Saturday, May 8, 2010

A small plane adventure

Dad and I flew to Santa Cruz Bolivia on Monday, May 3rd, at the invitation of the mission president and his wife. Santa Cruz is a city of rings: the inside rings are the down town, prosperous families, high end stores, high rise apartment and office buildings, flowering trees and landscaped parks. The outside rings are poorer areas. In the 8th ring is a sugar factory which was burning while we were there because squatters had taken it over and burned the office building. Fortunately, for the sugar company, the squatters were forced out before they burned the factory. The night we arrived, we could see flames. For the four days we were there, we could see smoke. Only the offices were burned. In the meantime, sugar could not be found in stores for a few days.

The city itself is quite picturesque with its red tiled roofs, flowering trees, clean streets, and blue skies. The temperature and air reminded us very much of Hawaii during the winter months--absolutely delightful.

Like the view above, this view is from the mission home balcony which extended from the living room area to the bedrooms. We could watch planes land at the municipal airport just five minutes from the mission home which is on the eleventh floor of a high rise apartment building. The international airport is about a 45 minutes drive. We flew in and out of that airport, but our biggest adventure was the flight to Jacuiba, Bolivia, on an 18-seat plane which flew in and out of the municipal airport. We could look down onto the runway and see our little plane parked at the airport.

Wherever there will be a captive crowd such as the airport, there will be an ice cream man...

and the fruit stand and salesperson. We saw several wheelbarrow fruit stands in Bolivia.

This picture is a fun study in black and white, totally unintentional (for us Hermanas), for sure. We had just landed back in Santa Cruz and were walking back into the terminal of the municipal airport. Even I was wearing a version of black and white--a charcoal grey skirt and cream sweater.

So much is done by manual labor in South America. There are no tractor-driven baggage carts here, just a man with a strong back.

This picture shows how small the plane is--one seat on each side, seats very close together, and little headroom. Even I couldn't stand up straight.

The plane was so noisy we put cotton provided by the airlines in our ears. One fun thing about flying in a small plane is that the plane flies at a low enough altitude we could see the country clearly. We flew over the lush green mountains from Jacuiba into Argentina and on to Santa Cruz, Bolivia. We were amazed how quickly the tropical landscape of Bolivia changed to the brown pampa of Argentina.

This map shows the Santa Cruz mission area. If you can see Santa Cruz in the middle right of the map, follow the map to the right corner or the southwestern border of Bolivia and Argentina. Jacuiba is on the border, a 15-minute walk into Argentina. We were told it was very dangerous to cross into Argentina because of the drug trade.

These are the office Elders and APs who were with us for the five days. The Elder next to me is from Santiago de Chile and speaks very good English. Two Elders are North Americans. The taller one is from Argentina and the Elder on the left is from Peru.

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