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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars

 

Peru - 7 December, 2001

 

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Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Hotel, Puno S1550.854' W07001.256' 3,861 m
Lake Titicaca shore . . . 15 km (by mini-bus)
Uros Floating Reed Islands . . . 4 km (by boat
Finish Isla Amantani, Lake Titicaca S1540.158' W06942.316' 3,861 m 45 km (by boat)

Leg 1 Total:

5,221 km

Galapagos:

771 km

Grand Total:

5,992 km

 

Weather: Began partly cloudy, sunny and warm.  In the mid-afternoon it clouded over and there was wind and the occasional rain/hail storm.  It became cool.  Cold at night.

 

 

After breakfast this morning, Jacqui and Lars leave the group to go to the Bolivian consulate to see what we can do about Jacqui's visa.  The group goes ahead to Lake Titicaca.  At the consulate we are told that they have not yet gotten the approval and that we should come back at noon.  This is Friday and we are going to Bolivia on Sunday, so this will be our last chance.  We leave Jacqui's passport with Sam and go to catch up with the group.

 

Peru01_Titicaca1_Uros1_Boat_4076_Web.jpg (71675 bytes)

We first stop off at the local market to pick up some rice and pasta as gifts for the family that we will be staying with on the island on Lake Titicaca.  Then we get a lift along the lake shore where the boat will come and pick us up.  The boat has dropped off the group on the floating islands and we jump on just after 9:30 AM.  A short ride later, we are at the Uros floating reed islands.  The islands are made out of reeds and float on the lake.  They just keep adding reeds to the top as the reeds below decompose.  They first started living like this hundreds of years ago to isolate themselves from the Inca and Colla cultures.

 

The experience was not quite what we expected - it has become over-commercialised. You can see that it has been set up for tourists - more space is taken up with little stalls selling kitsch than by anything else.  I guess you cannot blame them, but in the end it may spell their own demise.  Tourism may fall off as it is not so realistic and they will have lost their traditional way of living (that is progress, I guess).  We were offered a ride in one of the reed boats and took them up on it.  A very short ride later, we are told to cough up a dollar each for the 5 minute paddle - the gondoliers of Venice are cheaper!!!  That left a bad taste in our mouth (they initially made it sound like it was part of the tour).

 

Anyway, back in the boats to head off to Isla Amantani.  We have a long ride out to the island - the slow boat to China, so to speak.  Many of us napped on the way over.  The waters started to get a bit rough and we were bouncing around quite a bit as we approached the island.  As we were the last boat to arrive, it took some time to squeeze in our boat.  We then lugged all our gear up to the communal center where they served us lunch.

 

Peru01_Titicaca1_Amantani2_Lunch_4081_Web.jpg (77391 bytes)

We were crowded into the large room - there were many other groups there.  We had some local food and then it got so stuffy that we needed to escape to the cool fresh air outside.  After everyone had finished, we were allocated to our families and the cheerful couple that were putting us up for the night led us up and along the hillside to their home.  It was quite a nice little place and you could see that they have set up a couple of dorm type rooms just for this purpose.  We settled in and decided to nap while waiting for our afternoon activity - a climb to the top of the island to look at some Inca ruins (they seem to be everywhere).

 

But as we are laying in our beds, the clouds rolled in and it started to rain and hail.  The hail came down large and hard and the wind blew in strong.  We decided to forget about the Inca ruins and just spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out in our dorm room (three of us stayed at this place).  At around 5:30 the rain slowly stopped and our host came to our room and showed us pictures and postcards from some of his previous guests.  The wife then came buy shortly later with some tea and the local dress.  The tea is some form of mint that is soaked in the water.

 

Peru01_Titicaca1_Amantani3_Dressing_Jac_4082_Web.jpg (79373 bytes)

We all dressed up in the local dress - the boys wore ponchos and a funny wool hat.  The girls had a more elaborate costume which included a dress and a head scarf.  We got dressed up and then we all headed back to the communal center for dinner.  When we all got together it was a good laugh.  The guys were a cross between Clint Eastwood and Coco the clown and the girls were a cross between Heidi and a nun with the black head scarves.  All dressed like this, we crammed into the hall for dinner.  After dinner, a bit of a party got going with drinking and dancing.

 

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