Thursday, July 28, 2011


We had such a beautiful experience in Puno, Peru. This is a city along the board of Peru and Bolivia which has the Lake Titikaka- and according to Wikipedia it is the largest lake in South America by volume of water. We took about a 5 hour bus ride there overnight and arrived at 4 am. We were with our friend Coco who has family there so we borrowed their car to go to a quaint little town outside the city. Here we got a history lesson and the opportunity to watch the beautiful sunrise over the lake. Afterwards we returned to his aunts for breakfast and then at 8 am got on a boat to go out to the lake.

First we made a stop at what are called "Los Uros" which are naturally floating islands made by the people. There are normally about 5-6 families that can live on each island but there are many many islands in this little area, so much so that one of the islands is specifically for elementary school only. It was a beautiful little culture, but the only downside is it has become very touristy- so much so that tourism (and visitors like us) are their main source of income. When people stop they have many little -beautiful- things to sell, yet quite expensive. Nonetheless, it was very nice to meet the people, however we were speaking to them in Spanish which was both our second languages- their native language being Quechwa- so conversation was a bit limited.

A view from the lookout- you can see the beautiful view and their houses
Next we took another 3 hour boat ride to an island called Amantani. This is also a gorgeous island. We stayed with a local host family. They were so hospitable and kind to us and shared with us the little that they had. For example, we were warned that they hardly ever eat meet on the island unless its a wedding or birthday. However the dad of the family had gone out fishing that morning and we had delicious fish for lunch. Then we took a hike up to the top of the island where we watched the beautiful sunset. That night after dinner we went to a traditional party with typical dance. They lent us some clothes so we could wear the traditional clothing and we got to dance at the party!
View from the house

1 day old new baby sheep 
View from the top of the island

Our host mom
We slept there, ate breakfast and took off for another island "Taquile" about an hour away. Again we hiked an hour to the top, took pictures and had lunch. Going down was a little tough of the knees since it was 500 steps. We made it and took the 4 hour boat ride home. It was absolutely gorgeous and words nor these pictures can even do it justice. However if you really are interested in the pictures, I literally have hundreds more from the weekend- there's just too much to upload here.
From the top- amazingly blue water

absolutely gorgeous
Last week was fairly normal in terms of teaching and life around Arequipa. However this week was the final exam for our classes on Wednesday. I can't believe July flew by so quickly- and I'm sure August will be even faster. We only have a month left!

So a few things I've noticed around town that I wanted to share relating the title and the genuineness of the people here. It seems that no matter where I go, at whatever hour, people are so kind- and genuinely. For example we went to a small little restaurant at about 9:45 at night because we were so hungry after class. Even though it was getting late, the older couple who seemed to be the owners gladly served us and were so happy we had stopped in. This is one example of how here, often times things don't close until the customers are ready to leave. This is for restaurants, shopping stores, bars, ect. You name it. I know there is some culture in that they are trying to make any extra money as possible, but there is no way to argue that all those smiles are fake.

Another example of the kindness of people here that I have noticed at least three times now, is when we are in a small (Ma and Pa restaurant as we might call it back in the US) diner eating lunch, the tables have been full. Often times there is only one gentleman sitting at a table and if another gentleman comes into the restaurant and see all the tables are full, he will sit with the other one gentleman even though they are complete strangers. It is just part of the culture maybe or just part of the genuineness- I don't know. But it makes me smile every time.

A third example of this (which should be read with a grain of salt) is the other night when a group of our friends went out downtown. When we were leaving I was rather cold, so a nice boy I had just met that night lent me his jacket to wear even though he didn't have another. Maybe this is just gentleman-ness and it happens in the US as well, but I really am blessed to have the opportunity to be here to experience this culture for three months.

Today is Peru's Independence Day, so we will see what kind of entertainment or celebration there is around town. Maybe we'll even find a fun new adventure to take today to share with everyone. It is nice because we get a few days off of work!

Sadly, our two roommates have moved out of the house. They live close but it is now only Karlene and I in the house. Well at least for a short while, supposedly we are having a new roommate move in next week.

I keep trying to think of more things I can share about the culture, but it is becoming difficult because after 2 months of it, I am getting used to or accustomed to many aspects of the culture. Maybe I haven't told you about the "watchiman" yet. This is a security guard basically who wanders around the neighborhood 24 hours a day 7 days a week. At every certain block he is to blow his whistle, supposedly to let all bad guys know he is there. We are fortunate enough to have one of the stop points right below our window- so we get to hear this beautiful whistle about 4 times and hour. Tim heard it once and thought it was a dying bird. Yes, it's lovely.

Hope all are well. I miss you lots!! Take care.

No comments:

Post a Comment