Getting there: Making our way to Santa Cruz

Ludi and Josie enjoy the BOA flight from Miami to Santa Cruz.

Our 2023 adventure kicked off at the ungodly hour of 2:30 a.m., when we awoke to go to St. Louis Lambert International Airport. It was Ludi’s birthday.

In this post and the next, I’m going to cover the logistics of our trip, plus recap the first two days, which were spent almost entirely on transportation: flying, driving, and sleeping.

Continue reading “Getting there: Making our way to Santa Cruz”

Back in Bolivia, 2023 edition

Our family poses at Laguna Hedionda.

It’s been a few years since our last full-family Bolivian adventure. But we’re back!

From the beginning, we knew this journey would be quite different from the others we’ve made here. In the years since our last full-family trip …

  • We lost our oldest daughter, Jadzia, as well as Yoli’s dad, Don Hector
  • We gained new family members, including Melany’s husband, Ariel; and their son, Adrian.
  • American Airlines stopped flying to Bolivia
  • Santa Cruz has kept modernizing, changing some of the old patterns we were familiar with.

Since our children are now old enough to really remember this trip — and Ludi will be finishing high school before we know it — we thought now was the time to try taking a big adventure outside of Santa Cruz. We had to scale back our early ambitions of touring several cities in the altiplano, and instead we settled on taking a three-day tour in the Salar de Uyuni and its surrounding deserts.

In the past, I have often tried to blog in real time during our trips. That hasn’t really worked out this time. We’ve had little or no internet access for most of the first 10 days of the trip.

Instead, over the next few days I plan to share a retrospective account of our Uyuni trip, and then give a few updates later about our time in Santa Cruz visiting friends and family.

Our rights at the border

That I hate the changes to U.S. airport security since Sept. 11, 2001 is no secret to anyone who has traveled with me or has listened to me talk about my travels.

On Daring Fireball, John Gruber linked to an eye-opening story by Paul Karl Lukacs on his blog “Knife Tricks.”

Basically, Lukacs refuses to answer questions posed by passport control agents. His stance is that a U.S. citizen cannot be denied entry to the U.S., and that once a citizen has furnished proof of his citizenship and a written customs declaration, he is not obligated to answer any questions.

On this particular trip from China, he was detained in San Francisco for refusing to answer questions.

The blog post has caught attention across the web. To me, the guy is a hero. This passage sums it up for me: “To the extent that people decline to assert their right of privacy, it slips away. Lack of vigilance by citizens begets more government power.”

What do YOU think about this story? Share your thoughts below.

More pics than you can shake a stick at

I was able to borrow a USB cable Saturday and worked on our trip photos later in the evening.

I had originally planned to update my previous blog entries with the photos that matched the stories. However it has taken too long to work on these photos (my Pismo PowerBook G3 is getting long in the tooth), so I’m just dumping them all into one big, new blog entry. I hope you enjoy.

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The road to Samaipata goes ever on

To follow up on our posting about Monday, we had a really fun time at Yoli’s parents’ house. We visited with three of Yoli’s sisters and their children. Jadzia and Ludi and Josie played well with their cousins, and Don Hector delighted in showing off his cable television channels to me. Much mate and many little breads were consumed. Yoli also brought some springerle cookies for her family to try.

Tuesday we spent the morning eating breakfast and later Yoli ran some shopping errands while I watched the girls at El Jordán.

Continue reading “The road to Samaipata goes ever on”

We’re here, it’s raining, and this internet cafe sucks

We arrived yesterday after a long flight. Jadzia did well on both legs of the flight and in the airports. We were surprised.

When we got to Bolivia, Yoli’s mom and two of her sisters were there to greet us. Unfortunately after such a long trip, I don’t think Jadzia was ready for anymore new people or things. She cried for a long time. We eventually calmed her down and were able to nap a few hours (neither of us got much sleep on the plane, unlike Jadzia).

Since then, Jadzia has done well. She’s met her grandparents, some aunts and uncles, and some cousins. I can tell the weather is a bit warm for her, but she’s doing well.

An interesting note: In the U.S. almost everyone would tell us how much Jadzia looked like Yoli. Here, it’s different. They all say how much she looks like ME! Go figure.

I would like to write more, but this internet cafe is really awful and I’ve already lost this entry once and had to re-write it. When we find a better cafe, I’ll post more. Anyway, we’re safe and sound. Hope you are, as well!

P.S. I am pretty dumb. I left both my computer’s power cable and the iPod’s firewire cable at home. I’m not sure yet if I’ll buy replacements (or be able to find them)