Cochabamba, Bolivia
15° 21' S 64° 58' W
Jul 26, 2006 17:31
Distance 365km

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Text written in: English

Cochabamba - Paragliding and missionaries

we got to Cochabamab early in the morning and we were tierd from the night bus so as soon as we got to the hostal we just went to sleep for a while. when i woke up i found out that Elad (a friend which is also in Cochabamba) is not in the hostal at the moment but his room was next to my room. a friend of his (Dror) was left in the room so i talked with him for a while and played Elad's guitar. i left the hostal to get some internet time, when i got back i met Elad. we catched up and decided to give a visit to the missionaries this evening. i called a number that i got form the hostal reception (apparently they know them), some man answered, he sounded very nice and said that he would love to have us coming. i must say that this conversation was a bit strange, the man was saying thing like "we'll be looking forward to meet you guys".i surly didn't know what to expect but i heard from other backpackers that it's worth a visit. Dror decided that he will skip it because he doesn't feel so good so only the 3 of us left for dinner (Elad, Uzi and me).

we took a taxi for Roi and Linda house (the missionaries). we got to a big house with a high fence (it's usually like that in rich neighborhood, you can even see barbwire sometimes). we rang the bell and we got a warm welcome from the whole family, everybody introduced them selfs and we sat down in the living room to learn about what Roi and Linda believe. there was also a camera man there who was there for filming this evenning. Linda told us about what they have done before they came to Bolivia and a bit about their family. they used to live in small jungle villages in Indonesia and "spread their belief". before they got into the jungle living style they have been trained with several courses like survival, bible, etc.. for 4 years, only then they are sent throw out the world to some remote cultures and teach them about their belief. they help this cultures to create alphabets for their language (if they don't have one), after they understand them they "pass them the message". when they told us that i thought that they are ruining cultures around the world and maybe sell them progress in the price of belief. i don't really agree with what they do and i don't know if there's any kind of missionaries that is "good". later on we had a look at picture albums of backpackers that passed here and we saw some friends from back home. we continued to dinner which was great (it had some israeli food and banana bread). after dinner we sat down for the "real" lecture about their belief. Roi and Linda are missionaries but not what you would expect them to be, they believe in the new and the old testimony. it were a long 4 hours of listening and little questioning but i guess that because it was the video version (the shot it on video because they wanted to make a DVD) so we got a longer explainaion. at that point we were so tierd that we just wanted to get back to the hostal as soon as possible. we thank them for everything and got back to sleep, it was a long day.

we spent the next day by wondering around the city and catching up some time on the internet, Elad and Dror are doing a paragliding course and the recommanded it so Uzi and me thought of giving it a try. we went to AndesXtreme (the paragliding agency) to check about trying it, it seemed fine and the place looked professional so we booked it for tomorrow. we met Elad and Dror in the agency, they just came back from the jumps, all of us were hungry so we went out for lunch in one of the restaurants near plaza Colon. i got the Pique Macho which is a weird typical bolivian dish which includes cooked meat, french fries, boiled egg, sausages, hot and sweet papers all together, it was pretty good. we got back to the hostal and sat down to bring back some old memories from our army service together (Elad and me). few hours later we only finished talking about the first 6 months but we were hungry again so we went out for dinner. we got back and went to sleep early because we have to get to the agency early for the paragliding.

all 4 of us left for the agency early morning. we got on a rusty jeep and left for the hill that the jumps are being made of. another israeli guy (Barak) came for the jump he just came from the south (in israeli terms backpackers that means south Argentina/Chile), we exchanged tips for places that either of us havn't visited (yet..). we got to the place, we waited at the button where we're supposed to land and the guides took us two by two to the top of the hill. Barak was the first one to go so me and Uzi stayed at the button, Elad and Dror are doing the jumps by them selfs so they don't need a guide with them. it was hot outside so we waited in the car until suddenly we heard somebody shouting "take a picture" several times so we got out from the car and saw Barak above us almost ready to land. Uzi took as many pictures as he could and i prepared for being the next one to jump. i got into the jeep and after 15 minutes of driving and about 1 minutes of explaination (which was: we are running towards the side at the begining and when i say go we turn around towards the cliff and run as fast as we can) we were all set to go, i was tied to JP (the guide) and before i was ready (i don't know if i would be ready) we started running slowly on the side, 3 steps and we turned around towards the cliff and started running fast. fear was gone and i started to run in the air, before i realized what's going on we were carried by the parashot. i have some experience with parachuting from the army but this is nothing like that. we just flow in the air smothly and enjoyed the view, towards the end JP did some acrobatic spins just for fun and we landed pretty smothly. Uzi was next, he was luckly to jump while warm winds came so he had the most time in the air from all of us.

we got back to the agency happy and satisfied, we went for lunch, while we were waiting for the food to come Barak told us that there's a backpackers book from 1982 in some photography shop nearby so we decided to give it a visit later. it took us a while to explain to the guy in the shop what exactly we wanted but "libro mochilleros" (book backpackers) did the work. there's 3 books, 1 is a visitors book where you write your name and the other 2 are full with guidence for backpackers - what to do, where to visit, maps for treks, etc.. it's amazing to see how people used to travel, all we do now is just check out the internet and information is just a click away.

the next day we decided to leave on the night bus and spend the day by visiting the huge statue on the hill next to Cochabamba to check out the view on the city. we walked towards the statue so we can reach the cablecar that goes up. we took some pictures and went back to get some rest and say our goodbyes before we leave.

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