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Bright and early this morning we had a taxi take us to Lima Airport. Traffic in the morning in Lima is a little nuts. Still not as bad as Cairo or Pnom Penh but it did take as a good 45 minutes to get there.

Lima to Juliaca via Lan Peru was uneventful. 1 hour 6 minutes. Kris was joking that we'd only have to ascend because Juliaca is at 12 500 feet. That's 3825m above sea level. We took off from sea level…..

A very nice local pan flute band serenaded us while we grabbed our luggage. Of course they were playing for tips and had CD for sale. We bought one, because, you know why not?


Outside, Janet our guide met us and we were off to visit the Sillustani Chullpas – a necropolis with 28 stone cylindrical ancient burial towers (up to 40 feet tall), where the Colla people (a warrior tribe that spoke Aymara) buried their elite and later the Inca did the same. It sits on a peninsula in lake Umayo. Date from 14th and 15th C, but some as early as 900. Accessed up some steep steps full of little girls selling necklaces. Yes we shopped a bit. And paid for the requisite photos. We petted a baby Vicuna – very soft fur. No wonder the clothes made from Vicuna are so expensive.

One of the little girls (Maiele) who has a baby Alpaca. Or maybe the Alpaca is named Maiele, we're not 100% sure.

The baby Vicuna – she's only 6 days old!

The actual Chulpas were quite different. We have to thank?? Taco Bell because we keep calling them Chalupas. Stupid Chihuahua ads from the 90's! Anyway we did wander around and there are four types, pre Inca that are underground, pre Inca that are partially above ground and the “nice stone work” Inca ones.

An Inca one:

Alpaca – long hair version


Aplaca – short hair version:


After we got back to the van we continued onto Puno. We were offered the chance to visit with a local family. Of course we said yes. We got a demo of making Quinoa flour and a tour. Also pics with the Guanaco Llama. He didn't spit, he's well trained. Also saw some Cui (guinea pigs) where they are raised for food.

The “kitchen”:
Four different kinds of potatoes and Quinoa (on the top of the photo)

Yes the green wrinkly thing is a potato.

Unpicked/processed Quinoa

The owner weaving mats

Their bedroom, 4 to a bed:

Front wall

Then just after we had a Llama and sheep crossing:

Our hotel is at 12 007' above sea level according to my camera gps. Altitude sickness can be a very serious thing. According to what we've read, over 11000' is considered very high altitude. We flew from sea level and got off the plane at 12 500. So far we are OK. A little out of breath but really the weather was so awesome we both got a little sunstroked and dehydrated. Lots of water and we'll bring hats tomorrow!

Here is Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. Or at least a small part. Our hotel is just below the white building on the left:

 

Tomorrow is the day we get to go walk on water. Ok reed islands that float. Shold be pretty cool.

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