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Dalama Adventures Tale of two corporate types ditching their jobs and traveling the world for 14 months... check out all photos, blogs & interesting tid bits at http://www.dalama.net

Hard Life High in the Andes

PERU | Tuesday, 27 November 2007 | Views [987]

Life in the high altitudes of the Andes is not easy.  There are few crops that grow at this elevation, and the temperatures are harsh.  Freezing temperatures, unforgiving winds and minimal shelter creates a situation of hard, impoverished lifestyles.  We pass through rain and hail storms and gaze out of our bus windows at locals bundled up in heavy wool ponchos, blankets, trudging with sandals across snow swept plains.  We stop off at Abra la Raya pass that's at 4300M.  Here there are fabulous views of snow covered mountains and a line of local indigenous entrepreneurs neatly displaying their handicrafts.  Here, in the middle of nowhere, I meet a local woman, selling her alpaca sweaters, hats and gloves, wearing a Cornell University sweatshirt, how ironic!  I ask her if I can take a photo with her, and she happily accepts, followed by all the other handicraft vendors who also want their pictures taken.  One man actually has an email address and I promise to send him the photos.  It's humbling to see the people living in these conditions, eeking out a minimal income from the passerby tourists, keeping them barely surviving up here.

We arrive in Puno, Peru, the small lake town on Lake Titicaca, which straddles both Peru, and Bolivia.  The town is busy and bustling with energy.  Auto rickshaw drivers are cruising along, looking for passengers.  We watch as one guy sadly crashes his rickshaw, but like a weeble, it wobbles, smashes glass on the pavement, and he wobbles it back up, and back into business.  We struggle to breathe just climbing the stairs of our hostal, as we're now back up to just over 3800M.  It's also freezing here, but luckily there are several wool blankets on our bed.  Going out to dinner though is painfully cold, and I'm bundled up in a down jacket, fleece, hat, globes and scarf.  We sure hope Lake Titicaca on the Bolivian side is a bit warmer, as our destination is Isla del Sol, we hope the place lives up to being sunny and warm.

Tags: On the Road

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