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All Sorts of Thievery

In reference to Kim’s comment on this post, yes. I do think robberies are that common, but only in the big cities. But you know big cities. I’m surprised I lived in NYC for four years and never got mugged. (But I did get masturbated-on in the subway.) Thievery and crime are common in big cities. My blue-haired niece was mugged in Paris this spring. She and a friend were at an ATM in the middle of the afternoon when they were accosted by a gang of kindergartners who got all their money out of the ATM and ran off. You just have to be careful in big cities.

We’ll only be in La Paz for a few days and we will be very careful. As for while we’re on the trail, I read that we might run into some ranchers with guns who make us pay a “toll” before we continue on, but as long as we pay they will let us go, no problem. For the record, I am getting all of my information from the U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Consular Affairs. You can read it yourself and tell me if you think I’m running big colored crayons over reality. I might have a habit of doing that.

Besides. If we really have to worry about anything, it’s altitude sickness. (Do me a favor and don’t ever google “altitude sickness” when you’re getting ready to spend three weeks over 10,000 feet.)

This is very likely going to be the last time I post until … some time after we get back. It could be weeks. I have no idea what work is going to look like. I know I’m going to BlogHer ’11 less than a week after I return. No, I could not have planned those trips a little further a part, really, I would have if I could have. But it’s going to be fabulous and I am very excited about it.

I expect the next two weeks are going to be insane as we try to wrap up work, household, and last-minute Bolivia things. I just can’t keep every plate spinning, so I’m letting myself off the blogging hook. If I really had my sh*t together I’d have planned for some guest posts or re-posts of old favorites, and maybe I will magically pull my sh*t together enough for that before I leave, but I’m not going to bet on it.

Now would be a good time to add me to your RSS feeder if you haven’t all ready. Or if you don’t know what an RSS is, email me at aseriousgirl [at] gmail [dot] come and I will email you when I get back to the states and start blogging again. I mean, you’re going to be DYING to hear all about how this trip turned out, aren’t you? Won’t you just be quivering with anticipation? I sure would be.

And now I present to you:

712map

A map of South America. That I borrowed from this website. (I’ll take it down if they ask, I swear.)

Do you see Bolivia? In there between Paraguay, Peru, Argentina, Brazil, et al? That is where we’re going. Eleven days from today. (We’re going to have a safe and wonderful time. We’re going to have a safe and wonderful time. We’re going to have a safe and wonderful time.)

(This is me breathing.)

P.S. Dopey is in Kenya this month, helping to build a school for orphaned children. Dooce just back from Bangladesh, where she helped pregnant and birthing women who need medical care. I’m going for a freaking hike and I can’t even breathe. I think (hope!) this trip is going to be very good for me.

(Not) The Garden Center, The End

Two cliff hangers in one week? (If you can even call them that.)
(Not) The Garden Center
(Not) The Garden Center, 2

By the time we made it back to the car, we actually felt pretty good.  For the last ninety minutes of our trek we walked  a wide trail in beautiful country. When we got home there was still plenty of afternoon left to go to the Garden Center or putter around on the balcony for awhile, but we were so exhausted, we fell asleep on the sofa in our hiking clothes. Except I didn’t sleep. Mike slept and I sat there making lists in my head until I thought I might explode. Then I got up and started chores.

We had wanted to hike San Jisento this weekend, but Mike’s been asked to pick up some extra shifts at work. And it’s ok, because I don’t think I’m ready for a ten-hour day and a thirty-pound pack. However, I am kind of excited to train this weekend.  Even if it’s only a six hour walk, even if it’s mostly uphill, even if there are bees and sweat and stickers. I just don’t want to have to use my trekking poles to hold foliage away from my face. Is that too much to ask?

wild flowers

I took this photo of wild flowers at least two hours before the business with the stickery waist-high weeds. There were no photos taken of the stickery weeds. Misery is not conducive to flora appreciation.

(Not) The Garden Center

apricot

Taken Sunday, May 15, at the Garden Center.
(You guys. It’s a baby apricot!)

We love the Garden Center. It’s our favorite place to spend a Sunday afternoon. We love it so much we spent the morning of our fifth wedding anniversary at the Garden Center, then we spent the afternoon planting our treasures and tending our little balcony garden. It was the happiest day of the year.

We try to spend at least an hour together, every Sunday, working in the garden. This often involves a trip to the Garden Center for a bag of soil or something and it’s wonderful because it’s garden + shopping = love, you know? But this Sunday we didn’t get to go to the Garden Center. We didn’t even get to work on the balcony. No, no. Instead we spent four hours stomping around in waist-high grasses carrying twenty-five pound packs on our backs.

It’s not that the backpack was heavy. Because actually, my backpack felt great. The weight is evenly distributed across my hips so that I’m literally lifting with my legs. Last weekend I had burns and pale bruises from the hip straps after only two hours, but this weekend, after four hours, my hips were fine. Plus, I am totally working out butt muscles I didn’t even know I had, which is awesome.

And it’s not that my feet hurt, because my feet felt fantastic. Mike had a couple of hotspots, but he didn’t get any blisters, and I didn’t even have hotspots. My hiking boots are like giant blocks of oddly comfortable wood. They are awkward as anything in day-to-day life but on the trail they are the best thing I have going for me.

I didn’t even mind when we were hiking uphill for fifteen minutes through a field of wildflowers so full of bees the air was vibrating. (I am horribly, awfully, terribly, very, very badly phobic of bees.) But I wasn’t thinking about the bees because I was distracted by the sweat pouring down my face, into my contact lenses, rendering me nearly blind. (I think it was the polyester shirt that made me sweat, because Mike wasn’t sweating at all in the sixty-five degree breezes.)

The part that did it for me was the part where we were hiking through knee-high stickery weeds for thirty minutes, followed by waist-high thorny weeds for another ten, until we came to the over-Mike’s-head stickery thorny bushes. That was when Mike finally stopped and said, “This sucks. We’re turning around.” Up until then he’d been stopping every ten minutes or so to say something like, “Look at that view!” Or “Do you think that’s a rabbit den?” To which I would roll my eyes and grumble, “Hmph.” Or “Whatever,” like a moody teen.

Why did I have to act like that? Because if one more branch of Goldfish-knows-what whacked me in the face I was going to f***ing kill someone. That’s why I acted like that. Not that it’s a good excuse, but still.

I’ll tell you the rest tomorrow…