Lake Titicaca and Bolivia
Trip Start Jul 15, 2004
27Trip End Jul 15, 2005
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Once again it has been a fun and event packed couple of weeks and the time flies by so quickly it is almost unbelievable to look back at all the things I have been doing. Everyday you see something interesting or incredible, whether it be something of cultural signifcance, or just a scene on a street of everyday life. I am just struck by the fact I am here, in South America, and actually experiencing these things.
In the last week we travelled from Peru to Bolivia, and there has been a definite change in culture and landscape. Before we went to Bolivia though we stayed in Puno on Lake Titicaca the highest navigable lake in the world. It is huge, and quite pretty once you get out of the poluted waters near Puno. Puno itself is a pretty average place, but the point for most tours of the lake and its communities
The next day was an early start to go leave Peru, and go to La Paz Bolivia. It was sad to say goodbye to Peru, the last few weeks had given us many memorable and inspiring experiences. The bus was a basic one, and the trip quite long but we managed to make the border crossing without losing our Canadian companions! However we did have a funny experience about an hour later where we had to make a crossing of part of the lake. We had to get off our bus and do a short crossing on a small motorised boat, the lake was really choppy because the wind had picked up, so it made for a bit of excitement. however the really funny bit was watching the bus (and all our belongings) being loaded onto what can only be called a raft...and then punted across the lake. We were worried about making it across on the boats, but we were very nervous about seeing our large bus on a small raft sinking halfway across Lake Titicaca. The bus made it, but we were left wondering just how many buses may be at the bottom of the lake.
It was a couple of hours further when we got to La Paz. It is quite decieving really because you hit an outer suburb that you think is La Paz, but then go a little further along the highway, turn a corner and then suddenly in the valley below you is the massive city...it took everyones breath away to just see this city below us, and snow on the mountains around it
The next day we spent looking around the city, with its many markets. Close by was the Witches Market, famous for selling spells, charms and dead things....most notably baby llama and alpacas and even llama foetuses (apparently used to put in the foundations of new houses to bring good fortune). The smell was a bit much at times, and there were actually worse dead things hanging from doorways...eeck! I did buy a statue of Pacha Mama though, or mother earth. The streets were really busy with people walking around, but the city feels quite safe overall. Although in saying that, later that night someone was apparently mugged with violence just down the road from our hostal! In the afternoon the weather suddenly turned from sunshine to freezing and lots of rain. We were trying to look at the Black Market but the weather was atrocious and my fingers were freezing so we a few of us retreated for coffee and a relaxing afternoon, in preparation for a big night out
Our last night together as a group was bittersweet...we met in Byron and Skyes honeymoon suite and gave Maria a present from us. We then played a game that Skye organised, here we each had to take an amount of wool (as much or as little as we wanted...so guess who took the longest bit!) and then we found out that using the wool and wrapping it around our finger we had to talk about the trip for as long as the piece of wool. It was a great idea and everyone had just amazing things to say in their own brief or long way. Skye is the master at games...spot the primary teacher! We then had a big dinner at the hotel restaurant, to celebrate the end of this segment and Sze Fe s birthday. We were a pretty rowdy bunch thanks to the many bottles of wine drunk earlier. We then went out to a bar and had a good night. A few sore heads in the morning (although I wasnt too bad...honestly!)
The next day the strike was still on, but we decided to try and leave La Paz at midday. A quick visit back to the Witches Market found me buying a beautiful old embroidered shawl which is too hard to explain, but I am pretty happy with my purchase. I also got a couple of lovely colourful scarves and silver ring. We met one of our new travel companions, Calvin from the UK, who is in his 50s and travelling indefinitely. The trip from La Paz was slow, some streets were blockaded because of the strike and we had to go the long way to get out of the city
We havent done too much in Sucre, except have too large nights out on the town, one for the hell of it and the other for Sze Fe s official birthday. The birthday was again a great night out, and thanks to Skye we had some games to play which lasted most of the night and that involved lots of silliness and drinking! We have a new travel companion Katherine, again from Bristol but who has been working and living in Perth for the last year. She is lovely and a fellow vegetarian, which is good. We have been out to some fun bars and places to eat. Just this morning we walked up a hill and found ourselves at this cafe overlooking the city, in deckchairs and having a coffee