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Peregrinations Mexico and Central America on Motorcycle: Open road, open heart, open mind.

Excerpt from my journal: 21st of April, Isla del Sol

BOLIVIA | Monday, 21 April 2008 | Views [614]

I call this one Terraces.

I call this one Terraces.

I am sitting in front of my tent on Isla del Sol, birthplace of Inka civilization. Somewhere on the northern tip of the island, Manco Kapac and his sister/wife were created from stone and sent off to populate the Andes. But I'll see all that tomorrow. Right now, it's just me, the island and the lake.

I'm camped on top of a ridge on the southern end of the island. A Mountain Caracara just flew by, chasing and screaming at an immature of the same species. The immature turned midair and struck at the adult, and they grappled their way over the horizon. In the distance I can hear a donkey braying. The animal is far away, and yet I can hear it so clearly. Sounds travels far out here, with nothing to block it--no trees, no buildings. Just terraced hills and low potato plants. It's a very desolate landscape, and yet a very beautiful one.

I can see a long way in front of me, far, far into the distance over Lake Titicaca. An spur of the island lies before me, reaching around the cove like the tail of a curled-up dog. The lake is still and blue.

To my right spreads the island in a series of rolling, stripey hills. They are heavily cultivated, and have been for over a thousand years. Trails and tiny, brown farmhouses are the only landmarks to break up the terraces.

To my left, past a stone pile topped by a reed cross, I can see the mainland of Bolivia, where I walked today along the shore of the lake. There's a little island between me and the mainland (this one covered in trees), another long, skinny arm of land, and more terraced hills. Copacabana is hidden from view.

If I stand up and turn around to look to the east, the Cordillera Real juts up between the clouds from across the expanse of blue water. The white snow on their summits gleams in the sun. The stoney mountains appear almost as blue as the lake in the late-afternoon light.

And over all of this vaults a crystaline sky. There are no clouds directly above, just on the fringes of the horizon. A flock of five Snail Kites flies over my head, adding to the perfection of my surroundings with their grace and beauty.

Birthplace of Inka Civilization, hm?

Lucky, lucky Inkas.

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