Friday, March 17, 2006

Seasickness on the highest lake in the world

14 March 2006

Yesterday was spent traveling from Cuzco to Puno. This took 7 hours on a bus! Puno is at an altitude of 3800m above sea level.

Today was an early start again for us as we headed out onto Lake Titcaca to visit some of the Islands. Lake Titcaca is the highest navigatable lake in the world and its huge. We experienced rain for the first time since we have been in South America. However the rain soon disappeared and it was blue skies again.

Our first stop was Taquile Island which was about a 3 hour boat ride from Puno. We took a hike over the island which was quite tough because of the altitude, but the scenery was picturesque. We stopped off in the main plaza for lunch and then caught the boat to a near by island called Amantani.

On Amantani Island we stayed with a family in their home. We met our families and after a brief stay at our home, went up the hill to the local football pitch. It was only half the size and was concrete. We played two games of gringos vs locals. We won the first game 5-3 - one of the few times the locals had lost. The locals then immediately challenged us to a rematch - feeling the altitude we lost 4-1. We returned to our host home where we had a very simple dinner of soup and potatoes with our family in their small dark kitchen. We had some fun and games playing around with one of the children who lived in the house.

After dinner we got dressed up in traditional costumes to go to a fiesta. I only had to where a woolen hat and poncho, but Caroline had to wear traditional skirt, blouse and headscarf. At the fiesta we did some traditional Peruvian dancing which after a while seemed all to be the same. I dont think the locals were that impressed with our dancing skills.

15 March 2006

After a good night sleep we left Amantani Island and our host families. The lake was a bit choppy and both Caroline and I suffered from abit of sea sickness. On the way back to Puno, we stopped off at the Uros Islands which are a series of man made islands make of reeds. Its quite interesting and the islands were quite stable(and bouncy).

Once we were back in Puno we decided to pay a visit to the Fertility Temple, just outside of Puno. It was listed in one of our guidebooks as one of the top thirty things to do in Peru. When we arrived we were abit disappointed as it was a bit smaller than we expected. Being a Fertility Temple it had a whole series of phallic shaped statues. Even though it wasnt as big as we thought it was still worth a visit just for some funny photos. Late in the evening we again went out for dinner and drinks in Puno - which was a lot of fun.


Lake Titicaca from Taquile Island.

Neil starring on the soccer field on Amantani Island.

The winning soccer team

The house where we stayed on Amantani Island.

A view of one of the floating Uros Islands

The Fertility Temple in Puno - not quite up to size.

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