Wednesday, December 10, 2008


After months of saying ¨No, Gracias¨ and having enough time to form the firm belief that any South American town without a stray dog is suspect, it is time for my 3 month journey of South America to come to an end and for me to return to the States. During the course of this trip, I have visited 5 countries, swam with fish 10m below sea level, hiked over a mountain pass at 4750m, made some new friends, been bit by a turkey and had a lot of laughs. On my return to the States, I will carry back with me some awesome memories and a good bit of knowledge gained through the experience of travel.

The past week has been spent leaving Peru for Chile and making my way South through a couple of Chilean beach towns back to Santiago...which consisted of the final and longest bus ride of the my travels at 24 hours.

Thanks to all my friends and family for reading this blog and helping me still feel connected to home after all this time. I can´t wait to see you again.

Now, it´s time to find a job, hunt for an apartment and get a cell phone.

Below are some final pictures from Chile.

Arica, Chile: The Northernmost Chilean town on the border with Peru

A tranquil beach in Arica

My favorite type of bus ride...with seats that go all the way flat

Chilean sand dunes and desert towns

Iquique, Chile

Another picture of Iquique

Standing among wine barrels at Concha y Toro outside Santiago

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Lake Titicaca: Adventures on the Islands

Lake Titicaca, on the border between Peru and Bolivia, is the highest navigable lake in the world, standing at 3812m. I arrived in Puno, a Peruvian port town on the lake, from Cusco by bus (my typical mode of transportation). After spending one night in Puno and talking to some people on the docks, I was off the next morning on an island tour with an overnight home stay on Isla Amantani.

The 1st islands we visited were the Uros, a group of man-made islands constructed of floating reeds. As they decay on bottom, they are replenished with new reeds on top, and when you walk, your feet sink in a little to the soft surface.

Out of over 40 floating islands, this was the one we visited

Reeds and the lake

The next and final stop for the day, was Isla Amantani. There are no hotels on the island so travelers have the option to stay with local families and share traditional meals. The family I stayed with (a mother, father, grandmother and 6 children of varying ages) lived way up on the hill with no electricity or running water. Though a little rustic, the experience of staying with this family has given me an interesting perspective to ponder.

My home for the night

The children

From the top of Patchatata (Father Earth), one of the two island peaks

The family and I in traditional dress


The family sheep

After waking the next morning, having breakfast and trying on some traditional clothes, it was time to meet the boat to go to the final island of the trip, Isla Taquile (where everyone, including men, spin and weave) before returning home to Puno.

A local TaquileƱo boy playing in the main square, while wearing the tradition cap with some white on the end showing he is single