Friday, October 22, 2010

The rest...

After the ELM trip was over and the ladies had left Peru for home, Brad arrived in Cusco and we began our own South American adventure. As per my previous blog posts we visited the following areas: Cusco and Sacred Valley part 2, Lake Titicaca (highest lake in the world and home to the famous 'reed' islands), Amazon Jungle and then up to Ecuador, Quito and the Galapagos Islands.

Here are some pics to give you a taste of the rest of our journey together...

Lake Titicaca and the sweet people of Ccotos. Off the beaten track is an understatement. We stayed with a host family who shared a glimpse of their rural, and so beautiful, life with us. This tiny farming village on the edge of the highest lake in the world (3700metres) was the 'simple life' in it's purest form. The time we spent with this family will be one of the most memorable experiences of our lives...
Our young 'guide' at the top of the Mirador-lookout- above her home on lake Titicaca. We also visited the island in the background where a very tiny community of 30 people exists. Apparently they wanted to get away from the 'busy life' of the lakes edge...kinda like Cortez...but WAY more.
The famous reed islanders. What began as a hideout for slaves during the fuedal days of the Spanish conquest, has become the Disneyland of lake Titicaca. Yes, these people do still live on floating reed islands and make all of their boats, homes and furniture from the reeds, but I am not sure the song and dance and flourescent clothing is exactly from the 'old days'.
Sad but reality, these islands are an example of the impact that mega-tourism can have on micro-cultures once the word gets out. Fun to see but next time we would just google it and avoid the crowds.
Chinchero, Sacred Valley. This is one of our highlights from the entire trip. A womens' traditional weaving association where patterns and techniques are passed from generation to generation. These women gather weekly to weave, set prices and send their work to market. They have created a future for themselves and for their children.
These designs are pre-Inca extremely labour intensive. Each pattern is created using a series of 'string counts' and steps- and all of the instructions are passed on orally- nothing is written down. We were awed not only by the skill of these women, but by their strong will, independance and sense of self. In a land of male domination and machismo, the autonomy of this small group of rural women was a rare and inspiring sight.

AND some of the wildlife...if you like animals you have to go to the Galapagos and the Amazon:)
Galapagos Iguana eating a cactus- who else would eat them?

The famous Blue Footed Booby! Giving us a rare glipse of the nest...

Sealions everywhere in the Galapagos and they aren't moving for anything! They have the right of way, like all animals on the islands, and you have to walk around them if you want by.

Marine iguana's crawling out of the ocean and onto the a scene from a horror movie! They are harmless (I think) and rediculous actually...they move in slow motion...

Awe....more sealions...

A real flamingo on the wild!! That's right, we visited Isla Isabella for a few days of R&R on the beach and lucked out when we came across a small flock of flamingos feeding in a lagoon. Do you know why they are pink? After seeing the pink coloured lagoons they feed in now we know why!

Turtles turtles turtles. They are old, huge and everywhere on the Galapagos. This is Lonesome George...heard of him? He is about 90 years old and has been in a protected area for the past 40 ... because... he is the last of his species. When George goes, so does his kind. Sad, but I real reminder of why these special islands need the protection they are finally getting.

Tarantulas, scorpions and snakes were on the list of jungle critters that we had the pleasure of seeing on our Amazon trip. YIKES! The first night we got to the jungle we went on a guided night walk...pants tucked into socks!

This is the biggest moth I have ever seen in my life. It was as big has Brad's hand!

Sunset on Lake Sandoval in the Amazon Basin of Peru. If you can imagine the sounds filling the evening sky...parrots sqawking, bugs screeching (yup, big ones) and howler monkeys roaring at unbelievable volumes. The jungle is anything but quiet!

I will post some more pics on the elm facebook page and you can look forward to a slideshow in the future...I have plenty of videos to share as well so keep checking back!
Now, back to reality!

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