Living on straw bales...Lake Titicaca

Trip Start Jan 04, 2008
Trip End Apr 08, 2008

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Flag of Peru  ,
Sunday, February 3, 2008

As if there was enough oxygen in Cuzco at 3400 m elevation,  we move on to the town of Puno, right here on Lake Titicaca - which incidentally was just voted one of the 7 natural wonders of the world - with an elevation of 3800 meters...that's about 11500 feet...over twice as high as the highest mountain in NYS.  So, needless to say, I find my heart fluttering every once in a while and a walk up even a small set of stairs leaves me breathless.  I had finally acclimated well to the altitude in Cusco , but spending a week in the jungle, way down there in the lowlands took back all the gains I  had made.  And then it's off to Puno.  The draw here is this enormous lake, which is a sacred lake to the fact it appears to be shaped like a puma chasing a rabbit...the puma is sacred to the Incas...there are three messengers between the god of the sky (Inti), the god of the Earth (Pachemama), and the god of the mountains (Apus)... the condor represents the messenger in the world above the earth, the puma is of the earth, and the serpent (snake) beneath the earths surface.  These three symbols are seen in everything...from the shape of rock at MP, to the layout of the city of Cusco, to this giant Lake Titicaca.  Now I think it takes a stretch of the imagination to see it sometimes...but I get the concept.
We take a trip out to the straw islands...very cool... people living on straw, really...kind of like peat bogs.   Seems very refreshing compared to life inundated by mud...sunny, lots of water and fish....and you can float your island away if you don't like your neighbors....just saw your piece off and move elsewhere in the lake...anyway, check out the photos....everything is straw...the houses, the boats, all of it....
Then there's Taquile island...just like the the middle of Lake Titicaca, one of the 7 natural wonders of the world....climb climb climb up to the top of the island.....up another 200 meters in elevation...breathing hard, no's very beautiful....and we meet these delightful people from Germany currently living in Uruguay....half of the thrill of the trip is meeting all these interesting people....exhilirating boat ride back to Puno...crystal clear landscapes....good people...

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