Peru Entry #4

Lake Titicaca Travel Blog

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The islands of Lake Titicaca were amazing last weekend!
My roommates and I took an overnight bus from Cusco to Puno (10pm-5am) on Friday night and then spent all day Saturday and most of Sunday on the lake. Saturday started with a tour of the Uros Islands, which are entirely made of reeds. There are currently 35 islands, but the guide said this is constantly changing because of new islands being created. I was up on the roof of the boat as we approached these islands, and I was awe-struck. I have never seen anything like it....people living on top of islands made of reeds....spectacular!! They build thier houses out of reeds on top of the islands as well. The people of Uros make woven goods, a special matrimonial mobile (of course I had to get one), and other handicrafts. With the money they make on tourism, they have been able to buy things like solar panels so that they have electricity at night. Absolutely amazing!!

Then we had a simple, but tasty lunch on Isla Taquile. The inhabitants of Isla Taquile talked to us about the crafts they make....the guys are the only ones who know how to knit their special hats....and they also danced for us. We hiked around the island after lunch before departing on the boat to Isla Amantani for our overnight stay. Aneesha, Grace, and I stayed with a family for the night on Isla Amantani. They fed us a very simple but yummy dinner, along with some really good Muna tea brewed straight from a plant outside their house (I´m going to try and bring some of the plant home with me:) After dinner, we dressed in traditional clothing and went to a bonfire for dancing and drinking. The locals danced with us and shared with us a special drink called ponche, which consists of a Peruvian liquor called Pisco, milk, and a few other reminded me of drinking hot Almond milk before going to bed...yummy!! Overall, a pretty good Fourth of July evening, except for the fact that I finally broke down and cried because I missed home. :( 

The next morning we had another simple but yummy meal with our host family and then climbed to the top of Amantani Island. The hike was difficult, especially at 13,000 feet, but it was soooo worth the view at the top....360 degree view of Lake Titicaca along with matny other islands and the Bolivian mountains. I had to stop repeatedly on the way up, but the pictures I took at the top will have been worth the strenuous climb. That hike made me realize that trekking for 4 days to Macchu Picchu is definitely going to kick my butt. After our hike, we ate lunch with our family and then departed on the boat for a 3 hour ride back to Puno. For most of this time, I was enjoying the sun and the compnay on the roof of the boat. I was baffled at how large the lake really was. Once arriving in Puno, a group of about 10 volunteers shopped a little, had a great meal together and then departed on our overnight bus back to Cusco. Overall, a fantastic Foruth of July weekend!!

The kids at the clinic continue to entertain me everyday. They are soooo sweet and just want some attention and time with people. I worked with the OTs/PTs this week again for 2 days, then spent 2 days helping in different classrooms. We had Wednesday off because there was a huge city-wide bus and taxi strike. Since everyone takes busses or taxis to their volunteer sights, we couldn´t get to work. I felt happy to support the ¨huelga¨ as well. The drivers were striking because the government is trying to double their yearly registration costs because they think that will help decrease the number of deaths caused in taxis and busses. It was quite nice to see the people rising up and fighting th government by halting ALL taxis and busses in Cusco for 24 hours. They also placed huge rocks in the middle of some of the roads and marched down one of the main streets in downtown Cusco in the morning. Don´t worry Mom, I´m safe. :-) 

I´m excited to be leaving for Arequipa tonight with some other volunteers. We will be spending the next 3 days in Colca Canyon, Chivay, and Arequipa. I´m especially excited because I just found out that Colca Canyon is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon...holy cow, it should be spectacular!! Anyway, I´ll write about this weekend´s adventure next week. Please continue to keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I volunteer here in Cusco and travel around the other many beautiful parts of Peru.

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611 km (380 miles) traveled
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Lake Titicaca
photo by: Wannabadventurer