I don´t recall where my last entry left off ...

Trip Start Jan 24, 2000
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Trip End Feb 15, 2000


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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Sunday, January 30, 2000

I donīt recall where my last entry left off, but I believe it was in Arequipa. From Arequipa, we flew to Juliaca and took a taxi to Puno, which is a small city on the shores of Lake Titicaca. We decided to fly because the flight was only 30 minutes for 60USD, whereas the bus was 12 hrs, and was 10USD. we decided to spring for the extra $50 to save 11 hrs. and avoid a big pain in the butt (literally).

The first night in Puno was rather non-eventful. We were very exhausted from the previous evening and ended up going to bed rather early. The next day we took a boat trip from Puno to the floating Islands of Uros an dto Taquile island.

Uros

Uros was relatively interesting. Itīs a series of very small islands that are made of nothing more than reeds and floats on the surface. The people that live on the islands make everything out of these reeds that grow in the lake. Houses, boats, everything. I have heard they even eat some of them. Walking around was pretty scary - you could actually feel the reeds sink as your weight shifted onto it. At one point, I wanted to get a good picture, so I walked close to the boats. The ground got REAL soft, and I think if I would have taken one more step, I would have been swimming in the lake.

They did have a museum on the island we stopped on, but all it had was a bunch of dead birds that I donīt think were even stuffed. It didnīt smell too good in there -- not a museum in my book, more like a morgue for dead birds. I laughed pretty hard when I saw this, but laughed even harder when I saw the TIP jar on your way out.

Taquile

From Puno, Uros was only 30 minutes, but Taquile was 4 hours. And it was a long 4 hours. The boats that take you on the tours go EXTREMELY slow. If you had any kind of decent boat, you could have seen everything we did in 3 hours. Instead, it was an all day affair.

When we arrived at Taquile, we were very excited to see that we had to climb a massive staircase to get to the village. The island is at a very high altitude (about 3 miles up) and the air was very thin. Hiking up the stairs took a good 25 minutes -- I am not accustomed to the thin air and my lungs were burning as I got to the top. The village was pretty small but the scenery was spectacular. Other than the views, there was not much to see.

The most interesting part of the day was the ride back from Taquile. We sat in the cabin of the boat next to 4 drunk Peruvians that were taking turns having shots of some sort of booze the entire trip. One of them was especially sociable and tried to talk to Kevin and myself. We understood about 2% of what he was saying. I think he got tired of trying to talk to us so he just started singing. Real loud. Then one of his other friends started to join in. Then the 3rd friend would stand up and dance. We figured it was just a matter of time before the whole lot of them threw up -- probably on us. Fortunately it didnīt happen (although one of the guys passed out on Kevinīs shoulder a couple of times). After we arrived back at the port, three of them decided that we had become such good friends that they wanted to give us a big bearhug. I have never smelt anything worse or felt more disguisted in my life.

La Paz

We left this morning relatively early for La Paz, Bolivia. We were fortunate that our bus was running on time because there have been several protests in Peru and the protestors have been blocking the road to La PAz for a few days. As we drove down the road, there were still several large boulders that the protestors placed there to block traffic, but we were able to go around them. La Paz is a stunning city -- the main part of the city is sunk down in a crater surrounded by snow-capped mountains. I have never seen a more beautiful cityscape than this one.

We are still trying to get to the Amazon basin -- we may be able to fly out tomorrow at 9am. If the plane is full or if it is unable to takeoff due to rain in the Amazon, we will board a bus at 11:30am for a 19 hour busride. Painful but the only way we can get there. I pray the plane is flying -- I absolutely do not want to ride in a bus for 19 hours on an unpaved road.

Hopefully my next entry will be after we have been to the Amazon and are in Cuzco waiting to hike the Inca Trail.
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