I arrived at my host family Arce Gonzales on Saturday after quite the adventure!
When my flight to La Paz, Bolivia took off in Miami the captain heard some rattling in the front of the plane so he changed our course to Santa Cruz, Bolivia, where the flight was supposed to go after La Paz. We landed without a problem, and were met with fire trucks etc. People bound for Santa Cruz left the plane and the rest of us sat there for almost 2 hours before everything was dealt with and we started to leave for La Paz (at this point I could have made my connection in La Paz to Cochabamba). We ended up sitting on the runway in Santa Cruz for 1 hour! (Meaning there was no way for me to make my connection in La Paz.) During this time American told us NOTHING! When we returned to the gate we learned that there was a problem with the passenger list! We then had to go through customs where I was able to easily buy my visa. After leaving immigration, I waited in line for about 1 hour to get American to organize my travels to Cochabamba. Their way of reimbursing us for our over 3 hour delay on the plane was the send people to La Paz that night at 9 PM! About 12 hours later. They gave people vouchers for food and a hotel, but the food vouchers only worked in 1 "restaurant" in the airport. After waiting 1 hour I finally spoke with someone from American and instead of having to wait till that evening I got on a 2pm BoA (a Bolivian Airline) flight to Cochabamba. I received the food vouchers and American paid the difference from my other BoA ticket.
One of the good things was that I met a German woman on the plane from Miami and the two of us had a similar timed flight, so we shared a taxi and I got to see a little of Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz is a humid city in the Amazon - it is also very large - and is the wealthiest of the three cities (La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz). It was interesting to see a few sights and learn a bit about the city.
I arrived safely and without any more problems in Cochabamba around 3 pm (ET) on Saturday (about 34 hours of traveling), where I was met by Cassandra, a member of the FSD site team, and she took me to meet my host family.
More on my family and adjusting to Cochabamba soon!