Sunday, September 16, 2007
The Highest Lake in the World!!
Last night we got back from our 4 days adventure to Lake Titicaca. We finished up our last day with our TEFL course on Tuesday and we decided to celebrate be drinking Pisco of course and eating some guinea pig, which is a delicacy here. Jay and I shared one whole guinea pig and, wow, what a difficult animal to eat. There is not much meat on that little animal and really if I had to do it again I probably wouldn't order it. They bring the entire thing out whole, and it had little teeth, tears almost started forming as I was eating it. Jay on the other hand I think would order it again, it sort of just tasted like dark meat chicken but a little gamier (Jay says) Then the next morning we caught a bus to Puno which is the city right on the Lake. We decided to take the more touristic trip down there, stopping 5 different places to see some churches, pre- Inca ruins and the usual but amazing sights you can see in Peru. We arrived in Puno, which I recommend not spending too much time there if you ever have the chance. We stayed in our hostel which was very nice and had really hot water, which I miss terribly. The next morning we caught our boat at the harbor for our day on the lake. The harbor of Puno is extremely polluted but as soon as your get away from that area the view, the smell, and the surroundings change dramatically, to the picturesque view of the highest lake in the world at about 12,500 feet (higher than Cusco) The first stop were amazing little man made islands. They were completely made out of reeds (Basically thick grass that grows in the water) called the Uros Islands. People actually live on these and going there you would have thought time stood still for the past 100 years. The only kicker is they have solar panels, because of course they don’t have electricity but they also don’t have money to buy solar panels and the gov’t actually gives one or two to each little reed island. They are about $750 each; one good thing the gov’t does here. These islands can actually float away and sometimes they said when two families are fighting they will cut their part of the island away from the other and float away, which is a good way to solve conflicts I guess. Their houses were so lite that if you got 4 people together you could actually lift them up, I think so that when the reeds begin to sink they can relocate very easily. We were able to travel around in one of their man made reed boats, which was extremely sturdy, and 2 women were the ones rowing about 20 tourists around, very impressive. We actually found a telephone booth on one of these floating islands, which was very odd having one of these modern necessities on a completely ancient island. We had to leave that wonderful experience to another great adventure. We went to an island called Amantanini Island where we arrived for lunch. The tourist on our boat were divvied up to stay with our host family for the day and night. Luckily Jay , Daniel, Lindsey and I stayed with a little lady named Francesca. She was sooo wonderful and cute. She took us to her house made entirely our of mud and some tin on the roof. We each had our room which seemed to be made for midgets. The house was on prime location and anywhere else in the world would cost a million dollars just for the property. She cooked us lunch, which was wonderful and very typical, all vegetarian with soup and a small salad with cheese. We then hiked to some inca sights on top of the mountain on their island. That night was very cold. We came back to Francescas for dinner which again was wonderful. She then proceeded to dress us up in the typical attire, men wearing ponchos and Peruvian hats and the girls wearing a poofy skirt, traditional shirt and a head covering short of resembling a nun. We then walked to the main square and had a traditional dance. It was a lot of fun mingling with the locals. One interesting thing about staying in the traditional house was there was no electricity everything was by candle light and there was no running water. To flush the toilet in the outhouse (basically a whole in the ground) we had to get a bucket of water and pour it down. It may sound like a rough life, but wow what an experience that could never be replaced. The stars before we went to bed were unbelievable. The clearest sky I have ever seen, with the Milky Way lighting it up. The clearity was due to the lack of electricity. The next morning she made us breakfast which was the best I have had here yet, it came with a awesome pancake. We had to leave Francesca and hop on the boat again for our tour back to Puno, stopping on the way at another Island called Taquille Island. After getting back to the port, Daniel and Lindsey headed back to Cusco to catch their flight the next day and Jay and I stayed one more night in the hostel. We left the next evening at about 6pm when our bus was actually supposed to leave at 4pm. Latin time really gets on my nerves. We had a very comfortable ride back and arrived back at our apartment at about 1am. We are resting today because tomorrow starts the main adventure. We get picked up at 4:30 am for our hike to Choquequirao, which is considered the other Machu Picchu. It seems to be a secret among the Peruvian community. They are not done excavating it, and supposedly when they do finishit is going to be bigger than Machu Picchu. Jay and I are the only two on our tour, which consist of a English tour guide and a cook and two donkeys to carry our stuff. We will get back on Friday. We will let you know how it goes.