Exploring the Modern Day Pangaea
Back Home (1)
Pre Departure (7)
South America (20)
* There's No Place Like Home (THAT'S for sure)
* Advenures in Transit
* Pass the Salt Please
* From Seasickness to Altitude Sickness
* And For My Next Act...
* A Mostly Smooth Drake
* Anyone for a Swim?
* Continental Landings
* Petermann and Lemaire
* LET US IN!!!
* A Smooth Drake?
* The REAL land down under
* The End of the World
* Determined to Climb
* Stuck in the Mud
* Michelle vs. the Volcano
* I would! I would!
* City Hopping
* Juanita the Ice Maiden
* In the Jungle...
October 20, 2004
A good wake up call
In the end, itīs probably a good thing that I had a near-mugging experience. I had been a little slack since leaving Africa, where I was wearing my money belt 24-7. Australia is safe for the most part, so I had relaxed a bit, but now that Iīm in South America, it seems to be even worse than Africa. So, the "mustard incident," as Iīm calling it, has put me back on my toes security-wise.
For my last day in La Paz, I decided to breakdown and buy some souvenirs. I have been avoiding souvenirs because I donīt have room in my pack to lug them around, but it is so cheap here I just couldnīt resist. I went back to the market and with a little bargaining managed to score myself two bags and a mushroom-ey shaped hat for a total of $6 U.S.. Not bad!
As I was walking back to my hotel, there was a little parade of some sort going on in the Plaza that was on the way. I talked to some people and found out that it is very common for these festivals to happen on sundays. There were women and men dressed in costumes dancing in the streets. The thing that struck me as unusual is that the traffic just seemed to continue on, without any notice that there were mobs of people in the streets. I watched them for a bit and then went back to my room and took a nap, still trying to recover from the jetlag.
In the evening, there was a pre departure meeting for the trip to Lima. We all went out to dinner to get to know each other. Funny coincidance, the driver for this trip used to work trips in Africa and actually knew the driver from my recent overland trip in Africa! Howīs that for a small world!?
We left in the morning to make our way towards Peru. On the way we stopped at a small archeological site on the Bolivian side called Tiahuanaco. Not much is known about the people of Tiahuanaco, but some think it used to be the capital of Pre-Inca Civilization. We walked around the ruins that were probably built by the Aymara people almost 20,000 years ago. The Aymara people were the Native South Americans that lived in the Lake Titicaca area of Peru and Bolivia. We walked around the ruins, some which are still in the process of being excavated. Some of the already finished excavations, were:
The Sun Gate: Carved from a single 15 ton block of granite, and in the center is a carving of the Sun God, also called Viracocha. Sometimes it is also called the Calander Gate because there has been evidance that the sculpture represents a solar year, but no one has yet been able to figure out exactly how it works.
The Sun God, Viracocha: Sometimes also called the Weeping God because of the tears on his cheeks. The Aymara believe that Viracocha rose from Lake Titicaca during the "time of darkness" and created light. He made the earth, sky, stars and mankind.
The Statues of Tiahuanaco in the Sunken Courtyard: These carved faces are thought to represent the different people that would meet in the courtyard to share beliefs.
The Kalasaya mound with idol statue: The gate and the statue are carved from sandstone which was probably transported to the site from about 100 km away.
Leaving Tiahuanaco, we crossed the border into Peru, where I was again reminded to be paranoid about security. As we were going through the border patrol, one of the guys in my group was taken into an office by a border official. He was told to take out his wallet and empty his pockets. The "official" took his wallet, removed a $50 U.S. bill and gave him back all of his stuff and told him to leave. When he got back to the bus, our guide went in with him to try to get his money back and they just denied denied denied it all. Corruption at its best.
Posted by msshell on October 20, 2004 05:43 PM
Category: South America
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