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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

Ascending to 3800M: Copacabana

BOLIVIA | Thursday, 29 November 2007 | Views [893]

While they call many things in Bolivia as "the World's Highest..." this actually is not accurate for Lake Titicaca, as there are other lakes in Peru and Chile that are higher.  But at 3800M, it's plenty high for us.  Too high to kick our head colds we seem to have not been able to get rid of since being at high altitudes in Ecuador and Peru, and it's only going to get worse as we move onto La Paz and the Salar de Uyuni, further south into Bolivia.  

Copacabana is a small town, full of local custom and festival.  It is one of the most densely packed, indigenous countries in South America, and indigenous tradition and way of life has been well preserved.  The villagers are decked out in their ponchos (for men), big flowy skirts, wool leggings, sweaters and rounded edged "bowler" top hats for women.  Daily life and custom doesn't stop despite all the fly in, fly out gringos and bohemian hippies descending upon this small town.  It's a lively, bustling market atmosphere.  The town is alive with noise, music and festivity.  All the school children are celebrating end of exams in the big municipal complex.  They dance around in traditional costume and don masks.  The festivities continue late into the night with dancing and music throughout the streets - it's one big party.  A common sight along the streets are women vendors selling huge bags of popped or "puffed" corn... the bags are huge, you could fit several small children into them.  The corn looks like that styrofoam box packing filler.  We're not sure who buys this stuff in huge quantity, we don't see any customers, but it must be all for local consumption  They have streets dedicated to it's sale.  We also see dried llama fetus and empanada stands next to each other...yum.  And all the usual stand and shops selling all the identical product to the same small lot of customers... snickers bars, oreos, pringles, toilet paper... all the essentials a tourist needs.

It's super cold here, especially at night, and the heater in the room here doesn't work, making last night super cold.  During the rainy, cold day today, it's a ghost town.  Empty boats sit idle close to shore.  Ticket booth operators sit bored, chewing their coca leaves to pass the time.  We grab our umbrellas and head down the grassy, rocky hill into town.  A man stops to pee right in front of me, a sight we're getting used to, through all the developing countries we've travelled through.  We can't really criticize them for going out in nature, when there aren't public banos freely available on town streets... but did this guy really have to stick it out right in front of me?  We see little boys going in the middle of the streets, and for the first time I actually realize how convenient the women's outfits are... really big puffy full length skirts, they can just squat and pee freely anywhere, which is actually a delight to see - women able to finally not have to hold it while the men go freely.  They are now free to pee anywhere, anytime as well!  Equal rights rule!

We spend the day eating and drinking lots of coffee to keep warm, trying to get ourselves healthy to take advantage of the lake and beautiful hiking that abounds here.

Tags: The Great Outdoors

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