Monday, October 15, 2007

Peru - Lake Titicaca

There is now a group of 8 of us continuing on the trip through Peru. Five from the Bolivia group (3 Irish, 1 Scottish, 1 Kiwi) plus 2 Aussies and 1 French-Canadian.

We crossed into Peru at Lake Titicaca, the world´s highest navigable lake, where we spent a couple of days out visiting the island communities. The lake covers a huge area and it look about 3 hours to make it out to Taquille island where there are still about 4000 inhabitants. We learned all about the local hats which tell you a lot about a person. You can tell if someone is married or not and if not you can even not whether they are engaged, looking to get married or not interested just by the direction they wear their bobble! Fresh trout caught in the lake that morning for lunch.

On to Amantani island where we were to stay the night with a local family. When we arrived at the dock we were divided up into 2 or 3 per family. All the local people speak Quechua here but luckily my host 'papa' (see left) spoke spanish so we were able to communicate fairly ok. Very, very sweet family we made us feel very welcome. The island is very hilly and we were tired just after the walk up to our house. So when we hiked to the top of the island at 4180m to see the sunset we were all beginning to wonder how we would fare with the Inca Trail if we were finding this tough.

But sunset worth the climb. As you´d expect it gets extremely dark out here with thousands of stars visible. Everyone else in the group was very jealous that our house had electricity so we could actually see what we were eating for our family dinner. Really good homemade soup.

In the evening we had one of the funniest evenings ever. All the local people still wear dress that comes from the Spanish colonial times where they were expected to emulate Spanish country dress in particular here from Andalucia. So the local entertainment on the island is to dress all the guests up in local dress and all go down for boogie in the community centre. So the two other girls in my house and myself were crying with laughter as our papa dressed us up in a white embroidered shirt (see above), two giant pleated skirts, a very tight thick belt around the waist and then a long black embroidered shawl. Beautiful clothes but we immediately looked about 18 stone or 8 months pregnant or both! Also very hard to breathe with the belt so tight. We waddled our way with the family down to the hall to find everyone else similarly dressed up with the men in ponchos and funny hats. The local boys all played in the two bands. And so the dancing began - somewhere between a ceili and a Jack Rabbit Slim´s twist competition! Very, very funny.

We´re now in Cuzco relaxing for a few days before we start 3 day hike on the Inca Trail and visit Machu Picchu. Four of the group have gone to the jungle for two days. I´m going to be in the jungle later in Ecuador. Cuzco is a great city to wander about with old, narrow winding streets and lots of great shops, bars and restaurants to keep the credit card busy. Trying to get all my energy together now for the Inca Trail which we begin in a couple of days - catch you all after that,