Condors to Corruption- Paradoxical truths of SA

Trip Start Jan 15, 2010
Trip End Jun 18, 2010

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Flag of Peru  , Colca Canyon,
Thursday, May 6, 2010

In awe observing the belly of a condor in the light breeze, sailing across the sparkling waters of Lake Titicaca on a reed boat in an otherworldly city of floating island... and just as memorizing- living within a society plagued by machismo and a sense of debasement and lawlessness.

Sometimes reality is just as unbelievable as the surreal enchanting sites you see here in South America.

But of course the treatment you are subject to here as a gringa tourist, and the reality of living life in Peru and Bolivia, one of the poorest countries of South America, doesn't take away from the incredible things you see, and even the experiences you have as an  éxtranjero´.

Erin and I have seen some amazing things during our time together, and have (thankfully) found a lot of humor in the idiosyncrasies of everyday activities like trying to explain we need to use the phone to RECEIVE a call, going from 3 different places-- order, checkout, and pickup in a pharmacy that makes the whole store appear to be like a game of Red Rover Red Rover Call so and so on over, and jsut trying to figure out exactly how you go about drinking a bag of chocolate milk. 

But at the same time, its not all fun and games.

I guess the reason there haven't been a lot of blog entries lately is because Ive been in a bit of a rut myself.  I just got fed up with the way people give you directions even if they don't know where a place is (so as not to appear rude?), they way men don't really listen to what you are saying AT ALL and the way even women only ´hear´ what they think you are saying.  Like when Erin and I were trying to buy chocolate milk.  I asked in Spanish, how do you drink thuis, and she just looked off and repeatedly told us 3.50 Bolivianos, 3.50 Bolivanos.  They also think every foreigner is rich- and when Erin and I are already stressed about money as we reach the end of our trips, hearing- oh more for you because you are a gringo-- just doesn't go over so well haha. 


In Copacabana, on the shore of Lake Titicaca, I was tired of the cold, of how i was treated as if I didn't know ANYTHING, and was sincerely disliking life as a tourist-- instead of part of a family and community like I have been for almost all of my trip I was just a way for people to ake money---    Its hard to explain exactly what was going on-- Im long past the honeymoon state of travel--------

Seriously contemplated coming home early- but ALAS here Erin and I are-- in the Amazon -- in the hotness and relaxing jungle town of Trinidad-- refreshed, happy, and once again I find myself thinking-- wait is 3 weeks enough time???   Funny how things change, no?  : )

Makes me thing of the quote: When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.  ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

Life here is unlike anything I've ever experienced, and I'm glad I'm hanging on.

But what HAVE we been up to then?  Well spent those first days in Arequipa, making our hair blonde, etc.... haha normal behavior..   Then we went on a trek to the Colca Canyon-- apparently the deepest canyon in the world and saw the flight of the condor-- something that sounds pretty lame but was absolutely enchanting.  Condors are these huge birds- one of the 3 sacred animals of the Inca- and at one point in the canyon they can be seen soaring above.  Erin and I resorted to desperate measures after a while of no condor sighting-- as you an see with our doll condor pictures-- but at the end, seriously felt victim to the beauty and gracefulness of the condor as it flew above us.  They are HUGE!  A collective aweee was heard over the crowd-- everyone seemed pretty impressed.

After the Colca Canyon we wanted to go directly to Puno-- our tour company said they would tell the guide to let us off ´safely at a police station´ and they would help us flag down a bus to go to Puno-- WELL Erin and I were a little surprised when we were left off literally in the middle of nowhere in a rickety old police station with camo beds and no one in sight... Bye bye comforts of toursit bus!  So after we found the police officer---Erin and I found ourselves watching bus by bus go by blowing up dust on the highway- formed mini town, and entertained ourselves sitting on a stop sign... Oh good times indeed.

FINALLY one came that wasn´t ´llena´an off we went!  We even got to sit in the front with the driver because it was actually full, were served water, and played some clapping games haha

Stayed in Puno for a few days and went to Islas Flotantes by going own to the dock and getting on a bus filled with locals.  It was awesome.  : )

Had a VERY eventful border crossing where the security men hit on us and told us if we went dancing we might not have to pay the tax to enter... were taking pictures of us on their cell phones.... AND wanted to keep the picture of me jumping in front of Machu Picchu instead of cutting of my face for the ´head shot´they needed.  UGH!  even when we pulled the lesbian line out, they didn't back off!!!! JEEZ!

SO YES  arrived in Copacabana, whittled away the days of nice weather, and on our last day when we had planned to go to the island, Isla del Sol, Lake Titicaca was white capping and 2 sailors had gotten lost at sea!  (Or lake as it was...)  SOOO off to La Paz we went--- you know, there are no ATMS within 4 hours of the border--- and we were out of money!  ahahaha SOOO to La Paz-- cold and not that great.. guns EVERYWHERE!  and finally escaped to Santa Cruz and here, Trinidad.  Ahhh how I love the heat!

Well must go!  On our way to Chuchini Ecolodge to volunteer!  No electricity for 2 weeks!! wOÔP!  :)

3 more weeks of my trip!


P.S-- no time for spell check!! sorry!

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john moor on

hang in there. your mom told me that it got pretty cold there in many ways. it will go fast and be the memories of a lifetime. thanks for sharing. glad you are well. look forward to seeing you but not even close to as much as your mom and dad. best to you.

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