Visita a las islas flotantes de los Uros

Hola Diana:

¿Qué tal has pasado tus vacaciones de verano? Las mías han sido estupendas, he estado haciendo una ruta con mis padres por Bolivia y Perú.

Ayer viajamos desde Copacabana, en Bolivia, hasta Puno, a orillas del  lago Titicaca. ¡Es un lugar mágico!

¿Recuerdas que estudiamos el lago Titicaca en clase de español? Es un lago en los Andes Centrales situado entre Bolivia y Perú. Es el lago navegable más alto del mundo y ocupa el lugar 19º del mundo por superficie.

uros-blog

 

 

La experiencia más impresionante fue la visita a las islas flotantes de los uros, una de las comunidades que vive en el lago. A unos 6 km del puerto de Puno (¡y a 3.812 metros sobre el nivel del mar!) se encuentra este archipiélago de 40 islas fabricadas con totora (una especie de junco que crece en los terrenos pantanosos de América del Sur). En realidad, por tanto, no son islas, son construcciones de totora que se asientan en el lecho del lago.

El sitio es bastante turístico pero es muy especial. Es como estar en otro planeta. Estas comunidades viven de la pesca, la venta de artesanía y el turismo.

uros-women-blog

 

La totora es importantísima en la vida y en la economía de los uros: se utiliza también para fabricar los techos, paredes y puertas de las viviendas. Te preguntarás cómo se fabrica una isla con juncos… Nos explicaron que en la época de lluvia, las raíces de la totora salen a flote de forma natural. Los uros las cortan en trozos con sierras y las llevan hasta el pueblo. Allí ponen estacas de eucalipto en cada trozo de raíz y los unen mediante cuerdas. Eso forma la base de las islas. Además, con las totoras también fabrican su principal medio de transporte entre sus islas y el continente: las balsas. Otro de los usos de la totora, muy importante, es que cuando los tallos se secan los usan como leña para sus cocinas, cumpliendo la función de combustible. Además la utilizan como alimento, ya que al quitarle la corteza queda una sustancia blanca, fibrosa, prácticamente sin gusto, pero igualmente utilizada como complemento a sus dietas

También fabrican artesanías de totora, las cuales venden a los turistas que visitan sus islas… Cuando nos veamos te daré un pequeño regalito que compré para ti ☺

Un abrazo, Ana

Actividades:

  1. Busca el lago Titicaca en un mapa y describe su situación
  2. ¿Cuáles crees que son las principales dificultades de vivir en unas islas flotantes?
  3. ¿Te gustaría visitar las islas flotantes? Razona tu respuesta.
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Durmiendo en la isla de Amantaní

Hola Diana:

¡Este viaje me sigue sorprendiendo!

Ahora ya estoy en Lima y tenemos conexión a internet para poder escribir emails. Después de visitar la isla de los uros, fuimos en barco a la Isla de Amantaní, donde nos quedamos a dormir en casa de una familia (así es el turismo rural en Perú). La isla de Amantaní está formada por 10 comunidades, y nosotros nos quedamos a dormir en Santa Rosa.

Después de tres horas de viaje en barco, llegamos al puerto, donde estaban esperando todos los habitantes de la isla que alojan a turistas. Me llamó mucho la atención ver que los hombres visten de manera moderna, pero todas las mujeres van vestidas con ropa tradicional: falda amplia fucsia, camisa blanca con flores bordadas, chal negro con bordados en la cabeza y sandalias.

 

Nos quedamos en casa de una familia, Julio y María, que viven con sus tres hijos en una casita a la entrada del pueblo. La casita es sencilla, pero acogedora. ¡Y María guisaba muy bien! Cocinó una cena típica del lago Titicaca: sopa de quinoa, queso frito con papas, pollo y ensalada. La quinoa es un cereal típico de Perú, es parecido a las lentejas. ¿Lo has probado alguna vez? Está muy rico en la sopa o en ensalada.  Y para beber, mi bebida preferida: chicha morada. E InKa Cola, por supuesto.

amanti-boat-blog

En esta isla parece como si el tiempo se hubiera detenido. Las casas tienen electricidad con una pequeña placa solar, y en cada caso hay un solo wc. En la isla hay 3 colegios de primaria, y un  colegio de secundaria. Es una comunidad muy tranquila. Por supuesto, no tienen acceso a internet, y la mayoría de las casas no tiene televisión. Pero viven muy tranquilos y en equilibrio con la naturaleza… desde luego, no sufren de estrés como nosotros.

Por la tarde dimos un paseo con Julio y María para ver la puesta del sol desde  Pachatata, en lo alto de la isla. La visita de la puesta de sol desde allí es preciosa. Se ve el lago y al fondo, en la parte boliviana se ven los picos nevados de la Cordillera real boliviana.

amanti-terraces-blog

Te mando en este email unas fotos del lago para que veas que paisajes tan preciosos. Fíjate en el azul tan intenso del lago, y en los nevados de Bolivia al fondo.  (Llevo un gorro típico peruano porque, aunque hace sol, hace una temperatura fresca debido a la altitud).

 

Espero que estés disfrutando también tus vacaciones. ¿Dónde has estado? ¿Has podido practicar español, para que no se te olvide?

Un abrazo,

Ana

Actividades:

  1. ¿Por qué es interesante que un turista duerma en la casa de una familia peruana?
  2. ¿Has probado alguna vez la comida peruana? ¿Te gustaría probarla?
  3. Mira el video. ¿Te gustaría visitar la isla de Amantaní? Razona tu respuesta.

 

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Hernando Siles Stadium

Today was so amazing. I went to a soccer game at the Hernando Siles Stadium in La Paz, Bolivia. I mean, you always hear about how important soccer is in popular culture in Latin America, but there is nothing like being there and experiencing it for yourself. Imagine 42,000 people screaming fans in the seats and another 5,000 fans who couldn’t care less that they don’t have a seat. It was exhilarating!!! I’d heard about the controversy involving the stadium in 2007. FIFA said the Bolivian national team had an unfair advantage because they were used to the high altitude in the stadium and the other teams didn’t have enough time to get used to the altitude hike. I can definitely see why the visiting team would say that. The merchant who sold us the tickets said we had great seats at mid-field. What he failed to tell us was the seats were in the top level at mid-field. My ears started popping as I was walking up the steps to the top. I’m in pretty decent shape, so I knew if I was hurting, then everyone else would be in serious trouble. And I was right! When I looked back, everyone else looked like they could have benefitted from an oxygen mask. At almost 12,000 feet above sea level, I guess it is justifiable to be out of breath in the thin air.

La Paz Stadium

We got used to the altitude as the game went on. I almost forgot the altitude was a problem until I jumped up to celebrate a goal and got light headed. At that point I had to use the bathroom, so I took the opportunity go downstairs and get out of the crowded stands. As I was walking down, my stomach started to growl, so I made the decision to visit the concession stand too. Unfortunately, the stadium isn’t built like the stadium in the U.S. I found a bathroom just fine, but I didn’t find a concession stand. I walked for what seemed like forever and just gave up. So I made the hike back to my seat. I’m proud to say I’ve attended several events in the Andes. I’ve been immersed in Andean culture through sports, festivals, and traditions. But my all-time favorite was the soccer game at the stadium. Although I found this experience to be a personal high, I was glad to share it with almost 50,000 people. Activities:

  1. What was the controversy involving the soccer stadium in La Paz?
  2. Do you like to play or watch soccer? Why or why not?
  3. