Chillin and sunbathin at 3800m

Trip Start Feb 21, 2006
Trip End Sep 11, 2006

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Monday, June 5, 2006

So´we´re sitting here in an internet cafe in "gringo alley", Cusco, Peru, probably the most gringofied cities we´ve encountered so far and it´s my turn to write the blog about some of the most chilled out places we´ve been so far. The cheesy techno blasting in my ears at the moment is a far cry from about a week and half ago when we hit Copacabana on Lake Titicaca, one of the highest navigable lakes in the world at 3800m.

Knowing we were going to be heading to Peru shortly, we spent a couple of days making the most of Bolivia´s super cheap shopping experience. Well, maybe I should clarify this by saying that Emma went nuts with Lisa and Tanya, the two girls we´ve been travelling with lately, while Mike and I worked on becoming chess masters, hammock connoisseurs, and also gave approval on all purchases. Anyone who thinks they may be due a souvenir from Emma´s trip will be pleased to know they are being thought of and action is being taken. As for anyone who may be due a souvenir from me... well, you´re being thought of.

Once the shopping and hammock testing had been done, we headed to Isla del Sol on Lake Titicaca and prepared ourselves for our first Inca experience. As we approached the island, the sun shone fiercely overhead and the silhouette of Isla del sol made it easy to imagine how the Inca believed the sun was created here and the first Inca was born from a rock. Either they were really in touch with nature or were wasters who took too much San Pedro.

As soon as we hit the island, we were greeted with some amazing Inca architecture, Escalera del Inca (the staircase of the Inca), a rock staircase that took us to the top of the island and also still functioned as an irrigation feature that watered some pretty precarious looking crops down the hillside. Over the next couple of days we trekked around the island checking out some of the ruins which included a labyrinth, sacrificial tables and all the usual stuff you´d expect on an island where the sun was created and the first Inca emperor born.

After all this cultural stuff, we needed a couple more days of doing nothing in Copacabana, soaking up the sun in preparation for heading across the border to Puno, Peru, and let me tell you, we needed it. Peru has been a completely different experience to Bolivia so far. With more gringos than locals and every second shop set up to take our tourist money, the intensity has taken a while to get used to.

We first headed to Islas Flotantes on Lake Titicaca, a bunch of man made islands that appear to be giant golden patties, some half the size of a football field. They´re actually made of buoyant totora reeds and were originally constructed centuries ago as a way to isolate and protect the Uros tribe from rival tribes. The reeds were actually used to make everything from the floating island platforms themselves to reed houses and canoes. We even found a cute church made of reeds but our tight schedule meant we didn´t have time to get married so we´re still putting it off until we get back to Aotearoa.

Hmmmmm.... that´s about it for Lake Titicaca. It was big. It was sunny. It was high. If you´ve got a spare long weekend coming up, I´d recommend it!
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