At the Copa, Copacabana....

Trip Start Sep 20, 2007
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10
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Trip End Dec 20, 2007


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Thursday, October 11, 2007

I am far too young to actually remember the Barry Manilow song about Copacabana (and its the wrong Copa anyway...) yet its still been stuck in my head for the last few days as everyone keeps mentioning it! Ahhh!

Other than that Copa is a great place, a cute little town in an awesome location on the eastern edge of Lake Titicaca. The trip from Puno was really easy, and the border crossing one of the quickest and simplest ever! There are loads of warnings in the Lonely Planet about police officials confiscating any "fake" US dollars they find so I had come prepared with dollars hidden in my socks, my tubi-grip (bandage) on my knee and in my bra, but it was all totally unnecessary :o)

When we arrived in Copa we first drove down to the lakefront (they were trying to get us into a hotel there) and there was the most amazing sunset - a bright red ball reflected in the lake. Unfortunately by the time we had run to our hotel, dumped our bags, and run out again with cameras, it wasn┤t so good. Still really pretty though. That night we were pretty lame and just went for a cheap meal (12 bolivianos, 70p, 2 courses and drink) and were in bed by 10 (although as bolivia is one hour ahead of Peru it was only 9pm :oS ). I think the altitude makes me sleep more! Altitude is a great excuse for everything :o)

On Wednesday morning we got up at 7am and headed for the market for breakfast - a healthy combination of bu˝uelos (fried doughnuts covered in sugar syrup) and api, a hot, thick, bright purple drink made of maize, cinnamon and lemon. Yum! All for 4 bolivianos each (25p) :oD besides we needed the energy for the long walk ahead!  We wanted to head to the nearby Isla del Sol (where the Inka sun god was born) so we ditched the usual tour group trips and DIYed. Following the LPs advice (as usual), we walked along the coast from Copa to Yalampampa, the nearest land point to the island.The walk was really nice with gorgeous views of the lake, and we got to see a bit of "real bolivia" rather than the tourist version - women in traditional dress and bowler hats herding sheep and llamas down the road, village schools, always with the obligatory football pitch, and cute little children who ran out of nearly every house to wave at us and say hola. The walk was longish (17km) but not too hard and we arrived at Yalampampa around 12.30 and set about finding a boat to take us across to the island. It was actually remarkably easy, as soon as we got to the lake front a group of men came out and offered boats, they even had a price list printed up on a board so we obviously weren┤t the first tourists to go by that route! We hired a rowing boat for 40 bolivianos and set off on a very relaxing trip! I felt rather sorry for the man rowing as he looked exhausted, but we did pay a good price. And, when we were nearly there he upped the price! He told us that for 40 we could only go to the very end of the island, to get to the jetty we wanted would be 50! The cheek! I felt less sorry for him after that :oP

On arrival at the jetty we were faced with the Escalera del Inka (inca steps) - getting well used to them now! Hopped up no prob :o) we had a stupidly expensive (but very large and good) pizza for lunch (50 B.!) and then headed on up to the ridge of the island to find somewhere to stay. I really wanted somewhere that faced west for the sunset so we wandered on and found a really cute little guesthouse with a great patio area that had an awesome view of the island, the sunset, adn Peru in the distance. It seemed a shame to waste it so we sat for a good couple of hours listening to music and enjoying the scenery. It looks really mediteranean, so was like being on holiday on a remote greek island!

Once the sun went down (I have loadsss of pictures, prob a bit OTT) we went for food. Picked the only  lively looking place and had a really good dinner of soup and grilled trout (local specialty). What made it really fun was the little girl of the family who was fascinated by us and spent the whole meal chatting with us! She was 5 and called Lu-Lisa, and could already count to 10 and name all the colours in english. They start them early! She plaited my hair for me (actually very neatly) and let me put her hair in bunches. I showed her the pictures of Marky and Dom on my camera and both her and her brother were loving it! It was great for my spanish too, as she spoke very clearly but didn┤t use any complicated words! So cute :o) also nice to chat to a child whos not been sent by their parents to sell us stuff!

So dinner was fun, and then we had (another) early night - although on the Isla del Sol there isnt much in the way of nightlife so its excusable! Also the highest place I have slept so far - just over 4000m.

Another good sleep (the beds have been really comfy here!), decent breakfast (with a quick hi to Lisa-Lu on her way to school), and then set off walking again - all this exercise has got to be good! We walked from the village of Yumani on the southern end of the island to the north end of the island - site of the famous Puma rock (Titicaca means rock of the puma). It was a nice walk, pretty etc, and we chatted to an english girl we bumped into along the way. Once we reached the inca site we got "chatted to" by a local farmer, keen to share his local knowledge with us - for a fee obviously. He followed us around for about half an hour pointing out stuff - the puma rock (which looks more like a toad than a puma), the sun god next to him (can see it if u squint a bit), and the templo del sol. Although, my new found inca knowledge tells me that the sun temple would have faced east, the sun rising, but this faced west so im not convinced. The guy was rather annoyed when at the end of his informal tour we only gave him 4 bollivianos - a little mean but it was the only change we had, and we hadnt asked for it anyway!


It was a bit of a walk back down to the coast, and the north jetty, but we got to feel superior as we passed all the tour groups on their way up - not only had we DIYed but we had also walked to the site for 3 hours and still got there before them :oP at the jetty it was a while until the boat back to Copa so we lounged around, ate some chocolate and a rather dodgy egg sandwich, and chatted to some guys who┤d also done the DIY route. Talking of chocolate, I┤ve developed a craving for Snickers, which is rather bizarre as I┤ve hated them for years...

Anywho, boat back to Copa was long and rather chilly but we chatted to Vicky, Liam and Alexander and t┤was alreet. Went for dinner once we got back with them, rather pricey for our mini budgets, but got an awesome bit of fillet steak - yum! And in real money it was still only 2 quid. Also had the most amazing hot chocolate at a little cafe before dinner, thick chocolatey goodness :oD dinner was fun, although didnt have an awful lot in common with the other guys (Vicky is a Brighton girl, far too cool for the likes of me :oP ). Jenna wasnt feeling great though so we headed home once dinner was done.

So final day in Copa! More bu˝uelos y api para desayuno, and then a wander around the shops. Bought some alpaca gloves to match my silly hat, and some earings with the sun and moon on (its thematic). And then we were off to the bright lights of the highest capital city in the world...

íHasta luego! xxx
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