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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Teleferico El Cristo Cochabamba Bolivia - world's tallest religious statue & our 1 year world travel celebration

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After arriving with a sick son in Cochabamba, we took the rest of the first day to recover, and do laundry, and generally rest up.  We had both had gastro, and with my son being sick on the plane, it was a rather stressful day for me.

So we also found this was the spot where we would be celebration our 1 year on the road - or 1 year of world travel.
Here we are enjoying a nice Sunday celebration lunch.

Next day, we had the hotel call us a taxi as we are told many "illegal" taxi's operate in this city, and are unsafe for tourists.  So for 15 Bolivianos he takes us to the foot of El Cristo.

We are confronted with a family of beggars.  A mother and three kids with head-lice and general filth asking for money.  Another dirty man selling food.

As we line up to take the Teleferico (cable car) an old peasant lady waits beside me.  She asks for a ticket, but she only has 2 Bolivianos to go up.  The cost is 7 - or about $1.  So I ask the ticket seller to include her with ours.

She has the warmest smile.  I can see a huge cancer growing from her throat as she climbs into our carriage - one of the three that are in the set.  She has worn old knitted clothes, and the traditional Bolivian bowlers hat and coloured fabric wrap / shawl.

I ask her where she is from, and she says "Potosi".

When when we reached the top, I invited her to exit the carriage first.
I felt like maybe she was a woman I was destined to bless.  
As I took her elbow to help her out and walk up the steps I felt the urge to pray for her.
I wanted to help her.
So as we walked ahead up the hill I bought her a drink.
She was so grateful and sat at the base of the steps.
She coughed an awful cough, as of one dying.
She sat and as I thought she was getting her cup out to take the drink, I realised she was there to beg for money.
A beggar at the base of Jesus.  It felt right to help her.


 It was almost deserted when we got to the top of the steps.
This Cristo is 33 metres tall - 1 metre for each year of Jesus' life.
It is the tallest religious statue in the world.
Taller than the one in Rio.
On a Sunday you can climb inside, but for some reason my son didn't want to do that.

We wandered around, and had great views of the city from all sides.
There was an army or police presence there, so we felt quite safe.

 There wasn't a lot to do once we got up there, so the visit didn't take too long.

We can't believe that this is so cheap.  Our budget including our hotel and food is $50 a day in Bolivia.
You can see here we are wearing new clothes.
They are designer brands we got in the "America markets" in Tarija.
We feel like we are living the high life, and we sit and enjoy the view.

Cochabamba is not really a tourist town.
It has huge potential, but it has a lot of poverty, and so I think this throws a lot of people off.
The climate is fabulous, so we are enjoying the warmth.
And the stunning views.

When we get to the base, we are confronted with the poverty stricken family again.
The kids are itching their heads furiously and it is all matted.
The mother is knitting a scarf to sell to make money.
I go over and give her 50 Bolivianos.  This is about $8.
Most people would give her .50 or 1 Bolivianos - about 7 - 12 cents.
So when I give her this, I tell her she must feed her family.
Her face absolutely beams.
She agrees and stuffs the money away.
She wants to touch me, but I don't want to get too close.
I think she might have wanted to give me the scarf - she can keep it and sell it - at least she is trying to earn money.
I know that although we live a very budget life, we are very blessed with what we have.
I have learnt "things" don't buy happiness.
Happiness is within your heart.

A big part of our journey is "Random Acts of Kindness".
We do not always advertise what we do, but it is good to share.

Maybe you could go out and do a random act yourself today.

If anyone at any time wants to give to us, so we can give to others, we have a Paypal link on our blog.
You are welcome to leave a message / comment with how you want the funds spent.

There are many needy in the places we are visiting in the next few weeks.
You are part of our journey.
Enjoy our blog, and feel free to pass it onto others.

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