Blessedly quiet week

March 11th, 2018

Fun sculptures in Santiago

Fun sculptures in Santiago

I was happy to have a week at home with little to do outside of work! Being gone for two weeks was difficult; it was nice to have a week to recover before heading out again.

I had three fun lunches this week – I got to catch up with my good friend Tammy B. on Friday. Earlier in the week, I went out with Lesa from Santiago who was in DC for a class, and with the fellow who is heading to Suriname this summer.

Last night John treated me to a fancy dinner at Nobu – we had the seven-course tasting menu and it was delicious!

I’m off again this morning for my next work adventure!

Tallest building in Latin America

Tallest building in Latin America

Then there was Santiago

March 4th, 2018
Observation deck of tallest building in Latin America

Observation deck of tallest building in Latin America

So when you are sitting in Washington D.C. and look at a map of South America, La Paz looks pretty darn close to Santiago, Chile…but looks are deceiving. Turns out, it’s not so easy to get from one place to another. I left my hotel in Bolivia at midnight Saturday night (after my fun day of siteseeing and shopping) to catch a 3:30 AM flight to Bogota, Colombia…and then back down south about six hours to Santiago, Chile – remind me to NOT do that again! But all’s well that ends well, and I made it just fine, and got into Santiago last Sunday evening.

Santiago is night and day different from La Paz. It’s sophisticated and modern with a European feel. I was downtown, a few blocks from the Embassy, and as usual didn’t see much…but what I saw was lovely. A very sidewalk cafe feel to the town. It didn’t get dark until 9PM or so, and even then people were still out at the mall, on the street, and at cafes.

Cafe-lined streets

Cafe-lined streets

All the park benches are painted!

All the park benches are painted!

The tallest building in Latin America was next door to my hotel and also housed a very upscale shopping mall. The night before I left, I took the quick trip to the top (61 floors) to see the sunset. It was an amazingly fun experience and the views were gorgeous. I couldn’t help but squeal when the doors opened and I saw the view.

The view! The mountains!

The view! The mountains!

Sunset!

Sunset!

The consular section I visited in Santiago was very nice with a fun staff. To top off a good work week, I was able to have lunch with our friends Carla and Mike who we knew well in Islamabad. I also had drinks with Nicole from my A-100 class at her house after work one evening and got to see her husband again and meet her two children. It’s so fun to see familiar faces when I travel!

I finished up Friday afternoon at the office (the consular chief opened a bottle of nice Chilean wine to celebrate the good week), then I was off to the airport. Unfortunately, my driver went to the wrong hotel, but I was lucky to catch a ride with a Miami businessman to the airport – he had been to the Concha y Toro vineyard and we passed the time comparing notes on wine and vineyards.

I made easy connections in Atlanta on the way back and was in my apartment by 10:30 AM Saturday morning. John had gone to brunch for Jimmi’s birthday, which I was sorry to have missed.

Today we drove to Alexandria to our friend Kat’s house for another rug show by our friend Obaid from Pakistan…and yes, we ended up with another rug, a “kilim” for the kitchen! Lovely.

Click to see all of my photos from last week’s trip to Bolivia…and then again for this week’s trip to Chile!

Lovely street scene

Lovely street scene

Me encanta, Bolivia!

February 24th, 2018
Gosssiping

Gosssiping

OK, I give! I am enchanted with Bolivia! I have seen only a fraction of the city – much less the country – but oh my goodness. Terrible traffic and narrow streets, but warm, lovely people and gorgeous textiles.

I took meds for the altitude before coming, and haven’t had any issues at all with the altitude. Work has been good – the people at the office are delightful.

I went on the teleferico this morning to the top, El Alto. They have several lines, like a subway, and the locals use it just as a way to get around. While I was freaking out from the height, everyone else was just looking at their cell phones!

I am not so sure about being up so high!

I am not so sure about being up so high!

Teleferico

Teleferico

Teleferico to 12,000 ft

Teleferico to 12,000 ft

Afterward I took a taxi to the San Francisco church where there are a lot of touristy shops. Tucked amongst the tacky shops are some lovely fair-trade stores that carry incredible alpaca wool items…I have to admit I splurged a wee bit, but I think I will enjoy these things for years to come.

My small boutique hotel has been lovely with wonderful service and a spa, which I have taken advantage of. It’s a short walk to the embassy and just lovely.

I’m off tonight for my next destination – you’ll have to wait to see where that is!

My only regret at being in Bolivia this week is that I’m missing my anniversary celebration with my husband of 22 years! And they said it wouldn’t last!!! Happy anniversary!

Mother and daughter

Mother and daughter

Evo lives!

Evo lives!

Ice cream man

Ice cream man

Hot and cold

February 18th, 2018

D.C. weather is just as crazy as the Arkansas weather I grew up with. Yesterday I went to the office to work for the afternoon – when I walked out of the building at 5:30, it was snowing. This afternoon it’s in the 60s and sunny. Go figure.

This was a stressful week work-wise, just trying to get ready for upcoming trips. I have to juggle passports, visas, and flight schedules and some days things just don’t want to come together! By the end of the week, I was feeling a bit calmer, thank goodness. And there never seems to be enough hours in the day to get everything done!

Otherwise the week was pretty calm and low-key. John took me out for an old school prime rib dinner at a fancy D.C. place – it was our pre-anniversary dinner (since I’m going to be out of the country on our actual anniversary)>

John had a good visit with Pete and Ginger last weekend, and got home Sunday morning. I went out that morning to Arlington to meet my good friend Wendy and her husband, who were in town from Virginia. Good to see her and finally meet her hubby!

I’m off for a two-week trip this afternoon, so wish me luck!

Change of scenery

February 11th, 2018

I was in leadership training at FSI this week, so I got a bit of a change in scenery. It was a good class and I enjoyed my classmates. We had a couple of late starts: once due to a weather delay and another due to the short-lived government shutdown. I was able to see a few friends out there, too, which was nice.

Jimmi and I went to dinner and then to the Kennedy Center Tuesday night to see the Alvin Ailey dance troupe – just wow! They are so wonderful.

The next night I saw Jimmi again at happy hour at the Hive, along with Suzanne Y. and John at our mini A-100 get-together.

Friday night I met Amy, Tammy, and Barb for a fun happy hour at Woodward Table – they are so fun to visit and laugh with! Good tonic for whatever ails you!

I braved the rain to go to Maryland yesterday afternoon for a baby shower for Rachel in our office – another chance to visit with some old friends and meet some new ones!

I was saddened to hear that one of my favorite Hendrix professors passed away this week, Stephen Kerr. He was just a wonderfully kind, gentle, smart, and funny man. He had been battling Parkinson’s for several years. Rest in Peace, Mr. Kerr.

With Mr. Kerr last year

With Mr. Kerr last year