hotel, got the monies, and made it back to buy the tickets for the next day by 8. It was crazy! We got the tickets though! I was pretty worried about it, actually! Our goal was to travel to Santa Cruz during the day Monday so that we could head to Cochabamba during the night on Monday night. Then we went back to the hotel to relax for the rest of the night and get some rest for the loooooooong journey on Monday.

Day 8: Monday 5/3

We woke up this morning just in time to get some breakfast before we headed to the terminal to load the bus and travel to Santa Cruz. While eating, I had a thought that I should probably take out some more money out of the ATM because I didn't know if we'd have a chance in Santa Cruz before we had to go to Cochabamba. So, I reached into my backpack for my gold card case. I pulled it out and realized that my credit card was not in it. My heart sank! I frantically took everything out of my backpack but the credit card was no where to be found! I looked quickly through my suitcase and it wasn't in there either. I ran up to the room to see if it might be within the sheets of the bed or under the bed or behind a dresser or something. Nope. I LOST MY CREDIT CARD IN BOLIVIA, PEOPLE! The last time I remember having it was the night before when I had taken money out for the bus tickets. Then I remembered putting it back in the room before we left to go buy the tickets. Whoops! I was scared as to what might happen to our bank account. Lucky for us, we both brought our credit cards, so Cortney had his. We took some money out, and prayed that it was just lost somewhere and that someone wasn't making unauthorized purchases. Luckily for us too, the city that we lost it in has hardly a place in it where you could use a credit card. Plus, our wedding picture was on the card, along with my very American name, DeAnn Taylor. Internet purchases are pretty much non-existant there, so that was good too. We weren't going to be able to check our luggage until Tuesday morning in Cochabamba, so we just prayed that everything would be okay.
Now, back to the trip. After breakfast, we headed to the terminal. We got there in time to sit around for a bit, say a last goodbye to la familia Flores, and load up on the bus!
What a great, short little trip that was to Yacuiba! I loved it!

In Bolivia, it is not uncommon to see a white Mennonite family every once in a while. Most of them come from Germany and are here farming in Bolivia.

They even sat on the same row as us. The little girl (about 10 years old) kept staring at us! Like for hours! You know, FULL ON STARE! HA! You know when you catch someone staring at you and usually they turn away? Not this little girl! It was pretty interesting! (She has her head turned in this of only a few times she wasn't staring at us)
It was a fun, but long trip back to Santa Cruz. I actually got some reading done on this trip! Here are some interesting pics from the trip......

A lunch place on the side of the road....
Preparing freshly caught fish to sell...... (in the most hygienic way, too!)
The market....
This was at the halfway point where the bus stopped for a potty break. This sign painted on the wall says: "Don't pee here - demonstrate your education" HA HA HAHAHAHAHA!

We arrived in Santa Cruz around 6:30pm. We immediately searched around for tickets to Cochabamba. Luckily, there were some nice ones we got (for about $7 per person - really expensive) and the bus wouldn't leave until 9pm. We got in a taxi and headed to Pollo Rocky's! Some of the best fried chicken in Santa Cruz! I like that place a lot! Our taxi driver that took us to get food was awesome! I'm always a little leery about taking any ol' taxi in Santa Cruz because of a bad kidnapping/robbing experience I had on the mission. But luckily, this guy was a minister of a church and was really awesome! His taxi was super run-down, but we got to Pollo Rocky's and back safely and having made a new friend! At first when we were looking for a taxi, I saw his taxi and felt pretty good about going in it. We waited there for a few minutes though because the passenger he had before needed to pay him still. When his prior passenger came back, he got back in the taxi to be taken around the block. In Bolivia, I have a strict rule about getting into a taxi with anyone else but the driver. When I told the driver this, he looked at me and said, "Hey, we're Christians, don't worry about it!" and I felt safe from then on. He was cool. We picked up the food and headed back to the terminal to wait for our bus to leave.

We got to be in the comfortable bed seats on the bus. They were posh! Dirty, yes, but posh. It's a 10+ hour drive to Cochabamba, the majority of which we spent sleeping. The weather in Santa Cruz is usually hot, so that is what we were used to. When we arrived in Cochabamba in the morning, it was freezing cold! Our jackets were packed inside our suitcases, so we just cuddled up close to keep from freezing to death! Ha!

What a relief it was to finally reach Cochabamba - after about 19 hours on a bus!

