Monday, May 31, 2010

Siripaca



So every weekend I go to a town that is located on the other side of the Copacabana Peninsula. I am working with a local NGO that is trying to help small villages like Siripaca develop tourism. Siripaca has a lot of potential. However, for a long time most of the high school graduates leave and head to La Paz to work. The NGO I am working with is trying to reverse that and create more jobs in Siripaca. They have taken a few highs school grads and are paying for their college tuition and living expenses with the promise that they will return and work in Siripaca. I am going there every weekend to help give workshops in anthropology and archeology to help them know how to better present their culture to tourists.


It really was so relaxing to go and stay in this little village for a few days. No one has cars. In fact the only transportation that comes through is only on Thursday or Sunday.



the beach is BEAUTIFUL and would be a blast during the summer.



The hills that surround Siripaca are covered in terraces that an archeologist has said that are over 3,000 years old. That means they are pre-incan! Its pretty crazy to think how long people have lived in this little valley.



plus, there are llamas everywhere!



I decided to walk (I guess I should say backpack bc I was carting my backpack and two other bags) halfway from Siripaca to Copacabana. I had a teacher drop me off where the highway starts. After awhile I found this path. My professor told me that these are incan roads! So it was really cool to hike through the countryside. I think I might do it every week! It took about two hours.

Here are some other pictures I have taken lately.



here is Eli at her store. I spend a lot of time just sitting there with her. She makes me lunch every day, the sweety. We also watch our nightly Spanish soap opera (novela) "Mar de Amor" every night at 7pm. It is a a good time.



Here is my "little brother" Jovy. He is 14 and has an AWESOME obsession with Michael Jackson. He knows a lot oh his dance moves. We had an MJ dance session and he taught me some moves.



Here we are on the beach... that is one of my "dads" swimming. Ferna and Jovy just throwing rocks... I didn't get in this time.. I was too cold!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Calvario

HI everyone!
Greetings from Copacabana! I have been having a very good time here in Copa. They people have been treating me great! Here are some pictures of Copa!


This is a picture of one the typical boats that the inca used on the beach of Copa.

Here is one of my sworn protectors/ little brothers, Elvis. He is 18 and just left Copa today to go to college in La Paz. He will be missed.


Here is Elvis's Mom, Eli. She is so sweet and I spend a lot of time with her. She is great as a friend and as an informant. She also likes to be my mother by telling me that I need to put on my coat and sunscreen. It is nice to know that I am taken care of.



Here is the view of Copacabana from the hill Calvario.Isn't it pretty?




This is when we were climbing down on the other side of Calvario so that we could go swimming. We had to scale down a bunch of terraces.


Here are Elvis and I taking it easy in the sun after taking dip in Lake Titicaca.



I Love being in the sun!


Here I am eating this amazing potato dish that Eli makes.

Monday, May 10, 2010

La Paz



So the last week has been interesting! A lot of traveling; six cities in seven days. Lima (doesn’t REALLY count bc I was only in the airport for 7 hours), Cusco, Puno, Copacabana, Siripaca and La Paz. It has been fun. For that reason I haven’t been able to really get to work just yet. Things are traveling at hyper speed and it has all been a bit overwhelming. Once I get back to Copacabana I will be able to really settle in and roll up my sleeves.




Right now I am in a cafĂ© in La Paz.(I have been taking advantage of the wifi they have here) It is a very captivating city. You never hear about La Paz being high on people’s traveling lists. However, I must admit that I am glad that I have had the opportunity to come and see it. The poverty is very apparent, but there are parts that are very sophisticated and charming.


It is intense because the heart of the city is settled in a deep valley that has extremely steep walls. As the city has grown, the houses have climbed up the ravines. Its amazing that they can build houses on such a dramatic incline. I just hope a serious earthquake never hits them. To add to the majesty of the city, it is over looked by the mountain Illimani. It peaks at 21,194 feet!! No wonder, it is viewed as a deity.










(I didn't take these pictures, I just got them off of google images, the colonial alley way pic was of this blog: http://sergiostagnaro.blogspot.com/2009/09/la-paz-bolivia.html)
video

Here is Cusco... The video of the floating islands is on my Facebook page.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

floating islands


My trip to copa!


I have been on a lot of adventures in my life. All of them have been eye opening and intense. However I must say that this one is the craziest I have ever undertaken. It is weird because I have been actually very calm. For some reason the fact that I have packed up my life and have just moved to a small Bolivian town for three months hasn’t really phased me.
To get to Copacabana was a whole lot of traveling. I won’t bore you with all of those details. There are some highlights though. I flew into Cuzco and David, my professor, was there to pick me up. He has been very helpful in showing me the ropes. He is a great mentor and I have felt very well taken care of. Cuzco is such a charming city. I took a little video of me in the plaza and I will post it soon.


My friend Jayne, who I met last summer, is in Cuzco learning Spanish and I was able to meet up with her. She is so much fun! We were able to hang out for part of Monday and the majority of Tuesday. What made me WAY happy was that we were able to go salsa dancing!!! I LOVE going dancing! It was a good time. I am excited to spend more time in Cuzco on my way home.
Early the next morning, David and I took an 8-hour bus ride to Puno. It is a few hours away from the boarder of Bolivia and is on the coast of Lake Titicaca. That afternoon I was able to go on a tour to the floating islands (photos to come). It was interesting, they are made out of reeds. I didn’t know I was going to be able to go see those so soon, so it was an interesting little surprise to the trip.
Today I got to Copacabana and fell in love right away. Driving in you see a view of a city of buildings on an incline hugging the coastline around a bay. It is almost like Greece… not as nice, but the buildings are colorful and charming.
Copa is at 14,000 feet!! For those of you from Colorado… that means it is like I am living on the top of Pikes Peak! The air is thin and I can feel my heart beating after walking up a slight incline.
So I was a little apprehensive about coming to Copa and getting to know the people. I had nothing to worry about. David had set the stage and had told people a lot about me. They knew that I was coming and were looking forward to it. I am also following Mandy, a friend from the UVU anth department. She came here for three months to do her fieldwork. She did a great job and fell in love with the people. For that reason I received an extremely warm welcome. I can tell I am going to love the people so much. They are so sweet.
I love being back in Latin America! After I am done here, I will have lived in Central/South America for a total of 5 years. Those 5 years took place during very formative years of my life and the have left a deep impact. I have always felt that part of my heart is Latina. There are so many things I love about the culture. When I got off the airplane in Cuzco, I immediately felt like I was home again. The Spanish, the people, the crazy driving, and the smells are all a part my fondest memories. I can’t wait to continue to make more!