Copacabana, Lake Titicaca and Isla del Sol

Trip Start Jun 28, 2006
Trip End Jul 31, 2006

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Monday, July 17, 2006

This blog is completely out of order, but I wanted to post a new entry and pics for my trip to Copacabana, Lake Titicaca and Isla del Sol. A group of us went last weekend (7/7 - 7/9) and had a great, though slightly bizarre, time. Copacabana is a very touristy city, situated on Lake Titicaca, and apparently serves great lake trout. Of course, I canīt testify to this first-hand, but I can say that the spaghetti is pretty good. It was the one of the few vegetarian dishes that didnīt have vegetables in it, so I figured it was pretty safe to eat. We left Friday afternoon after our morning rotations, and arrived in Copacabana by 7pm. The drive up there was gorgeous, passing the altiplano, Cordillera Real and eventually ferrying across a strait to reach the city. After crossing the straight in a tiny motor boat whose engine stopped several times before reaching the other side, we continued the ride on the bus, which was also ferried across the strait. pretty funny picture. The next morning we caught an early boat ride across the lake to la isla del sol, which - again Iīll repeat - is the prettiest place on earth. Like I wrote yesterday, we first stopped at the pre-Incan ruins on the north side of the island and then hiked across the entire length of the island to the south side, crossing mountains and flatlands. It was pretty difficult, especially since we were carrying all our bags with us. We could have opted to take the boat back to the south side, but the magnificent views and hike was worth the painful 3 hour trek. If Iīm not in shape when I get back home, something is seriously wrong with me, because Iīve done a lot of hikes and biking while Iīve been here. Anyways, when we arrived at Yumani a little boy named Alfredo showed us to our hostel. Cute kid, wish I had a pic of him. Our hostel seemed pretty nice at first, actually very nice, since it was situated on a hill along the coast, so it had a great view of the mountains and la isla de la luna on the other side of the lake. We had a private bathroom and a cute room, or so we thought, until night came. But before that, we hiked around the village. So cute! Cobblestone roads, brick and stone homes, rose gardens, terraced slopes, grazing llamas and amazing views of the lake and mountains. There was a wedding that day, and I think everyone in the village was invited, so many of the restaurants were closed for the night. Fortunately, we were so hungry after our hike that we had an early dinner and were able to eat before everything closed. At night, there were only the moon and stars to light the village, and the faint glow of a fire from the wedding, somewhere in the distance. Absolutely picturesque. However, when we got back to our hostel that night, we realized that the light in our room didnīt work, one of the beds (mine) didnīt have a blanket or pillow, and the water in our bathroom stopped running. I didnīt mind the light, but it was freezing that night! The owners were gone, presumably at the wedding, and the children who gave us our room in the afternoon were either deeply asleep or ignoring us. Robin ended up stealing a pillow from another unoccupied room for me, and gave me a tablecloth that she had bought that morning so I could use it as a blanket. I also ended up using the tablecloth from our room. Fun times. I made sure I woke up the next morning before Robin so she couldnīt take a picture of me wearing all my clothes, gloves, and shoes and sleeping under tableclothes. We also met another group of girls staying at the hostel. Coincidentally, they were all from Harvard; they either just graduated from the college or were in the Ed school. They were also in La Paz to work with street children, and were taking a weekend trip to the Lake. Small world.
The next morning was incredible. I woke up at 6:45 to watch the sunrise from our backyard. It took a while for the sun to climb over the mountains, but the wait in the freezing cold was worth it. Other than the cold weather, I think Yumani may be the most perfect place in the world. But thatīs just my humble opinion...
Today is a holiday, or rather yesterday was, but everyone has the day off today. So it was hard to find an internet cafe that was open. But I wanted to post some pics before I forgot. This week Iīm working at Alalay, a collection of orphanages for Bolivian children. We rotate through different orphanages each day of the week, so it should be pretty fun. Those who already went said they had a great time playing with the kids, so Iīm excited. I get to hone my futbol skills. The most exciting part is that we have short mornings. I think we meet at like 9 or 10am in the morning. After 2 weeks of getting up at 6:30am to catch a 45 minute ride to El Alto, Iīm looking forward to the change. I also hope to visit the medical school here in La Paz. We met some med students during our trip to Coroico, and they invited us to see their school. It should be interesting to see the life of a medical student in Bolivia. Iīll try to post new pics and entries more consistently from now on.
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