Talk about being hardcore... I survived cow stomach and the World´s Most Dangerous Road! The ride started at 15,400 feet in the high Andean plains and we descended 11,800 feet into the jungle below. It´s a very bumpy, twisty road with potholes, rocks, waterfalls, random dogs, and drug check-points. The views were absolutely breathtaking, although my eyes were so focused on staying upright and on the road that I may have missed some of it. 40 miles of downhill coasting (and a LOT of breaking) left me quite sore... my tushie and palms are quite bruised and tender.
We went with Gravity-Assisted-Moutain-Biking Tours which had hilarious guides and top of the line gear. We ended up at an animal refuge resort full of monkeys wearing diapers. We took some much-needed showers and got our free t-shirts for surviving the ride.
Now, I´m relaxing. Norah Jones (oh, just switched to Backstreet Boys) is playing in the background and I´m sitting at a computer overlooking the beautiful mountains of the North Yungas (Jungles) in Coroico, Bolivia - where I can also see the road I descended. I can see the snow-capped Mt. Illimani, which means El Alto is just on the other side. The trees and just plain GREEN-ness of this place makes me wonder why anyone would choose to live in El Alto over Coroico... We´re on our final debriefing retreat where we´re learning how to say goodbye to the last 4 months of our lives and think about what re-entry to the USA will be like.
I´m excited to be coming home in less than 2 weeks, yet it will all be bittersweet. I have a list of menu ideas (which I´ll soon be emailing home, mom!) and visions of hugging friends and family who I´ve missed so much.
I wonder if I´ll cry the minute I step of the plane. I wonder how I´ll respond to life in the USA (will my layover in Vegas be too much for me to handle?) I wonder how I´ll ever be able to share all my stories. I wonder who will want to listen. I wonder who will notice how I´ve changed. *sigh...* HOME!