First day

We had a great first day in La Paz. Got up at 7 am, walked 15 minutes into town, had omelets, a mango slurp, and a capuccino  at the coffee shop Breeze, met Juli who run Se Habla La Paz. Charlie had a 2 hour lesson with Alexa – she said he was the perfect student – while I found the farmer’s market (disappointing – very few vendors, very little produce), a new coffee shop (said by one of the farmer market gringos to be terrific), the EDF office again (Gabby was helpful), and some interesting stores and displays.

After his lesson we talked back, munched a little, and took a 1.5 hour break. Jumped into our piece of shit rental car, went to the Budget office in town and convinced them to give us a new car, which required a trip to the airport. On the way to the airport we bought him a cell phone and tried to find St. John’s Academy – no luck. Easy return of the car at the airport, then a not-so-quick stop at Walmart to price bikes and buy Charlie a notebook. After lots of inquiries – all by Charlie – we finally found St. John’s. Met the headmaster and several delightful administrators who were welcoming. Still opportunities for him to enroll there even as a casual observer seem limited.

Returned to our house – hotter than hot – for a little down time. Simon, the British property manager, came over to fix Charlie’s air conditioning – didn’t work last night – and now all the air conditioning works fine. He also got Charlie’s phone working, so you can try to call it – unclear if it takes international calls (update: it does).

What we learned:

  • A new bike/helmet/lock from Walmart will cost ~ $250 – much cheaper then renting. Simon is going to buy the bikes, I’ll pay him, and he’ll buy them back at 75% cost when we leave. We risk the cost of loss/stolen, but still seems worth it.Internet connection here is poor, Skype is spotty, and ongoing geometry or English tutoring with someone in the U.S. could prove frustrating. So I know you think I should have arranged it beforehand but I’m not sure now that how well it will work to have U.S. tutors. Juli from Se Habla referred me to a geometry/math teacher, so I’m going to explore that.
  • House is great. Air conditioning is mandatory at night to sleep.
  • We can’t upload video on the DSL line (we can see fine, it’s just that the upload of data is slow)
  • We’re planning to try McFisher’s for fish tacos tonight.

Feels like a very full, rich, fun day. The newness is enlivening. Charlie was a trooper all day – no complaints about walking or being my translator (ok, a few complaints about translating after the 10th person we stopped for directions to St. John’s).