Higher than I've ever been before!!!

Trip Start Jul 30, 2010
Trip End Aug 19, 2010

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Thursday August 5.

We flew from Lima at sea level to Juliaka airport near Puno which is at 4200 meters above sea level. The altitutde is very noticeable. All of our cosmetics, zip lock bags and packages of baby wipes expanded . The ball in the roll-on deoderant popped right out! No wonder my head aches! We feel very short of breath just walking and it is almost impossible to sleep. Pulse is rapid, head aches and we feel 'air hunger'.  Just taking it very quiet today and not doing much!
It is very important to drink lots of water  ~3 litres a day and coca tea!  We had a short walk around the town and dinner with our group this evening and that was all the energy we had.

Friday August 6

We are all feeling rough today :(.

After breakfast we went by bike taxi to the lake shore and caught a boat that took us our of Puno Bay and into the open waters of Lake Titicaca.  Lake Titicaca is beautiful and is the  highest navigable lake in the world.We could see beautiful snow capped mountains on the other side of the lake in Bolivia.  We travelled for 3 hours to the Island of Taquille and then walked about 1.5 KM UP to a village. It was tough walking and we are all panting. The sky is clear blue and the sun is shining.

The temperature is mid teens and weather is pleasant considering it is winter here in Peru.  However at night it gets cold and goes down to 0 C or less.

There was a festival happening in the village  square with music and dancing and locals drinking a home brew of pure alcohol! Even some very old looking women were sipping the brew. The homes are very basic and life must be hard here. On this island all the knitting is done by men on 3 needles and it is very fine and beautiful. The women do the weaving and spinning and most of the fishing and land work. They wear very colourful clothing. We had lunch here and then walked back down to the boat for a 30 minute ride to the 2nd island Amantani. 

Here we were met by Lady, the 9 year old daughter of our host family. She took us to her house and we settled into our room The house was a mud brick house and very basic. The mother Blanca had a 2 month old baby Cindy and another boy and girl aged 7 and 6. We walked up to the central square and played soccer with the locals and went back to our host house for dinner - potato soup, vegetabel stew and rice. It was tasty but my appetite was not great. The food was cooked over a small open fire in a very small dirt floor kitchen. The family do not speak English and Anthony does fairly swell in spanish but mostly speak Quechuan. It was interesting!
There was the most amazing night sky to see here with not a bit of light polution.
It was cloudless and we had superb views of the Southern Cross, Milky Way, planets and zillions of stars.

We returned to the community hall, dressed up in local costumes for a dance to the music of live local musicians.  Back to house and in bed by 10PM.

Saturday Aug 7

Woke to the sound of the rooster in the yard - had breakfast of delicious pancakes -  no maple syrup though. Blanca's mother was there this morning. We gave our gifts of candles, oranges, bananas, school books and pencils for which they were very grateful.

We left by boat for our trip back to Puno via the floating islands.  Here people make islands of reeds as well as their houses and boats. Eventually back to Puno and our hotel. We went out for a walk and saw some weddings at a local church - very festive.  This was another lovley sunny day. I'm feeling much better now - getting used to the altitude.

Sunday August 8

After breakfast we caught a bus to travel to Cusco. It was very comfortable and the scenery lovely. The trip took 7 hours to our hotle the Cusco Plaza II. We walked around the square and saw some of the old Inca walls. It was another lovley sunny day.

Monday August 9

Left Cusco with only our duffle bacg for the Inca Trail. We are allowed to pack 6 KG which includes our sleeping bag and thermarest. The rest of our luggage stays at the hotel in Cusco. We have a day backpack but were advised to carry only the necesseties on the Inca Trail.
Today we are on a day tour to the Sacred Valley with a local guide Erica. Our first stop is Pisac to see Inca terraces, burial sites and other ruisn. Quite amazing the work that has been done to build this area.

Second stop is a local market and then lunch at Alumbra Hocienda which was a delicious buffet.
Later we went to a local Chicka bar and saw how they make this corn beer and had a chance to drink it and learn a Peruvian toast. 

We visited the GAP project where the women make dye for the wool, spin and weave it into very colourful mats, blankets, hats, shawls etc. 

On to Ollyantambo where we visited Inca ruins and wlked up to the sun temple. We learned about its history, geography and construction.

Stayed in a hotel here and enjoyed the sleep for tomorrow we start the Inca Trail!

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