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Nick and Bec's Big Trip Starting on the 29th of June 2008 Bec and I will be starting a year long adventure, spending 6 months in Africa and another 6 months in South America. It should be lots of fun.

The not so sunny Isla del Sol

PERU | Sunday, 26 April 2009 | Views [796] | Comments [3]

We have arrived in Cuzco, Peru.  Inka capital and centre of the Inka empire.  Here are a couple of diary entries from our last two days in Bolivia.

8th April - Bus to Copacabana

Sitting on the bus today was a great way to watch the world go by.  You see a dog nosing through some rubbish, another taking itself for a walk, a third eating some left over scraps.  Stray dogs being stray dogs.  They are everywhere too.  I have no idea what make or model they are, they are just stray dogs.

The other traffic on the road consists mostly of public transport vehicles, countless minibuses with the destination stuck to the inside of the windscreen and conductor leaning out of the side door spying the road ahead for potential passengers.  Second most numerous are the taxis, a collection of beat up old Japanese cars eager for a paying passenger.  Then it steps up to buses, like the one we are on now, our 95th bus of the trip, to old Dodge, GMC and Chevy school buses painted dark blue, white with green and blue horizontal stripes all pumping out the diesel fumes that make up a large part of the La Paz atmosphere.

I am glad to be away from La Paz breathing some thin, but much cleaner air.

Next are the trucks in all forms of repair, generally knackered to very knackered, many old bull nose Mercedes and North American makes.  The tyres are typically bald with the slightest hint of tread on the corners and the driver looks frozen under many layers of clothing.

Not really any private cars at all, maybe at a guess one per hundred minibuses.  Oh and in La Paz the horn is almost constantly on.  This is all city traffic though and when the countryside is reached the traffic disappears and you feel like you are the only people on the road.

As for Copacabana, it is a small town of mostly hotels, cafes and shops set on the edge of Lake Titicaca with rough streets, ours is mostly mud with the odd tangible rock, with the standard amounts of rubbish and stray dogs, of course.

We are staying at Hostel Umtata.  A groovy place in an odd sort of way.  Our room is out there, with a synthetic leopard skin blanket, leaking roof, our own bathroom behind a murial of a setting sun in a South American hill top village, may be here long ago.  The floor is parkay, very posh, and we even have a sofa, but it is under the leak.  Oh and I nearly forgot the toilet is basically wrapped up in blue shag pile carpet.  A must have photo.

Time for a shower, then out for grub. A note about the typical Bolivian shower or the maracas shower, because it sounds like someone is shaking away above your head whilst you´re underneath adjusting the tap millimetre by millimetre for ultimate temperature.  The tap on the shower is often hidden under a hat of insulation tape, this tells you something about the wiring doesn´t it.

10th April - Copacabana, Isla del Sol - The most boring boat ride ever

At least I wasn´t sick and in my opinion coped admirably, coming out the other side of two grueling boat rides with nothing more than a headache and a strong desire to set foot on solid land, which isn´t a small island requiring further boat transportation. 

Honestly though it was the slowest boat in the world having two speeds stopped or nearly stopped.  Every man and his dog was on board, the seating full inside and on the roof.  The driver did an awfull lot of faffing before and during the trip, which set my frustration dial to max.  We would be chugging along at an unbelieveable slow pace then he would stop the engine and do something to the other engine, give up, and go back to the first one.  We were on the boat for most of the day, probably about five hours and we were on the island for only four hours!

So after what seems like an eternity we arrive and fuddle our way out of the village heading for our first Inka ruins of the trip.  Not a bad place to start our Inka tour, the birth place of man and woman according to Inka legend.

We both had a pee in the public WC and the guy was cheeky enough to ask for payment, when the toilets didn´t flush, the door didn´t lock and there was no water to wash your mits with.  That kept my frustration high and I had the grump when we had to pay fees to see the ruins later in the day.  I´ll get off my high horse now before it becomes a rant.

So we headed to the Inka and pre-Inka ruins at the north end of the island, including a sacred rock, a very complete, excluding rooves, set of interlocked buildings with low winding corridors connecting them all together, looking out across Lake Titicaca.  We now turned and progressed south with some increasingly bad weather, rain and wind, coming up from behind.  All gnarly and unpleasant, but not bad enough for me to buy a silly woollen hat I might add.

Poor Bec suffered today, she is stuggling with altitude, basically it won´t let her go up hills without huffing and puffing like an old stream train.  She did improve though almost coincidentally with the weather.  For a strong moment I thought Isla del Sol was a bad choice of name.

We finished our brief tour of the island descending an Inka stairway to an old port, now tourist boat chaos.  The steps consisting of a set of neatly laid stones with grass mortar and a stream running under and parallel to the steps until the lake.

We found the good ship very slow and boarded hoping for immenent departure.  With a standard amount of faffing we crept put of port and trundled, I feel trundle sounds too fast, towards Copacabana stopping at some reed islands for a peek.  In my opinion they look like a floating amusement park with nothing to do except stand on the wobbly floor, but perhaps I am missing the point.

No more to say, time for a read and bed.  Good night.



great writing Nick! Its been very warm and sunny here this weekend-------- Makes a change!

  sue Apr 27, 2009 6:35 AM


So, when is the next boat ride Nick??

  maureen Apr 29, 2009 10:38 AM


You sound like a Brit on the Costa del Sol !!. Fancy expecting sun. I did write a comment earlier but seems to have got lost somewhere in the system.

If the boat had gone any faster you would have been ill I expect

  pat May 1, 2009 7:36 PM

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