Cucumber juice on the rapido rapido rapids
Trip Start Sep 30, 2006
149Trip End Dec 24, 2008
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We left the wonderfully crazy La Paz, after getting my shoes burnt - see picture - and went to see Lake Titicaca on the border with Peru. The plan was to take a 2 hour boat out to the centre of the lake and visit Isla del sol, the island of the sun, and spent four days trekking around the island up at 4000m. The high altitude is hard to take in a breath but good training for when we walk Inca trail in 2 weeks time. The 300 or so yokels living on the island liked to give us strange evil eye looks, or that may have been their lazy eye, either way some of them had probably never been off the island. We suspected there was an undercurrent of in-breeding going on, this suspicion was based mainly on we caught one of the yokels waving at jumbo jet.
As April began we moved on to the last country we will visit in South America, Peru, again. During April we are checking out the south of the country with Kat's brother who arrives in on the 8th. So with 1 week spare we took an 18 hour bus from the border and finishing in a very small backwater town called Lunahuana. Our guide book promised warm sunny days spent camping along side a river with orchards of plums, avocados and apples, and it was pretty much spot on.
At the campsite me met up with our Peruvian friend Camilo. He spoke excellent Spanglish and told us the old Peruvian lady across the road runs a small shop/restaurant from her front living room. He invited us over to the Lady's house on our first night with a promise of finding 3 litres of larger on sale for 1.80p. When we arrived it became quite apparent we were the first English guests to ever visit this woman's house. She nearly fainted when she heard we had come all the way from england. Our arrival meant the neighbour's were quickly invited over for the standard interrogation and while we sat down looking around for cheap beer Camilo did most of the translations.
Our skin proved to be a very serious talking point. We both look younger than 26 and have no wrinkles which here, is quite rare. Various reasons were put forward by the eight strong locals who had turned up for the gringo viewing. We put them all straight by explaining that in England its customary to smear soft goats cheese on the face each night before drinking a glass of cucumber juice. They went off later muttering about buying cucumbers.
The next morning we went back to visit the old lady. Her face lit up, and not without the help of some cucumber juice, I believe. She hugged us and told us to sit down and eat our gringo breakfast of scrambled eggs. Camilo was taking us white water rafting today down the river canyete which was flowing very fast over very large and menacing boulders. Brilliant.
After getting very wet for the day we spent the evening around a fire drinking beer in an empty camp field watching the stars. The peace and quiet the next morning was shattered with the arrival of about fifty people ready to celebrate sermana santa this coming weekend, their easter celebrations. The group camping next to us were all uni students and some of them spoke good English. We were invited over for the night to drink piscola, a mixture of pisco - the local spirit and coca cola. As the evening went on it quickly turned in to a sort of Glastonbury festival meets Newquay, I think the lads camping next door stopped screaming and singing around 6:30am. The next morning the camp-field was littered with bottles and cans, one of the lads cracked open a beer. Gone was the tranquil first 2 days and gone were we.
Cooper Out to Lima to meet the brother and brother in law.
Love Dan & Kat