June 18, 2005 - Our Team is Beginning to Arrive

La Paz Bolivia

A group shot before a city tour of La PazThe bright clear mountain air above La Paz Bolivia holds promise of great adventures ahead for the BAI Bolivia expedition 2005.  Team members began to arrive yesterday when Wally and Leila flew in from Miami.  Not far behind them John Freeman and Shawna arrived on a flight from Lima, Peru.

Landing at El Alto Airport above La Paz remains to be one of the most beautiful and unique experience one can have in commercial air travel.  A flight from Miami takes only 6 hours, yet it is hard to image how one could travel further in cultural or climactic time.  The early morning flights that land at El Alto come in just as the sun is rising over the Andes.  The air is cold and clear, with glaciated peaks all around and the colourful city of La Paz just waking up in the canyon below.

Our group of mountaineers will begin hiking and climbing at altitude around Lake Titicaca and in the Condoriri and eventually on Sajama soon enough, but as has been the case on past BAI Bolivia adventures the experience begins in this fascinating city.  Our hotel has amenities and luxury that perhaps belies the rugged mountaineering image our group would like to project.  It was here in this hotel not long ago that I saw those accomplished adventurers and hard men, Alex Willis and Jack Maxwell getting manicures! (see BAI dispatch archives for the incriminating evidence),

Bob arrives looking in La Paz looking fresh and happy.On our first afternoon here, Leila and I were quick to contact our favorite masseuse in the world, Claudia, who works in the hotel spà and has been working the knots out of our airplane weary muscles in La Paz for as long as we have been coming here.

Yesterday, Juan Carlos, John and Shawna visited the National Museum and drove and hiked around La Paz getting familiar with the area.  The fine examples of pre-Columbian pottery at the museum are a special love of Juan Carlos and he enjoyed describing them to John and Shawna.

Just a few moments ago a remarkably fresh looking Bob Burnett arrived on today’s flight from Miami.  Any moment now we expect to see Scott Wagner come in off the Varig flight from Brazil.

Miguel is running today’s La Paz city tour.  Remember that touring and any activity at all amounts to acclimatization in La Paz Bolivia at 12,500 feet (3810 meters).  It has been reported to me that Shawna is quite the shopper!  We trust that her aerobic conditioning and acclimatization will benefit from all her pursuits while she is in this beautiful city.

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