Saturday, June 14, 2008

We're back...

So we made it back to Bolivia with no problems and got to see a very lovely town. There was no trouble at the Bolivia border so we are now legally living here again. We didn't even have to pay the fee we anticipated for staying longer than our visas permitted.

The town we went to was called Arica, Chile. It's the northern most big town in Chile and was the closest for us to get to. It was a very nice town and we had fun exploring the city. It was on the beach but also sort of in a desert. It is winter now here in South America so it wasn't tourist season and we were practically the only North Americans there. Everyday started off cloudy then became sunny around lunch time and warmed up to about 70 degrees like clockwork. So it wasn't exactly swimming weather but very nice for strolling around. Even though we didn't go swimming in the ocean it was just nice to sit on the beach, see the waves and smell that salty, ocean smell. And we did a lot of walking over the three days we were there...a couple miles each day probably. The city was built perfectly for walking we did just a map and walked everywhere.

It took about 13 hours to get there and the bus ride was long but very pretty. Here are some pictures of the way there...

Yes, that is snow. It was very cold for some of the trip.

The City

The main street of the city was a pedestrian walkway and it was always filled with people. One thing that made us realize we were used to Bolivia was that it was really hard for us to get used to the fact that pedestrians had the right-of-way in Arica. Another thing we had to get used to was that nobody ate dinner until at least 8:00 and some restaurants didn't even open until then. So we had to force ourselves to eat later so that we weren't the only ones in the restaurants.

A beautiful church in the main town square.

The big hill that the city was originally built on.

Our favorite store in town.

The Beach

I thought that this scene was interesting and a wonderful illustration. The blue little building is an alter or memorial to two people who had passed away and below it it says "Christ lives".

One cool thing was there were interesting and inspiring phrases painted all over the city. This one says "Our character is the result of our conduct". It was just one of many.

El Morro

So we decided to hike up to the top of El Morro which was
this hill where the city was originally built.

The beginning of the path. Looks very inviting, huh?

The path from about half-way.

The Chilean flag at the top of the hill.

The view of the city from the top.

A statue of Christ that overlooks the city.

The view from the other side.

So now we are fine for another 90 days then we need to leave again and come back. Then when we're in the States we have to get a visa that we can use to get our one year visa. All of this is because Bolivia just recently changed their immigration policies for US citizens. And we didn't find out the changes until last week when we tried to get our visas in the same way that all our other teammates had but it didn't work for us. It's quite interesting being told that you need to leave the country and there is really no way around it. We maybe know a little more how immigrants in the US feel.

So we think we figured out the best and cheapest way to get all of this business taken care of. Hopefully it all works out. Thanks for all your prayers for this step...we really appreciate it.

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