Monday, June 14, 1999

Travels with SG: Peru to Bolivia

Hello everyone!!!
I’ve been reminded from some of you that it has been a while...
My last "groupie" email was from the amazing Nazca lines in Peru, where I got sick from the plane ride... That night we hopped on a bus to Ariquipa...the night bus is can catch some zzz´s and wakeup in another city...Well, we got on the CIVA bus line and two Peruvian men were in our seats who did not have tickets...Finally the bus assistant kicked them out of our seats, and one of the men said to me, "It’s all your fault"...What the hell was he talking about??? We booked our tickets 2 days prior, and this numbskull had no ticket, yet it was the Blond, Gringa’s fault because he did not buy a ticket!!! To top that off...We had parents with 3 kids sitting behind us...2 kids in the isle-sleeping and blocking the bathroom, and the other kid, about 2,throwing up and shitting the whole way to Ariquipa (about 10 hours)...The 2 year old should have been in the hospital she was so sick... But...there’s more...
The bus driver was INSANE!!! Driving way too fast on a very windy mountain roads...We were all yelling at him to slow down...finally, we stop in some God-forsaken town for 45minutes...The bus driver told all the passengers on the bus that we had a flat tire and to stay on the bus (should have been a hint)...
We finally make it to Ariquipa in one piece, only the next day to discover that Michael’s bag, (that was with all the other gringos bags) that was in the bus compartment(under the bus) had been broken into...It’s a good thing that he did not discover this when we got to the bus station, because he probably would have belted the bus driver and assistant...We do not think we had a flat, it just gave them time to case all the gringo’s bags...We were lucky only to have lost about $60, couple credit cards, money that we had saved from the countries we had been to...
Ariquipa-beautiful old city...gorgeous town square...We caught up on email, and movies-"You’ve got Mail" a cute Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan movie...and the horrible remake of Psycho....How can anyone presume to even come close to Hitchcock??? We took a 2 day trip into Colca Canyon where we saw tons of Llamas, Alpacas, and Vicuñas...gorgeous animals, that they make sweaters out of...A Vacuña sweater goes for 1000 US dollars!!! Can’t afford one this trip, perhaps when I hit the lottery!!!
The highlight of the trip had to bee the Condors!!! Seeing them in flight, 12 at a time, buzzing 8feet overhead was absolutely amazing!!! We have a few left in California, but seeing one would be like finding a needle in a haystack... From Ariquipa we headed to Cuzco, via train...Thank God!!! It was very nice for the first 10 hours, then we changed trains in Juliaca and another 10 hours...the last 10 hours felt like we were on a horse, driving over pot-holes in a Yugo, and on a sailboat in 20 feet seas all at the same time...the tracks were horrible, but was a refreshing change from all the SHITTY buses we have been on the last 5 months. We were lucky, we met some travelers who had been derailed and had to get out and help get the train back on track!!! We had lots of leg room, and a person coming to your seat to sell you food and drinks!!! Who could ask for more!!!
Cuzco is an absolutely beautiful city!!! Great eats, shops, internet :) and of course is the place where people investigate tour groups taking travelers on the 4 day trek to Machu Pichu!
The trek was amazing!!! The scenery breath-taking!!! One could spend 7days on this trek and not be bored with the views!!! It had to be one of the most difficult "journeys" of my entire life!!! Elevations up to just about14,000 feet!!! Talk about SKINNY air!!! We stayed in Cuzco 4 days after the trek, or Michael puts it the Machu Pichu you know what it’s like to have blisters upon blisters upon blisters??? I won’t go into the details, but they had to be cut open several times to drain...ok, maybe too much information, but you catch my drift..
We departed Cuzco, we hopped on the train to Puno (dumpy little town) to check out the floating islands on Lake Titicaca (very cool) People live on islands man-made out of reeds...if you stand in one place too long you sink into the water!!! Very interesting place, but would not want to live there!
The Peruvians believe they own 60% of Lake Titicaca, the Bolivian’s believe that they own 60%...perhaps this is why there is a Bolivian Navy in Copacabana...very odd, as Bolivia is a landlocked country!!! The crossing into Bolivia was very smooth and easy...No tear-gas this time...
Lake Titicaca covers over 8000 sq-km, and is one of the worlds highest lakes...not much to look at from Peru, as most of it is covered with Algae...but from Bolivia, is absolutely gorgeous, and very cold!!! From the Bolivian side we took a boat out to Isla del Sol and Isla del Luna...a must!!! We are not in La Paz, elevation about 12,000 feet...skinny air, but we are breathing ok!!!
All for now!!!
Would love to hear from you!

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