Aymara People had Lunch With Us!

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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.

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We Ate Lunch with the Aymara People

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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 view 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….delicious lunch, nice people, beautiful lake.
No photos today due to wifi issue or whatever!?!

What Are Chullpas?

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After a long van ride yesterday, I do not think any of us were excited about taking a ride again, but we did. About an hour's ride from our hotel to the other side of Puno, we arrived at Sillustani with a local guide. Here we saw pre-Incan ruins, chullpas, which were funeral towers where people were buried in these massive carved tombs. The chullpas are cone-shaped, bigger at the top than the bottom. This "city of the dead", 150 small towers and 50 large towers, overlooks a beautiful Lake Umayo!
Lunch was at a restaurant in a Puno which is a city with roads like the steep roads in San Francisco, CA. In some places people can only get to their home by walking a hundred plus steps up to their place. Rent is cheap but everything a home needs must be carried up! We walked to a couple of plazas, the black market, and the regular farmer's market where vendors sell everything: pots, pans, food, clothing, etc.
Back at the hotel, I took a walk to Lake Titicaca while others are at a 15 year olds celebration in becoming that age. Dinner is later.

Road Trip to Lake Titicaca! Update with photo.

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Gray sky in Cuzco, good time to head elsewhere. Off we go to Lake Titicaca area at 12,500 feet for 3 days so I took my altitude medicine this morning. We left at 8am (arrive at hotel for night at 6pm) and had a scenic drive! We noticed the Pre-Inca Wari's engineering of aqueducts and terraces. Wari's work is impressive 350 years before the Incas who improved upon the ideas.
Most of the landscape we saw today was mountains and flat open spaces in between. Peru is 58% jungle and we were not in the jungle at all today. Mountains soared to 15k at least. We passed a 1926 cemetery and our guide told us that when the man dies, his wife wears black for 1 year. When the female dies, the husband wears black for 3 months. Hmmm… in the rural areas, divorce rate is 1%; 17% in the city.
The trees we saw before arriving at the higher elevations were eucalyptus and used for fence posts. Flamingoes and Andean geese were at the lakes. Adobe houses can last 60 years, but the roof needs to be replaced often.
We picked up a female at the side of the road and drove her at least a few miles. She supervises 5 schools in the area. Where we dropped her off we could see the village down in the valley. She had at least an hour walk ahead of her!
An Incan Temple, Raqchi, was our first stop. The area is known for their ceramics and this temple was at one time huge! The 150 circular food storages are only half of what was originally at the site. Fortunately our guide showed us a picture of what this temple, housing and storage may have looked like. I had never known that layers of food in storage were separated in layers with muña, from the mint family. The Inca Trail goes through this archeological park all the way to Argentina. The photo below shows the original windows at left and renovation of others at right. Notice the blocks of rock at bottom with adobe bricks on top…a different construction. Park employees added the tile roof so rains do not totally destroy the wall…in their day the temple had a thatched roof.
We saw some abandoned haciendas that were once where the landowner lived and owned huge amounts of land before the government came in to give land to the people in the area.
Another area down the road had hot springs resulting from past volcanic activity. We had extra lunch items from our box lunch so another stop was made to give that food to school children. These students were walking whereas many others were in bicycles. People at this 12-13K elevation get home right away since by 5:30pm it is cold!
After driving through beautiful places, we came to an ugly town of Juliaca. It has mining money, but no taxes are paid and as a result most streets are dirt. There must have been little thought to this place as it grew up around the only airport in thus part of Peru (1.5 hour drive from our hotel to airport when we fly out next week). Our guide told us he used to drive from Cuzco to Juliaca to bring his children to a movie….a 6 hour drive one way! Now he has a theater 5 minutes away from his Cuzco home. Teachers were on strike in Juliaca.
We are 20 minutes south of Puno at a nice hotel. It will be wonderful to finally see Lake Titicaca in the morning!