Saturday, September 3, 2016

Visa Trip to La Paz


In order for Franco to travel to the United States, the first step in the process was  to get a passport. Once we had the passport, the application was done online, and the application fee paid at one of the local banks. Finally after completing the steps, we were given an interview date in La Paz, the capital of Bolivia.

The city of La paz is about a 7 hour bus ride from Cochabamba where we live, so we took the bus (for  $4.50 each) to one of the highest cities in South America. At almost 12,000 feet altitude, La Paz is a beautiful city, surrounded by mountains, and breathtaking, literally. Even with altitude medicine, the symptoms of altitude sickness start to kick in.


Thankfully, a good friend from college, Ludi lives in La Paz, and helped us find a place to stay, and took us to dinner!


The next morning, our sweet host guided us to the American embassy. We avoided morning traffic by using the cities cable car system for only 50 cents each! We finally arrived for the visa interview (4 hours early just to be safe) and took care of some last minute details for the visa. Once we were finished and had only 3 hours to kill, we walked around the city a little before running out of breath.
 


For lunch, I was very excited to find a Subway across the street from the embassy! Cochabamba does not have one, so it was a special treat! A little before 1:00, we returned to the embassy to wait in line. At 1:30 Franco went in for his interview, and I went to an internet café nearby to wait and pray. I´m sure it was not as long as it seemed, but it was a good time to pray and remember that God is in control, and He is good, whether the visa turns out accroding to our plans or not.


After getting the good news!



After an hour and a half of waiting, Franco walked in with good news! He got the visa!!!!!! Although I had mentally prepared for the answer to be no, I was very relieved to hear the great news.



Since we had to be back in Cochabamba the next morning to teach at the school, we headed immediately to the bus terminal, and bought the cheapest/most reliable option back to Cochabmba. We calculated that we should be home around midnight if everything went smoothly.... HA!



About three hours outside of La Paz, we came to a stop at a small store in the middle of nowhere. Our first thought was bathroom break, but then it seemed too long to be a bathroom break. Then, one of the indigenous women in front of us gathered her stuff and climbed off of the bus. She returned shortly, clearly angry. Speaking in Quechua she announced something to the other passengers, and soon half of the upper level of the bus had gotten off. At this point, Franco and I decided to see what was going on, and were met with a crowd of angry passengers surrounding the driver of the bus.



                                                      Outside of the bus terminal in La Paz





We never did figure out exactly what went wrong, either a small crash, or mechanical problems, but whatever the issue was, the bus was not going any farther. I hadn't planned to start hitchiking on this particular trip, but unless we wanted to spend the night on the side of the road, it was our only option.


Thankfully, after about an hour (and lots of truck drivers turned down) a bus headed to Oruro (the next town with a bus terminal) picked us up, After about an hour and a half, we arrived at the next bus terminal and purchased a ticket for the 11:00 bus to Cochabamba. From there we had about 4 1/2 hours to Cochabamba, and arrived safely around 3:45am. Almost midnight!





It was an exhausting/productive trip, but we are so thankful for God's provision in the big things, and the little. Thank you for your prayers throughout the process!






 

4 comments:

  1. Praising the Lord for all His provisions

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  2. I am so excited for you guys! Haha I teared up when I read this. But I love you both and yet again, God is good. Always, He is so good!

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  3. Yikes! So glad he got his visa though! As far as beauty, I'd love to visit La Paz but I get really bad altitude sickness so I'm not sure I'll ever try :( - Denise

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  4. Glad you all got the visa and were able to get back to Cbba. What are you teaching at CCS? When do you travel? Love following your blog.

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