What to Pack for Peru in August/September …

Standard

1. In Iquitos & Amazon area, be sure to have: Passport, malaria medication, possibly yellow fever vaccination, bug spray, sunscreen, wear long sleeve shirt and long pants, sneakers for possible wet & muddy areas, hat, sunglasses, binoculars – if birding, camera, raincoat, windbreaker.
2. In Cuzco, Sacred Valley & Machu Picchu area, be sure to have: Passport, bug spray, sunscreen, hiking shoes, walking sticks with rubber tips for Machu Picchu, raincoat, windbreaker, hat, sunglasses, altitude medicine possibly needed for Cuzco at 11,000 feet, camera, clothing as listed above plus additional layer for warmth, sandals with straps if rafting.
3. In Lake Titicaca at 12,500 feet, be sure to have: Passport, sunscreen, altitude medication, camera, raincoat, hat, sunglasses, camera, clothing as listed above plus additional layers for warmth where it will even be colder in early morning and late night.
4. Always carry: toilet paper, small coins…1 soles or 5 soles coin…for toilet use fee, to take photo of a person who requests payment, hard candies for dry areas in country or on airplane flights, water, snack.
5. Other items: extra camera batteries, etc, reading glasses, map of Peru, copy of passport and credit cards, etc in another location from actual items, personal needs, wipes or anti-bacterial solution, antibiotics, flashlight.
6. Be ready to be flexible, polite, good-humored, giving…we are ambassadors experiencing a culture different than our own and the time spent in Peru can be wonderful!

Advertisements

Floating Reed Islands on Lake Titicaca!

Standard

Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world and my use of Diamox has helped me enjoy the few days we have been here. Today was my opportunity to see floating islands made totally of reeds! I could not believe I stepped onto the island of reeds: reed houses, lookout towers, boats, moisturizer, toilet paper, some souvenirs, and learned of the multiple uses of reeds-hats, clothing, mattresses, furniture, fertilizer, and food portion at root, they peel it like a banana. It takes 3 months to build a reed boat and they are making larger ones to transport tourists…I was one of them! If you need a toilet, you row about 5 minutes away into the reeds in a special place for such use. You are always to take someone with you.
The Uros culture in living on these reed islands can only involve hard working people as they need to continually build their island, and homes, and boats as the reeds decay. Walls and a roof last a year so that requires much upkeep. An island itself can last 35 years, but it requires a layer of new reeds on it every 15 days, and then also a layer under the house as it is always a step up from the island. There is so much work, but the people were wonderful explaining it all with the help of our guide.
For the creation of an island, they look for thick roots below reed growth and tie chunks together leaving a bit of space to let roots connect between chunks. They also anchor the reed island do it does not float to another location. It was absolutely fascinating! So what happens when people are not doing their fair share of work? At the third warning, the others take a saw and cut them away from the island they had been part of!
The Uros, are Aymara, and do have a medical clinic, a school, and midwife when a woman has a baby. Every family has a solar panel and as a result we saw light bulbs, radios and televisions…even if 6×6 inch screen.
The most distressing part for me was discovering the fact that the people are drinking the brackish water. The salt intake has effects on their bodies. They had a desalination project and had used it, but when it broke down a number of years ago no one could fix it. Wow, there could be a project!
Our entrance fee to visit these islands has been used for theses people to buy land outside of Puno for cemetery and also to build housing for their university students to stay nearby the school. When students attend university, more and more of them wear western clothes the and too on the island. Once again, the traditional ways may be lost in a generation.
We traveled an hour and half by speedboat to an actual Island Taquile. The island is made up of 6 districts and every family on the island has land in each district. This enables all to gave variety and to rotate use of their land. The people here are Quechua and both sexes knit. As a matter of fact, a young man must knit a hat with such a tight weave capable of holding water in it to impress his girlfriend's parents. We had a delicious lunch here and then hiked higher on the island to then walk a length of the island to meet our boat in a different location. One male tourist (not in our group) was having difficulty with his heart so he was transported by wheelbarrow for awhile.
When boarding or departing our boat, it was quite common to climb through a couple of other boats to get to the dock. Great day today and no rain until we headed back to our hotel.
Dinner toast was to our wonderful guide and good group. Tomorrow to Lima, a tour of another section of the city, lunch, a room till we leave for the airport to catch flights at midnight.
Wonderful trip! Would recommend it to anyone who is interested!
I will send photos when I have better wifi to download them.

Aymara People had Lunch With Us!

Standard

We headed down the road toward Bolivia today and stopped at a local Sunday market where everyone from neighboring villages come to trade and/or buy what they need. It was interesting to watch the trading of beans or potatoes for fish, yet some pasta items had to be bought. People here do not take kindly to being photographed, so all pictures were of a crowd. I met a little girl and had our local guide ask her to write her name on my notepad. In beautiful cursive writing, she wrote "Mayda".
We continued down the road in our van and stopped at a beach owned by Seventh Day Adventist. There was a group from the university using the area for three days; tenting each night; having fun playing potato sac races, etc. We had a beautiful very of this very large, mid 50 degree brackish-water, Lake Titicaca.
We had lunch with Aymara people; different facial features than others we had seen in Cuzco area. Upon our arrival, the people lined up and each of us shook every hand. Two days ago we each bought bread in Oropesa to bring to these people as a thanks for the lunch we received from them. The lunch was delicious: quinoa soup, fresh cheese, fried cheese, boiled and toasted fava beans, 3 ways to present quinoa bread, many potatoes, and mint tea. I took pictures of the people and showed each their picture…saw some smiles! After lunch, they sang us a song and then we sang "You are my sunshine". It was a nice visit.
Our van drive included a ride on an unpaved road to a more rural area. We know because there are few Sunday transport vans in this area. While some areas designate property lines with buried body and headstone, this area used piles of rock and dirt. Finally we pulled into Chucuito, the village where our hotel is located, but we discovered a celebration happening in its plaza with a colonial church! People were celebrating the school being 50 years in operation and each grade level danced or played instruments in very colorful outfits. We then stopped at an Incan Temple of Fertility, with a walk back to our hotel.
Great day, cool, yet sunny, weather…wonderful people and beautiful lake.