Wednesday, January 9, 2008

HOT... in La Paz

Hot does not really describe things here. The high for today is supposed to reach 39C. Without even doing a proper conversion, I know that is hot - maybe the hottest I have ever been in. I don´t even have to move and I am sweating.

The trip here was interesting. I waited for some time in the customs area of the Buenos Aires airport for some of my fellow competitors to arrive, but their plane was delayed. I ended up sorting out how to get myself to the bus station and on to the bus for the 8 hour trip from Buenos Aires to La Paz all by myself. I just put my head down and walked with intention past lots of people asking me if I needed a cab or wanted help. They were almost unwilling to allow me on the bus, since my bag was so big and I had barely made it before the scheduled departure, but apparently, from the bit of Spanish I understood, being "pretty" is enough to remove what inconvenience I had caused.

The bus ride was fine. I slept, well kind of slept, the whole way, while Johnny Depp and Pirates played in Spanish in the background. When I arrived to La Paz at 6:30am there was a woman waiting for me. She is my homestay. I had thought I would stay in the hotel, but have ended up with a wonderful woman and her family. She teaches english here at a school and out of her home, so her english is wonderful, and she has been so welcoming and helpful. Her home is amazing and is just full of charm. I will be sure to take some photos to post. The whole town, especially her home, has a real Spanish influence.

With Mercedes, my homestay, and Helen Tucker from GB.

My homestay, view of the Kitchen from the backyard.

The town is small. Only 30,000 people live here and most are farmers. Apparently, for the race, they shut the whole town down and everyone is out cheering us on. I am looking forward to it as it seems that the small towns always provide the loudest fans. With everyone on summer holiday, it will also allow more people to attend the event.

I have planned my training for the mornings and evenings to avoid the mid-day sun. Yesterday, I got in 2 hours, with Helen Tucker, across the open country side. It was quite windy and reminded me a bit of Kansas. My run this morning was wonderful. Helen and I ran on the race course and then found our way to some back roads with broken glass and rocks jumping through the dirt. Running past small farms with dogs yelling at us, it was quite fun to see the way that many of the people live. This evening, I will find a pool and get in a swim session. We have to wait until 7pm so as to avoid the hot sun.

The local pool where we trained leading up to the race.

Our race will be at 3pm on Sunday. We are now 3 hours ahead of EST. It will be hot for the race, as 3pm is the hottest time of the day here, but hopefully the rain storm scheduled for Friday will help to cool things off at least a bit leading up to Sunday.

Until then, I will hydrate and try to acclimate. I´m so excited to race!!

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