Arrive in Peru

Trip Start Nov 14, 2006
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Trip End Apr 2007


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Monday, January 22, 2007

We arrived in Puno Peru on January 21.    Spent Monday taking a tour on Lake Titicaca.

FLOATING ISLANDS ON LAKE TITICACA.
Reed Island, Puno, Peru

Lake Titicaca straddles Peru's southern border with Bolivia and is a huge inland sea which is the highest navigable lake in the world.  We visited the floating islands on which the people of Uros live.  These people hunt birds and live off the lake plants, most important of which are the reeds they use for their boats, houses and the very foundations of their islands.  They continue to add to the top of their little islands to replace the reed system than continually rots from the bottom of the floating island.  Took a little tour in one of the reed boats.  I could not help pointing out to Karyn (who is afraid of water) that she had no life jacket, the boat was made out of reeds, and reed boats only last for about a year before they no longer float.   The tour was a little touristy for sure, but it was still very good.  Had a great dinner in Puno:  a delicacy aclled cuy (guinea pig).  We will leave for Cusco and Machu Picchu tomorrow morning.  We need to make up time, but we are determined not to miss the most important sites. 
 
We had a few more adventures before we left Bolivia. 

 ADVENTURE NO: 1  We visited  the amazing Mercado de Hechiceria, the Witchcraft Market, and I just could not resist getting some pictures of all the Llama foetuses that were for sale (use to create spells or whatever).  I was in the process of taking a picture of one of the stalls, which I thought was empty when this large thing flew out of the middle of the display.  It was a Bolivian woman who are nearly always under 5 feet tall and always just as wide, but I swear this one appeared to fly.  As she appeared to fly out of the display she hissed at me in a most aggressive manner, just like a trapped animal.  Now I know that people can not fly, but this woman, or witch, or whatever she was scarred me so much that we left that street immediately without any more pictures. Fortunately I did get a few pictures before this happened which I will be sharing in a later entry.
 
ADVENTURE NO: 2   While we were waiting for the bike to be repaired, Karyn booked a tour to visit the Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley) which is an area of weird rock formations.  This visit took about an hour of our tour.  The rest of the tour was a visit to Chacaltaya.  This is mountain from which you can view Lake Titicaca on one side, and La Paz on the other side.  The tour to Chacaltaya was certainly not a wise choice for Karyn who was still suffering from Altitude sickness in La Paz.  We drove to a hight of 5300 meters and the rest of the tour was to hike to 5440 meters over one summit and to the top of a second summit.  Karyn wisely made the choice not to take this hike but to stay in the facility at 5300 meters with her head ache pills.  Leonard was not going to be left behind and decided to go, even if it meant they would have to carry him out.  Well after hiking about 10 meters, and with 5 rest stops, 5440 meters started to look like a very long way.  At least it would look like a long way if I could see, but it was snowing at the time.    Luckily the guide and one of the hikers noticed how I was struggling and came to my rescue.  They gave me a handful of Coca Leaves, told me to chew these and then hold them inside my cheek and continue to suck the juices.  5 Minutes later, I was ready for Mount Everest.  The end result, I was in the first group of three to reach the second summit.  I felt like superman.  I am not entirely sure what Coca Leaves are, but if they are legal, all of Karyn´s plants are going to be replaced with Coca Plants as soon as I get back to Winnipeg.  At times this hike (climb) consisted of Snow, and times of Sunny Skys, and at times of Heavy Fog.  The weather was changing every 10 minutes.

Chacaltaya.  Bolivia
hike, Puno, Peru
Leonard hiking to 5440 meters

ADVENTURE  NO: 3  The bike was suppose to be repaired sometime Sunday afternoon and we were suppose to get a phone call Saturday night confirming it was ready.  The dreaded phone call came Saturday afternoon (expected another delay - Bolivia time is always tomorrow).  The good news, they will work through the night and the bike will definitely be finished Sunday morning.  THE BAD NEWS:  They advised that I definitely needed to get out of Bolivia on Sunday as there was a strike planned for Monday morning starting at 6 AM.  The strike would involve all the Taxis and Mini Buses in El Alto (the city surrounding La Paz) which would have a terrible effect as there is virtually no other form of transportation, very few private cars.  People would not get to work, and for many of these people, not to work for a day means not to eat for a day. The strike would also involve roadblocks and the closing of the highway.  These type of strikes often get very violent and certainly not something a foreigner wants to be mixed up in.  THE GOOD NEWS:  The bike got repaired, we left La Paz and crossed into Peru early afternoon on the Sunday.

BORDER CROSSING FROM BOLIVIA INTO PERU
P, Puno, Peru
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Comments

chmelnyk
chmelnyk on

Coca leaves
Sounds like your having fun now, bring some leaves home for all to share, and by the way there are no such thing as flying people. Leonard I think it was the Coca leaves seeing things. Can't wait to hear of your next adventure.

Love Darlene and Randy

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