Day 9: Tuesday 5/4

We arrived at the bus terminal in Cochabamba around 7:30am. From there we rode a taxi to the temple! It is such a beautiful place and it was so wonderful to finally arrive at our somewhat final destination (for now, anyway :) )

There was definitely a wonderful spirit when we arrived within the gates of the temple! We loved being here! They have a hotel at the temple, so we paid about $3.50 per person to stay the day and the night at the hotel. It was really nice too! Comfy beds,

water you could actually drink from the tap, being able to put the toilet paper in the toilet, etc. etc. It was a beautiful thing! We took a nap for about 4 hours (it was definitely needed!) We also bought tickets so we could eat some good Bolivian grub for lunch in the temple!
We had one small dilemma, though. Cortney accidentally forgot his temple recommend. Luckily, the temple president worked with us and called the bishop and stake president to get the "ok" for Cortney to enter. I was so grateful!
Here are some awesome pictures of the beautiful temple!

After lunch, we decided to head to see El Cristo! It is a HUGE statue of Christ at the top of a hill overlooking the city of Cochabamba. It's beautiful! We rode up on a gandola (instead of climbing the thousands of stairs up the mountain) to the top of the hill. It was awesome! The view was great too!
This is a soda we bought. The information we found on it was very entertaining - the first drop says energy - as if it's a sports drink. The second drop says low in sodium - really? Doubtful! The third says "Contributes to the hydration" - ha! Really? I think they're taking advantage of the uneducated :)
Here are some pics from the top! It was beautiful!

We thought this picture was funny. The caption for this picture is, "El Cristo, proudly brought to you by Pepsi"
After adventuring to the Cristo, we headed back to the temple to do a session. It was great! There were some couple missionaries from Arizona that were really awesome! And the temple president saw us before the session and teased us about Cortney forgetting his recommend again...ha ha!
This is the temple at night......beautiful, eh?

After the session, we headed to a chicken place recommended to us by the temple security guard. It was delicious! While we were eating in the restaurant, there were a couple of kitties that kept trying to sneak on in! It was hilarious! That was the funniest part of the night! After eating the meal, we headed back to the hotel and packed up to get ready to leave again in the morning.........
This was a garbage can at the hotel........ ha ha ha!

Day 10: Wednesday 5/5

This morning, we woke up around 5:30am to be able to get to the terminal on time to buy some tickets to Santa Cruz. Our bus was supposed to leave at 7:30am, but we ended up leaving closer to 8am. It was way chilly in the morning in Cochabamba! As the trip wore on, though, it warmed up. A lot! Did I mention there isn't air conditioning in the busses in Bolivia? And, we happened to sit toward the front of the bus - where the windows didn't open!!!! We nearly suffocated, really. We probably might have sweated like crazy. The trip was about 10.5 hours long. It....was...soooooo.......long! But way beautiful! It was awesome to see the interior of Bolivia! Here are some pictures from the day........
This first one is a Taylor family inside joke - but I had to put it on here......

Look at the field patterns in the background. The stacks of straw (or whatever it may be) were pretty fascinating!
Awesome little town - cool field patterns in the background
Beginning to get into the jungle!!!!! This was sooooo beautiful! So breathtaking!

This next photo was by a stop we made in the middle of the jungle where they had to search the whole bus for illegal substances/goods. The cops treated us like we were criminals because we are white and from the United States. Yeah, we were scared. But when they didn't find anything illegal in our bags...........dumb checks. There was another check like that later in the journey, too. Scary stuff! They treat you like dogs because you are different! Lesson - even though people are from a different country, we can at least treat them with dignity and respect, and try to put at least a little trust in them!
This trip was sooo gorgeous!
When we got back to Santa Cruz, we basically had no plan as to where we were going to stay the night. We didn't want to go back to the hotel we first stayed in because it was noisy and the bed wasn't comfortable. So, we just took a taxi to one of the member's houses who owns a taxi and could take us to a hotel later that night.
That night we spent some time with the Llanque family. They got us the traditional donuts and Tampico to share with us. It was good to be with them! The husband was working far away and couldn't come - so we didn't see him the whole trip. :(

Ghilber, Jonathan, Angheli, Me, Flora........
Awwww, cute!
Cortney and the fam!

Us and Angheli! She was a just a baby when I left my mission!

After we spent some time with them, we went to the Medrano's house - the mom, Noemi, was the pensionista in my last area - or in other words, we ate lunch with their family every day. They are my favorite! We hadn't seen Noemi yet so it was good to see her again and introduce her to Cortney! Their daughter, Yovana now has a cute little baby (Danna). After we visited with them for a little bit, her husband, who is a a taxi driver, took us to our new hotel, Hotel Asturias. It was a really nice hotel, compared to the other ones we'd stayed at. It even had a pool! The continental breakfast there was phenomenal! It had toast, bread, eggs, fresh delicious fruit, hot chocolate, cereal .... it was great! ANYWAY, so we got to the hotel, unpacked and headed to the grocery store to get some food for dinner. We got sandwich fixins and yogurt - it was yummy! Then we just relaxed and went to sleep early - twas a long day!

