Student Reflections: Amy McClintic - Arrival in La Paz & the Road to Coroico

November 21st 2000 started out as any normal cold November day, but for 12 students and 2 professors from Ohio University the anticipation was building. The day we had been waiting for all quarter had finally arrived. We were leaving Columbus, Ohio around 3:30 p.m. and wouldn't arrive in La Paz, Bolivia until 7:30 in the morning. In spite of the long flight ahead of us, we all were wide-awake though most of the flight to Chicago and from Chicago to Miami. However, the long night of preparation before got the best of me and I fell asleep mid-way through the flight to La Paz and awoke an hour before we landed. Most people on the plane slept nearly the entire flight. Upon arrival at the airport a bus from the university was there to pick us up and take us to our hotel. From the airport we drove down into La Paz. Stretching as far as the eye could see, La Paz was a gigantic city with a population of about 2 million people.

We decided that we needed to exchange money and get something to eat. We had lunch at an "American" type dinner, but they still served Bolivian food. Later in the afternoon some of us went to the market. It seems that the "market" is everywhere in Bolivia with people all over the place trying to sell their goods. There was a colorful mixture of indigenous and Spanish people making for a splendid display of culture as you simply walked down the street.

November 23rd 2000- Today we went to visit the national herbarium at a part of the university. The building looked small from the outside, but they made great use of their space. The second floor was filled with rooms of dried plant specimens, some identified and some were not. In my photo you can see that Dr. Vis looks very excited to be at the herbarium. Then we went out to see the garden. We saw many plants families we would encounter later in the trip. In the garden they grew many spices we have here in the United States. The reason for this is that they sell the spices in the market to make a profit for the herbarium and the garden. We then went to lunch at a very nice restaurant as our Thanksgiving Day Meal. The rest of the day was spent relaxing and getting use to the altitude and getting ready the leave for Cororico in the morning.

November 24th 2000- We left La Paz around 9:00 a.m. for Cororico. On our way out of La Paz, we stopped at several checkpoints where the bus driver had to give a list of our names. We started out on a paved road that seemed to be fine and not at all the frightening trip we had been warned about. Then the pavement stopped and road became gravel and dirt. The road we were driving on had many places were I didn't even think there was a road underneath us and edges were you looked straight down for at least 1,000 ft or more. When another car or truck came in the opposite direction we had to pull over to the side of the road closest to the edge. This road definitely earns the name "most dangerous road in the world." Yet it was very interesting to see how the change in altitude affected the climate and the vegetation. We went from an area with high altitude, cold temperatures and pincushion vegetation to a place with a lower altitude, warmer temperatures and nearly tropical vegetation.

Despite the treacherous road, Cororico was absolutely beautiful. I thought I had landed in paradise. It was a delight to see plants that I had only seen before in greenhouses growing naturally outside in the wild.

[ Global Studies | Back to Previous Page | Env. & Plant Biology ]