Friday, May 1, 2009

Her name was Lola, she was a show girl

Copa, copacabana! Lake Titicaca is one of the most beautiful lakes I have ever seen. It is definately the largest lake I have ever seen, stretching out so far it could be mistaken as the ocean from shore. It has a number of massive islands in the middle, most notably on the Bolivian side are the Isla del sol and Isla del Luna, which are two oldschool Inca sites with plenty of ruins struin about them.
We spent three nights in Copabana with the gang we had become a part of overnight. We found a really awesome pad, being the top floor of a hostal we liked. It had beautiful wood floors, pristine paint, tonnes of windows with beautiful views, and not a single bed. We saw the space, loved it, and managed to convince the manager that he should rent it to us for two dollars a night each! Wow. Between some camping equiptment and some matresses and blankets we found rolled up in the corner we made ourselves a pretty sweet pad. It also had two big patios off of it that we spent a lot of time hanging out on. The first night we went a little wild with the rum and ended up partying until the sun rose. The last couple hours were not by choice, but just due to the fact that my earplugs were far across the room and I was in my sleeping bag pantless. Laziness overcame.
Our greatest discovery in Copacabana definatly has to be Tienda numero 9. Best m fucking trout you will ever find. Beautiful, fresh pink trout caught out to Lake titicaca, which is about 10 feet away while you eat it. Each trout meal is a full trout on a bed of french fries and rice. All for under four dollars. Amazing. Trucha el diablo includes a tasty concoction of fried peppers, tomato and onion on top. Absolutly amazing, though the garlic and the tomato both hold their ground quite well. The trout became quite an obsession in our group, and today after returning from the Island, our first stop was trout, and we met the whole herd heading down to the feeding hole. It was hilarious. We were yelling trout across the parking lot, both sure of eachothers intentions. We have had trout twice today. I really hope that they have trout in Puno, which lays on the Peruvian side of Titicaca, so that we can enjoy this experience with Jordan and Rylie, who show up in less than a week. AAhhh, wild!!!
The trip to Isla del Sol was out of this world, amazing but also very strange. We walked about 17 kilometers to the closest jut of land to Isla del sol, took a boat, then another two to our hostal. We were exhausted and packed into our room after dark fell. We were very glad that we had left our huge bags in Copa for that trek! The hike was absolutly beautiful. We got out of town at like 11 30, a little later than we wanted but we had a good brekkie and bought some food for lunch in the market. A dirt road wound through the mountains, sometimes by the lake, sometimes through the woods, and often through tiny villages. It was potatoe harvest so we were lucky enough to witness these people hard at work. It was amazing! The donkey is their most used machine, as those hefty animals can move huge ammounts of weight at a steady pace up or down the steepest hill. They are really cute too! Throught the villages there were hogs, llamas, sheep and donkeys hanging out in the shade or chewing on some grass. Very rural, and very beautiful. The people were very friendly and replied to my `buenos tardes´with big smiles and a word or two. Had a couple of pretty good conversations, one with a couple who had a wheelbarrow full of potatoes a couple hours out of town, who told me that he wheeled it into Copacabana everyday and sold his veggies at the market there. Wouldn't doubt that for a second. The people here are so amazingly hardy they remind me of donkeys themselves. Not at all intellgence wise, but just the incredible ammount of work they do, uncomplainingly. You will see the oldest woman in the village carrying a massive sack of potatoes up the mountain, no shoes. It is unreal, and really makes you think about what you consider 'work' at home.
That evening we ate some dinner and hung out at home, exhausted from the almost 20 km we hiked that day. My legs hurt. We slept in the next day, had a leisurely lunch at one of the few restraunts with the most beautiful view of the lake, while sitting in the sun. The island is a beautiful and also insane place. It is a really, really steep island, and from what I have heard all the water in the village is brought up by hand. I doubt this a little bit, wondering if there is maybe one pipe bringing water to a central place, but we did see hoardes of donkey's heaving up huge bottles of water, so perhaps this is true. Crazy. Though the Island is very steep, most of what we could see was being farmed by hand. It was similar to the rural areas we had wandered through on the way to the island, just in a much steeper setting. That day we went for a nice hike across the valley on the side of the island and watched more potatoe harvest and all of the animals hanging around. It was a beautiful day with a beautiful view. Across the lake there are huge snowy mountains overhanging the lake, and it is one of the most beautiful things we've seen yet. When walking back we got caught on the path with a herd of sheep coming in fast from behind, and then rounded a corner to find ourselves face to face with a pack of donkeys. We retreated to the side and watched the donkeys just plough through a group of sheep. Earlier that day some random Canadians from Toronto invited us to dinner after we talked a bit, so we met them at 7 30 and drank wine and had a great dinner and conversation. It was really good times, and I was pretty impressed with how chill they were, just inviting us to dinner on a whim. It's nice seeing that, it encourages you to be very forwards with strangers.
Today we caught the 10 30 boat back, and ran into the gang when we were both heading for our afternoon trout. Haha. They have all left for La Paz and we are going to follow tomorrow for a couple of days, and then off to Puno!

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