Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tuesday, Feb 5th, Puno, Peru


Last night, we had a power outage for a couple of hours.  It was right after we got into our hotel, so the timing could't have been more fortunate.  It effected all of southern Peru, and was caused by a lighting strike.  These posts for Monday and today were delayed as a result, and it was pretty scary because of it's unusual size and severity.  The guests al huddled in the lobby, and the hotel issued candles and tried to find out when it might come back on with their cell phones.  Alas, they weren't working either.  One German gentleman had just landed at a nearby airport, and was lucky he did before their lights went out.

Just south of Puno is Lago Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world.  We took a boat out to a man-made island (Manco Capac) populated by a pre-Inca group called the Uros.  Raft-based in the beginning, it has been a series of reed-grown, lashed-together family compounds since the 1930s.  Speaking the local language (Aymara in the language of 4 million Peruvians), we greeted them and were acknowledged in return.  Their head official provided us with a demonstration of island-building and maintenance (they last 60 years), and his wife and sisters shared their homes and grounds.  The island has two schools, a medical clinic, and a small grocery store.  Entrance fees account for the equivalence of about $1,000 a day from tourists, and some handicrafts were also sold.  The island shares its income with all families, and the 300 residents even had solar power and some televisions.

On the boat ride back, two small children ages 9 and 11 sang to us.  I videoed it on my IPod Touch, and showed it to them.  They giggled, and didn’t understand I would be putting it on YouTube soon.  Their parents did, and I’m going to see if I can email a link to someone on the island.        

We also visited a small llama farm, and another Pre-Inca archeology site (Sillustani), seeing examples of five types of burial tombs (Chulpas) for the Colla civilization (800BC to 500AD).  We found a stone circle, obelisk used as a sun dial, and a spiral not unlike those found at New Grange in England.  This one had the special characteristic of effecting compasses.
To see all of the photos taken today, click on Tuesday, Feb 5th, Puno, Peru

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