miércoles, 3 de octubre de 2007

First Days in Peru


Hello from Puno, Peru on the shores of beautiful Lake Titicaca!

I arrived in Peru yesterday after spending one lovely day in Copacabana, Bolivia with a half day boat tour to Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun) where many indigenous people believe life began. With only one hour on the island, I hiked up the Inca Stairs and saw great views of Isla del Luna (Island of the Moon) and other parts of the rather large island. Back in Copacabana, I had a lovely dinner of trout and got to walk around their very beautiful cathedral with its white walls and green tiled domed roofs. It is a very relaxing little town on the southern shores of Lake Titicaca (think on the scale of our Great Lakes).

When I woke up Tuesday morning and prepared to take the bus to Puno, Peru (where my friends Jessica and Jorge live) I realized I had traveller´s diarrhea even though I had eaten at a very nice restaraunt and only drank bottled water. It has been slowing me down a bit and taking away my appetite, but Jorge´s sister is a doctor in Lima and she recommended some medication to help me get better.

Jessica, a friend from college, has been living here for two years and speaks excellent Spanish. She and Jorge are expecting their first baby, a boy, in February. They are very excited and like calling each other Mama and Papa already!

Today I was feeling a little better and so Jessica and I took a boat tour out to the Islas Flotantes (Floating Islands). The islands are made of reeds, piled upon dried reeds and almost continually replenished to keep the islands dry and above water. Some of the islands noticeably move under your feet. The Uros people were forced to create these new homes for themselves centuries ago when they were driven from there homes by the Incas. They even make very beautiful boats out of tightly bound reeds with animal like heads on the bows.
Reed Boat

Tonight we went out to a very nice dinner here in Puno. There were live musicians and dancers who put on a show typical of the Aymara indigneous people, those from the region of Southern Peru and Bolivia. It was very good. I also tried Alpaca prepared in the traditional Peruvian dish of Lomo Saltado for the first time and really enjoyed it. Alpaca is like a very tender and flavorful beef.

Tomorrow we will drive to Cusco stopping to see many of the lesser visited Incan ruins along the way. Jorge is from Cusco and is excited to show me around his very popular home town. His parents have a house in Cusco and in the Sacred Valley where we will also stay before I take a tour to Machu Picchu on Tuesday.

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