Day 11: Thursday 5/6

Today was a really relaxing day! We slept in, had breakfast, and then headed to Carmen y Papo's house for lunch. We had lunch with Carmen and her sister-in-law, Scarlet. Then the kids came home from school and we spent some time with them! It was so fun to just hang out with the family! And their bunny! Ha ha!
This is Braiton - he sure became friends with Cortney fast!
Braiton, Christian, Me, Angelica
Angelica doing Cortney's nails...... ha ha!

Hna. Pilar, Papo, Carmen, Me, Bunny, Christian, Braiton
Cort and the fam!

I just love this family!
Afterwards, we went to Papo's mom's house to see his sisters! They sure loved Cortney and thought that he was handsome! They loved our love story too! There's a lot of estrogen in that house :)
It was good to see them all!
We then went to the Zamorano's house to do some good ol' fashioned South American laundry! Yeah! When we were done, we headed to the central park and ate at a pizzeria! It was a nice relaxing day!

Day 12: Friday 5/7

Today was another great day! We woke up and headed to the Zoo! It was awesome! We loved the zoo because it had a wide array of tropical birds (among other awesome animals)! Here're the pics!

An awesome tree...

This is a stump that we think looks like some type of rodent, or something.....
Yep, this little guy was out of his cage :)
We saw this ant-eater at work! It was so cool!
This big guy was out of his cage too! He snuck up on us as we were sitting on the park bench! Ha Ha!
It was funny - he gave me a 5 (well, kind of, he touched my hand) and then smelled his hand - ha ha! It was hilarious!
The birdies!
The armadillo!
Sweet pay-phones! Who uses those anymore?

After the zoo, we headed to the central park to eat at a delicious Brazilian place! Cortney was in heaven!
Then we hung out at the central park for a bit! We saw lots of doves, and toured the cathedral!

Then it was ice cream time at Bits'n'Cream! Yeah!

Afterward, we headed to pick up our laundry and to visit an investigator I had taught and her family (Hermana Ivana). They are such a cute family! The only reason she didn't get baptized was because her "husband" wouldn't marry her. We spent a lot of time trying to help them become a better family! I hope one day they will get married! I made sure to pass on to the missionaries where she lived so they could try and help them again! Yeah! They also had another child in the last three years! Crazy how so much happens in 3 years! I love this family!
Adriana, Me, and Ivan
We then headed to the hotel to chill for a bit. Then we headed to my second area to visit a bunch of people! We visited Fernando y Claudia, Kelly and Mariana, La familia Moreno, and Hermana Crespo (my pensionista from my second area). We had dinner at her house - fake coffee and avacado and tomato salad sandwiches. It was delicious! I really love her and am grateful she was able to meet Cortney.
Day 13: Saturday 5/8

Today was quite the relaxing day as well! We woke up when we headed to el centro to do some shopping! Yeah! We bought some awesome souvenirs! Woot! For lunch we went to an awesome restaurant called Casa del Camba. It's a great steak house and has a lot of typical food from Santa Cruz. We ordered some chicken and some steak, but somehow the order got mixed up and they brought us an array of typical food was good, but I was really looking forward to the steak!
Afterwards, we headed back to el centro to do some more shopping. But not until we had taken a picture of me and Toby. Ha!
After shopping we went back to the hotel to relax and watch the tube. Then we wanted to go bowling, but when we got there, the place was packed! So we decided to just buy some more fixings for sandwiches and just relax! Yeah!

Day 14: Sunday 5/9
Sunday was a great day! We went to La Merced ward at 8, and then the Charcas ward at 9! It was so wonderful to see everyone and introduce Cortney to them. Yeah! More pics!

Hermana Eva
Hermana Yaqui
Mariana y Kelly
Rodolfo y Carol
Afterward we went to Gina's house and she invited us to eat lunch! It was soooooooo good! She had made peanut soup - which is my ultimate favorite, along with cheese rice - my other ultimate favorite! Yeah! She cooks so well!
Afterwards, we relaxed at the hotel for the afternoon! Then we went to Piccolo for dinner. On the way walking there, we found this sign. Cortney served his mission in the Fortaleza, Brazil mission, so we thought we'd snap a shot of this......
Here's the mustard container.....
We had maracuya juice - and it was amazing! We drank so much of it, it made us sick! Ha Ha!
Then we headed back to the hotel and started packing our stuff! It was a great awesome day!

