Bolivia, boats, breathing, blessings...

Trip Start Feb 02, 2013
Trip End Mar 25, 2013

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Where I stayed
On a catamaran

Flag of Bolivia  , La Paz,
Sunday, March 3, 2013

Leaving Puno at a ridiculous time of the morning on a mini bus, we went through some obviously struggling neighbourhoods which were in such stark contrast to the hotel we had just vacated it sat us all back a bit.  We all felt even more grateful to have been born where we were. We had to wait on the shores of Lake Titikaka so I spent a bit of time getting a non-ducking duck shot for Renee.   It took some doing!  They're busy little birds. Transfer to a large coach with a hoard of Nordic people and we were on our way to Bolivia.

The terrain became more expansive, with great mountains on all sides.  Every piece of arable land is being cultivated or there are tethered animals (cows, pigs, goats, llamas, donkeys) inhabiting the space.  The farm houses are more scattered and the closer to Bolivia we came, the more houses were made of manufactured bricks rather than the mud bricks of Peru.  

Getting through the boarder from Peru to Bolivia was an absolute scream.  Every month with great pomp and ceremony, these two neighbours get together on their mutual boarder.  Dressed in their official uniforms and national dress, they praise each other, sing their national anthems, and then, discuss any issues, I am sure with the intent of keeping things peaceful!  There were all the various heads of clans and divisions and counsels and the military and police, as well as schools children in dance costumes and many, many onlookers.  . We learned that Bolivia has a Navy although it has no access to the ocean.  It has mandatory military service for all 18 year old males and many of the guys from the communities around the Lake choose the Navy as that is where it patrols!!  Extraordinary, huh?
The best was yet to come.  We had a schedule with the transport people, so the next instruction was to walk around the rear of the ceremony, up the other side, down a little mud track, past some back fences, chook pens, pigs, flowers, you name it, and a few locals having a chat, down a set of stairs, next to a loo that costs to use, and then into the police station for a stamp and back to the immigration office for verification of your Peruvian exit stamp in your passport, and to hand in the immigration paper.  Hilarious!  I can't even imagine what it looks like to come into Bolivia through a back door!!!  
But, despite all the chaos, there was our next bus waiting for us.  All our luggage present and accounted for as well.  Little miracles every day!  Laugh!
Again, learning.  The original Copacabana is a small city on the shores of Lake Titikaka!  It is a thriving little place with a great Cathedral in its heart. The architecture is influenced not only by its Inka past, but also the Spanish, the Renaissance, the Moors, and I am sure there is a little Paris in there somewhere too.  As you can see the views down some of there streets are just gorgeous.
And then onto the Isla Del Sol by catamaran (smallest room I've ever slept in).  We were greeted by the local women with flower wreaths that we later gave as offerings to the Mother Lake as we were being rowed around by the President of the local P&C!  Love it!!!
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Renee on

Hello my lovely girlfriend! You have an eye for the quirky characters in life ... or they have an eye for you ... I can't quite work out which comes first :) Thanks for the duck, I was on the verge of mounting a significant duckless protest so your timing, as usual, is impeccable. If you feel a little tug on your heart every now and then it will be me thinking of you, as i do often.

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