Friday 22 October 2010

Show us yer Titicaca!

From Buenos Aires we flew into La Paz, which is probably one of the most dramatic places to fly to in the world.  You scrape over the andes and drop onto the edge of a high plateau, with La Paz spread out below.  It is the highest capital in the world, at 3000 to 4100m, depending on which part you are in!

Sea-level to 4000m (whoops) unsurprisingly gave me altitude sickness in the form of mild headaches.  This was when I began my relationship with Diamox, which makes your blood more acidic and increases respiration.  Worked a treat.

Sadly we left La Paz and Bolivia pretty much straight away with our Gap tour, bound for Lake Titicaca and Peru.  I'd like to go back and see more one day.

Lake Titicaca is a massive lake (the largest in South America), very high (the highest navigable lake in the world), and we spent a few days seeing it:

  • Visited Isla Taquile, which was pretty touristy, but quite spectacular.  It is flourishing under tourism and a communist-style governing council.
  • Had a homestay on Luquina Chico, which was fantastic.  We knew just enough Spanish to have really awkward conversations with our host family :)  The kids Denis and Lucy were really cute and provided endless entertainment.
  • Visited the floating islands (Islas Uros), constructed using totora reeds that grow in the lake.  The island platforms, boats, houses etc. are all constructed from the reeds.  Super touristy, but interesting.
  • Saw Sillustani, the Inca and pre-inca cemetery near Puno. It was mildly interesting, but the highlight of the trip was a visit to a house on the way back that was pretty much a local zoo with lots of llamas, guinea pigs and other animals.

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