Day 15: Monday 5/10
Today was our last full day in Bolivia :( Saddness of America. South America. First of all, we headed to Carmen's house to say goodbye. Who knows if we'll ever see her or anyone else in Bolivia again. It was a sad day! After saying goodbye to Carmen, we went to the Medrano's to say goodbye. Noemi was at school, so we didn't get to say goodbye to her. But we snapped some shots with the kids.
Yovanna y Danna
Then we went to Danna's dad, Freddy's house. He had surgery earlier that week and wasn't at church. He was one of the first baptisms in my last area. He's way cool! It was good to see him too! We then dropped some stuff off at the Sauna Family's house. Their granddaughters got baptized when I was there too! Unfortunately, none of them were there :(
We then ate lunch at the Zamorano's. We love them!
This is a photo of a goat we met on the way to their house.......

And a milk "truck" (not the actual truck in the back) .........

Here's us waiting for lunch!
And the fam.......
Me, Yaqui, Alex, Adrianita, Eric, Diego, and Cortney (behind the picture)
And the model, Adrianita! (mi hija!)
Then, we went to el centro again to shop some more! We bought some typical Bolivian treats!
Then we went and got some more ice cream at Bits'n'Cream! Yeah, a little extreme. But hey, where else can you get a huge ice cream treat to share with 2 people for only $2.50? Ha Ha! Later that night, we went to hang out with la familia Eguez. Claudia made us a dish called "Sonso". It's a Bolivian dish that is basically mashed cooked yucca mixed with cheese. It is so delicious! Yeah! They are so fun to hang out with, too! I love them!
Claudia, Fernando, Claudia, Pequito, Me, and Cortney...........
We took the bus back to the hotel (it drops us off a couple blocks from the hotel) and it was THEE most CRAZIEST micro ride I've ever been on! It was one you had to pray for and hold on for dear life! I swear he almost killed someone about 8 times! It was nuts! But awesome! What better way to remember our trip! Ha Ha Ha!
Here are some pics from our hotel.......
Our hotel key.......

The flowers........

Beautiful, eh?
After we got back to the hotel, we finished packing our stuff and then went to sleep early to prepare for the long journey for the next day!

Day 16: Tuesday 5/11

We woke up, ate breakfast, and then took a taxi to our destination - the airport! After paying the airport tax (ridiculous), and checking in, we were ready to board the plane! Since our flight was so long, we got a small breakfast (aka sandwich and cookie).......

and a delicious lunch of roast beef! Yeah! Not to mention, the delicious dessert of flan....

We got a lot of reading done! When we arrived in Miami, we had to go through customs and re-entry. Well, I guess I filled something wrong out on the customs sheet (like, I put both me and Cortney's names on one sheet, when there's really only supposed to be one person's name) and before we even knew that, they told me I had to be checked out by security. So they took us to this locked down room, with no other white/english speaking people. We just sat there for minutes waiting to know why they had even brought us in there! I overheard one of the security guards telling a spanish man that there was an FBI hold on his name (or another person by the same name) so they were having to hold him until they figured everything out. That really freaked me out! We didn't do anything wrong! After about 30 minutes of sitting there wondering, they finally called my name. When I went up there, they told me we weren't supposed to put more than one person's name on the paper (which is supposed to be for the entire family - or one paper for two+ people) and that was why I was being held. SOOOOO, they cleared me and we were able to leave the jail/locked down room. Talk about scary!

After that, we had to pick up our baggage and re-check it in. After doing that, we could finally eat! We ate some real American pizza at CPK! It was soooo good! Especially after the long flight and experience! It was nice to be in the states again, with CLEAN flushing toilets and people speaking English. The trip was amazing, but it really was so good to get home! We arrived in Salt Lake around 11pm and we got home around midnight.

It was such a wonderful opportunity to go back to Bolivia with my husband to visit all the people I know and love! IT WAS AWESOME! We will always remember this awesome vacation!

Total time on a plane: 24 hours
Total time on a bus: 36 hours
Total time on a micro or a taxi: several hours!
Total miles: too many to calculate!

Things we loved about our trip:
Bolivian continental breakfast
Cheap souvenirs
Cheap food/candy/beverages/icecream
Cheap, but quality hotels
Seeing all my beautiful peeps!
Feeling the love from everyone!
Fanta and Coke
Things everybody would say like "When are you going to have kids?" or "You look skinnier!" or "You look fatter than when I saw you last!"


  1. Wow. That was a long post. I loved reading about your trip. I just can't believe how much time you guys were on the bus! PHEW! The pictures were so neat too... that's great you'll always have those to remember the people by.
    Glad you made it safe!

  2. Anda...que viaje!! How fun you were able to see so many people with your hubby! Loved seeing all the pictures and all the sweet people. Yes, I even loved the mostaza photo...documented. :) You had me on the edge of my seat when you were clearing customs--glad you made it back! Phew! Happy trip!