Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Titikaka and Island Life

Here are a few more photos, catching up from the Inka Trail.

One night in Aguas Calientes after the hike. This was the view from our swanky hotel room, which we got for free through Airtreks travel agency. Holler!

This exceeded our expectations one million times over. The hotel (El Mapi) also gave us a free pisco sour upon arrival, free dinner and free breakfast buffet! We couldn't have asked for any better.

The Inka king statue in the Plaza de Armas in Aguas Calientes (each city seems to have its own Plaza de Armas).
 He looks like a bird trainer with those pigeon friends of his.

On the road again, headed to Puno on the second floor of the bus.
We got the best seats in the house, panoramic view, front seat.

In the middle of nowhere.

Sunset in Puno.

On a boat on Lake Titikaka.

Uros, a collection of 44 manmade floating islands in Lake Titikaka. They've been inhabited for thousands of years.

Boats made out of the dried natural grasses in the lake. These were built for tourists, but they are
simply fancier versions of the traditional boats they use for transportation here.

The grass is used for everything, even a nice cool snack.

Inside one of the huts (built with the grass). There were clothes piled everywhere,
but they seem to be doing okay. That radio was playing...

They of course tried to sell us their handicrafts. It gets very old after a while, as you can't buy something
from everyone and you start to feel bad. Even the children are salespeople.

Floating on the island. Bench made out of grass...

On top of the tourist boat, which Monica and I didn't go on.

We stayed overnight on an island called Amantani. We roomed with a very nice English woman. There were tons of flies, but otherwise quite comfortable. The mattress was made of the grass. The family was quite poor and only gets running water on Tuesdays. They have solar panels for electricity though, which they use to light a couple lightbulbs.

Sheep owned by our hosting family.

A chick on the loose.

Fried cheese and potatoes lunch made for us by our host family. They eat tons of potatoes.

Muna (there should be a tilde over the "n" but I can't figure it out right now). A delicious plant they use as an herbal tea. It tastes a lot like mint and it settles your stomach.

Monica explaining what tres is. The little girl said she was tres (years old), but she held up four fingers.

View from the top of the island we were on.

Sunset was so peaceful here.

Look closely at the way they constructed that arch.

Leaving Amantani for our third island, Taquile (not tequila!).

Our new friend and roommate, Lulu, and a pup from the island.

The small market on Taquile.

Monica bought these traditional Peruvian sandals for herself. They are made out of recycled rubber from tires.
Size four was a big as they come; Monica's foot barely fits in it. Speaking of the size difference, Monica and I are tired of hitting our heads everywhere we go...

Here it is traditional for boys and men to knit along with the women. It is customary that when a man wants to marry, he must pass a knitting test. He knits a hat (as tightly woven as he can), and it has to be able to hold water without dripping any before he can wed. This boy is already practicing.

That's Monica with the shirt over her head, walking alongside our guide. The sun is so intense here (because of the elevation) that it's easy to get sunburned and also heatstroke. Everyone in Peru wears a hat (or some sort of head covering), but surprisingly, never sunglasses.

Monica with three buddies in the history museum in Puno.

Okay, only one of us can be online at a time, and Monica is ready to make a blog post. We are in Copacabana, Bolivia, now and we have much more left to update... I'll save that for a future post.