Published: March 3rd 2010
March 2nd 2010
After Arequipe we took the bus down to Puno along the way seeing some stomach churning sights, dead sheep recently slaughtered on the pavement and tons of sheep and llama skin on the road, but me right off my empanada!! Puno is the town on the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca - the largest high altitude lake in the world! We took a 1 day trip of the lake on the Peruvian side as it borders Bolivia and visited Uros Floating islands they are made from reed roots for the “foundations” normally 30cms deep then layers of reeds are placed on the top every few days and then they build houses on top out of reeds! Its incredible people atcually live like this and they eat the reeds aswell!! when the rain falls in the wet season in the Andes, the islands simply rise along with the water!! they also have boats made out of reeds!! the smell took a bit of getting used to...rotting reeds, although it wasnt unbearable, these folks are allowed to hunt the birds on Titicaca as they are indigenous, for example, herons and occasionally flamingos! Other than that there main staple is fish and rice which
they buy from the mainland. Was very interesting, after that we visited another “proper island” which was 4 hours in the boat away and about ¼ of the way across Titicaca, to give an idea of how bit it is!! there we went on a “high altitude walk” which we seem to have done a fair few of on the trip and they don't get any easier! After a few nights we decided to head into Bolivia, taking the scenic route around the lake and taking a small boat ride, it was ingenious how they got the bus over the lake in the most awkward looking boat I have ever seen! The frist stop in Bolivia was La Paz which translates to “the peace” supposedley named after the countries troubled past. We had a rather interesting arrival to the town upon departing the bus at the bus station and asking a police lady where the taxis were she told us there were none but gave us directions to a hostal we had in mind, on its road there was carnival, and about a million people to go with it, now carnival here does involve a lot of dancing and music
but also hundereds of water bombs, water pistols, and silly snow, little did we kn ow this was t last for 3 days, the same 3 days we had planned on exploring the town and museums, not surprisingly everything was shut and I seemed to be a terget for the water bombs, until this point I had never seen or heard a fire cracker (proper girl) - I now know I hate them! Every time one went off it scared me!! after 3 days of dodging water bombs and not eating very much due to the closed restaurants we made a crazy decision to fly to Rurrenabaque in the jungle was a rather impulse decision and as soon as we saw the flights knew they were ours so we set off on the next morning to the airport for out 10.50am flight which takes 40 minutes, at 6pm we were still in the departure lounge! But the frustration of such a delay was soothed by the first glimpses of our 19 seater plane!!!!!! Excitemet was not the word for it, be it silly neither of us have taken such a small plane before and it was worth the wait just
to go on it, 2 propellers on either side and no door on the cockpit so we could see all the instrument panel and the pilot and his co-pilot having a jolly good laugh as we went along, the views were spectacular of the snow capped Andes, and beautiful sunlight through the clouds, we noticed we didn't reach as high altitude as you do in a regular plane. After landing on a DIRT airstrip in the middle of nowhere the plane drove around onto the grass to let us out and we were transferred to the town in a minibus. 2 days later we sent out on a tour of the Pampas, in the jungle but water based so you get to see a lot more wildlife than in the dense jungle, what a treat we had, thousands of Amazonian birdies and loads of aligators and caymans, we went swimming with pink dolphins, where both Darren and I got touched by the dolphins, when we got back in the boat I had my feet dangling over the side and felt something biting my foot, it did it again, then showed its cute pink dolphin nose at me, it was an
incredible experience, upon returning to our huts there were a family of cayman, the day before we had a couple of alligators posing for the camera at our hut! Good job there is plenty of food in the Amazon for them!! after the Pampas, we spent one more day in Rurrenabaqe before our flight out, unfortunately we had had a lot of rain and the previous days flights had all been canceled, which meant a 19 hour bus ride, luckily 2 hrs after our scheduled departure time, the next nearest airport had had less rain and it was good to fly, was probably smaller than the airport we landed in and had a shorter dirt runway! That flight was not so good, lots and lots of turbulence, and you could feel the plane dropping suddenly at some points, when we got close to La Paz there was lots of hail which made landing a bit awkward but was all executed smoothly. We went on Immediately to Oruro which was a small smoky town with hardly any oxygen in the air at over 4000mtrs, so after one night we have ended up here in Potosi, south western Bolivia the town is
famous for its mines, which are still used and apparently the conditions are appalling, you can go and visist but I think some thing we shall miss out as from what we have heard the miners are teated very badly and the atmosphere in the mine is enough to make you ill! After Potosi we took the bus to Uyuni where unfortunately Darren was ill for 3 days and the town had a severe shortage of water and the toilets and showers didnt work, luckily with our improving spanish we managed to talk the manager of our hotel into letting us shower or give us some money off the room! Its coming in handy in more ways than one! After 3 days we went on an organized tour of Uyuni Slat flats and volcanic region, where we saw, salt covered plains spanning as far as the eye could see, it was a wonderful sight and stayed in a hotel made entirely of salt, from the bricks to the beds (not the mattresses!) bedside tables and support pillars it was incredible, on the second day we went to see some snow capped volcanoes, and went to the Arbol de Pierda (stone
tree) which is a wind eroded igneous rock on the Desierto Siloli which is a sone which looks like a tree, it was in an area of more of the igneous rocks and was a great stop, afterwards we went to the Laguna roja which is home to some 45,000 flamingos 3 different types the Andean Flamigo which is pink with red underside to its wings with black bits, the Chiliean Flamigo which is grey with white legs and James' Flamigo which is lighter pink with pink legs. On day 3 we were awake at 4.30 watched sunrise and saw some ice on the floor outside, went to see some incredible active geysers and then went for a thermal bath at 35 degrees which was welcoming with the cool air at the altitude of near on 4000 meters STILL!! we cant seem to get away from the altitude! Straight after the thermal bath we went to visit the most majestic green lagoon, smililar to what you would find in a volcano crater plus plenty sulpur, minerals and arsenic so there was no bird life, after this we went straight to the Chilean border when our connecting minibus was waiting for
us, to take us to San Pedro de Atacama in the north east of Chile about 200 miles from Santiago and any earthquakes! Its a large continent!!
Also a ps when sending me comments can you say who you are cos the website don't give me this information have had a few nice comments but don't know who you are!!!!!!!
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