Excerpts from an email from Elizabeth on 7/23.
Como estas? Estoy bien. Dan y yo estamos en Otavalo , Ecuador . We arrived on Sunday after a tough few days in Bolivia of high altitude, stomach issues, little sleep -- all in LaPaz, which is, well, a dump. We´re so glad to be here.. The difference is like night and day. We´re living with a family and going to language class every day -- 2.5-hour siesta included. Tomorrow we have an all-day field trip, which will be fun. It´s nice to not have to eat every meal in a restaurant and grapple with deciding what is safe to eat. The food is quite good and certainly better than what we eat at home. My profesor still can´t completely understand that neither Dan nor I cook.
Ecuador is nicer than both Peru and Bolivia , though we enjoyed our time in Peru , particularly visiting Machu Picchu , our trek, and our couple days in the jungle. Just yesterday, we received our plane tickets for Galapagos. We go there 2 August. I am really, really looking forward to finally getting there.
...I was pretty miserable.[in Bolivia] I had a cold, was quite hungry (we both have lost quite a bit of weight), tired, homesick (our tour ended the day before and all our tour friends were gone), and not enjoying dirty, overcrowded, noisy, hectic LaPaz. Did I mention that we didn´t really like Bolivia ?! We both are much better now. Dan has had stomach problems for much of the trip because of the altitude. My stomach hasn´t been so bad, but we´re both glad to be down a bit lower. I think Otavalo is at about 8,000´. LaPaz and Lake Titicaca are both over 12,000´, I believe. "
Later in the day they SKYPEd me from an internet cafe. It sounded like they are really enjoying lush Otavalo where the air is oxygenated and they have a friendly family to stay with and looking forward with excitement to the last leg of their trip to the Islands.