Wednesday, May 13, 2009
The winds and I have sworn companionship
Hello All! I believe this will be my final post. I am closing in on the end of my trip, I have less than a week until I´m home, and I have to say the last two weeks have been some of the best. Erin and JC arrived almost a week ago and we´ve explored Cusco, treked through the mountains of Peru, and visited one of the most incredible sites in the world. Guess which one I´m talking about!
Machu Picchu. Duh.
So let´s see. We left Bolivia about two and a half weeks ago. On our last day in La Paz, as I was doing my shopping, I wandered into a weaving shop and basically found an internship that is absolutely perfect for me in every way. The shop is run by a woman from Cambridge, Mass., who started traveling in the seventies and settled in Bolivia almost thirty years ago. She opened up an organization for kids in Bolivia that teaches them art, (including weaving from an old indigenous woman!). All of their artwork is sold at this shop and the money goes towards building new facilities for this art house. She gave me her email and said that if I was in Bolivia again, they offer internships and volunteer opportunities and the employees get to learn how to weave. Quite exciting.
From Bolivia we traveled to a small town called Puno that is on the edge of Lake Titicaca. Unfortunately, I got a bad stomache bug and couldn´t go to the islands with the rest of the group but a few days later was able to visit them with Wilson. The islands in the middle of the lake are unlike anything I´ve ever seen, hand made entirely of reeds grown out in the middle of the lake. They demonstrated how they make the islands, and there are over forty of them with about 25 people living on each one. The greatest thing I heard was that if there is an argument among the families, they simply cut off their part of the island and don´t have to deal with it anymore. We took a boat ride in one of the traditional reed boats, which are made to look like pumas gliding in the water. And on the way I met a woman from South Carolina who quit her job and moved to Bolivia to work in a school for a year. I almost cried when I heard her accent an told her so, at which point she gave me a big grandmotherly hug and patted my hand.
From Puno we headed straight to Cusco where we´ve been for almost two weeks. About two days into our stay, we were separated into groups and placed in different homes throughout the city. My homestay was incredible, with a lovely couple who made great food. We went to spanish school in the mornings, ate traditionally all week and chatted with our families to improve our spanish.
At the end of our homestays we moved back into the hostal and I waited impatiently for Erin and JC to arrive. They were here for about two days before we headed off into the mountains for our final trek. We trekked for four days all the way to a small town called Aguas Calientes. Erin did a fabulous job and didn´t die, despite her one lung. The trek was absolutely beautiful, as always, though pretty tough. When we finally got to Aguas Calientes, which is a town at the base of MaPi, we spent the night there and got up at four the next morning to make it to the top by sunrise. I hiked up to the top, which was pretty incredible, and met Erin and JC up there to tour the ruins. MaPi is not only incredible in its construction and size, but especially because it´s on the top of a mountain. Climbing the stairs up to the top, I realized how horrible it must have been for the people who lived up there because I was ready to pass out by the time I arrived.
Anyway, we have less than a week left. Two more days in Cusco and three in Lima. People are starting to trickle home and the rest of the group leaves tomorrow morning. V. sad.
I absolutely can´t wait to see you all and I hope everything is going well.
Love love love love love and bugs
Posted by Betty Teaspoon at 9:23 AM