Writing by flickering candlelight on pen and paper in a most rustic room on on the shores of Lake Titicaca I am struck by how different our planet can be. Here on Taquile Island, a three hour boat ride from Puno, the 2200 inhabitants are surrounded by the highest navigable lake in the world.
The day prior, our arrival to Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca, found us greeted by a most unwelcome visitor, Mr High Altitude Sickness. Dave had awoken with a slight headache which really has not been unusual for either of us since being in Peru.
Flying from Cusco to Juliaca today and then boarding a bus to Puno, his headache increased despite the use of ibuprofen.
As we unlocked the door to our hotel room in Puno, a physician, lab tech and another health provider came out of the room next door, just as one might expect a cleaning crew to finish up in a regular hotel. Only instead of mops and linens it was stethoscopes and blood vials.
Clearly at 12,565 feet there are extra amenities offered up by the lodging. Did I mention you can have oxygen too?
Packing for such a trip as this one needs extra space for a myriad of medications should they be required. We had heard that it is not unusual for those who are very fit to be chosen by the altitude gods for some fun and games.
Dave awoke feeling as if a miracle had occurred overnight and indeed a pharmaceutical one had. His pounding headache from high altitude was replaced by his usual Superman self.
As I write the sun now firmly tucked behind other islands, music echoes from an unknown location as the practice for the welcoming of summer solstice occurs everywhere throughout Peru.
We are guests of a family on the island. Without electricity we are transported back in time.
Prior to arriving on Taquile Island we stopped at the Reed Islands of Peru. To think these communities are completely man made from reeds of Lake Titicaca boggles the imagination. There will be more posts on this blog from our visit to this astounding community. I have seen a lot of amazing things in my lifetime and this ranks right up there.
You might be pleased to hear that that although the waters of Lake Titicaca were a bit rough my motion sickness did not do so much as raise an eyebrow. Praise be to the Incan gods of feeding-fishes-off- the-side-of-the-boat for taking mercy on me.
In the afternoon after our arrival to Taquile island an optional hike was offered. I had gasped my way up several hundred feet of elevation to our accommodation and for a moment I considered not going. A nap seemed like a most pleasant idea. But with the Bolivian Andes glistening in the sun across the lakeside sting even better views ahead, some puffing and huffing seemed well with it. The scenes remind me of being on the Greek island of Santorini, save for five or six cruise ships and thousands of tourists.
Here in the peace and tranquility of lesser known Peru the stars are shining more brightly in the sky than anywhere I have previously seen in the world, including under the open sky of the Grand Canyon. The Milky Way dazzles as out of a page of National Geographic. The Southern Cross constellation, only visible in the Southern hemisphere has revealed itself to me for the very first time.