Above the Clouds

Green caps and gowns filled the campus as restless seniors waited to take their graduation pictures of their favorite spots around campus. I finished walking (then dancing at the end) across the stage to get my diploma, signifying my transition from George Mason University student to alumna. So what do I do now that I graduated?

Well, I took a plane straight to Bolivia.

The high altitude immediately hit me and arriving in La Paz, my friend made a makeshift bed where I can lay down until I could stand again. We drove throughout the capital passing markets filled with bright colored shawls and carts carrying freshly squeezed orange juice. Instead of a metro system, the Mi Teleferico has cable cars soaring through the city hills. Looking down you can see houses stacked, scattered soccer fields and skyscrapers level with the gondolas. In Cochabamba, I hiked up to El Cristo and explored The Boulevard. In the outskirts, Villa Tunari led to many adventures. Starting with a hike through Marchia Park, monkeys climbed above my shoulders and swung through the treetops. Legend says an old sorceress lived in the forest and trained the monkeys to steal things for her (see picture below where one almost grabbed my phone). Since it was my first time visiting Bolivia, the tour guide made me sit in the front of the raft when water rafting. As I was enjoying the view and calm waters, we turned the raft quickly and I toppled into the Chapare River. I clung to the oar extended out to me and everyone could not stop laughing. We went to a cliff and after many minutes of peer pressure from my friends, I finally gave in to jump off the cliff. Three hours away we visited the village of Aiquile where by day we rode horses around the town and at night stared at the stars on the rooftops. On my bucket list was to see the salt flats in Uyuni (a few scenes from Star Wars: Rogue One was filmed here). We stayed in a hotel (Sal) where the bed, floors, drawers-everything- was made completely out of salt. We took a tour along the flats, stopped by Cactus Island, and took pictures where rain fell and depicted a giant mirror.

My trip from Bolivia is one I will never forget, but I would always remember how kind and full of life the people were. 

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