As I mentioned before I am teaching computing this year in our high school in Lima, Peru. We had a two week winter break between semesters, and I was invited to come to Bolivia to give a class on web page design. Never missing an opportunity to visit Bolivia, I immediately accepted. In the past I have been affected by the altitude when going directly from Lima (which is at sea level) to La Paz (which sits at 12,000 feet above sea level). Consequently this time I first went to Cochabamba (at 8,000 feet) for five days to adjust to the altitude there, and I was so glad that I did.
Lima in the winter is not terribly cold — probably 50 degrees or so — but it has a humidity which soaks everything and makes it feel much colder. It was such a delight to step off the plane in Cochabamba and be greeted by sunny skys and 75 degree temperatures. The nights were a little chilly, but compared to Lima they were wonderful.
Each year my province sends the newly professed friars down to Cochabamba to study Spanish for ten weeks. It was during my trip down in 1999 that I fell in love with this part of the country. This year the students were in Cochabamba and so I was able to meet them and congratulate them on their vows.
After five days in Cochabamba I flew up to La Paz and was once again back in the cold. Luckily the altitude hasn’t affected me (I recommend Cochabamba first for anyone going to La Paz from sea level), but the cold is terrible. And, of course, none of the houses here have heating so I am sleeping under three blankets and praying that there’s hot water each morning for a shower.