Subject: Hola from Cusco
Date: Wednesday, May 11, 2005
Since I last wrote, I have left Arequipa. The strike is still on so I missed going to Colca Canyon. From Arequipa, I took a 6 hour bus ride to Puno, 3800m above sea level (asl) and from there, I did a two day tour to Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. The water temperature is 11 or 12C, so I didn’t go swimming. I spent a night staying with a local family on Isla Amantini. It was really interesting as it is very primitive here with mud brick dwellings and no running water.
The Cheuqua culture is very much alive. People still wear the traditional attire. The tourists get dressed up in these outfits as well for the ‘Andean discotek.’ Isla Amantini is 4000m asl and I climbed a temple at the top of this island at 4100m asl. Because of the thin oxygen, it was hard work and I got a headache.
From Puno I traveled to Cusco, the old Inca capital and did a horse riding tour of the Inca ruins. We rode about 20 km; my knees and bum have never been so sore in my entire life. The Inca stonemasonry is amazing. I thought the Great Wall of China was amazing; this is just as spectacular. I’m fine now with the altitude. No more headaches. But of course, I get out of breath when climbing uphill. Been drinking lots of coca tea.
Tomorrow I’m going trekking for four days. On Sunday I will be getting to Machu Pichu, please pray for good weather for me!