Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Great Escape

Unlike life itself, I am happy to report that my voyage from New York to Miami to La Paz was totally unevenful. Textbook, I'd say, except that I managed to escape the altitude sickness that knocks many travelers to La Paz sideways. 2 US Embassy escorts met me at El Alto airport at 5:20 AM and I was treated to a winding trip down through the Andes to Zona Sur, where I am staying at the home of a diplomat couple, their adorable son and their hilarious dog. I will soon be moving out of this lovely home once I find accomodation that suits my family, work schedule, and personal preferences. Notably, the housing market is NOTHING like the New York City housing market in terms of price!

I am currently at the Museo Nacional de Arte, where I have come for a casual meeting with the Director, the Administrative director and one of the conservators prior to my Tuesday start date. I am happy to report that in La Paz, the archives and conservation labs tend to be on the higher floors rather than in the basement, as they often are in New York. The office I will be working in has many windows, high ceilings and a charming Andes Colonial style. Interestingly, because of the very high altitude, there are many different rules and practices regarding paper preservation. I am looking forward to learning more about this.

Another interesting thing about my job is the SIESTA, though they are now calling it lunch, I guess, to be more modern? Yes, we get a break from 12 until 3 on our weekday working days. I plan to use this time to go home to my family and perhaps get a so-called disco nap! (To those uninitiated in slang a disco nap means a short nap). I am so not in New York anymore, Toto.

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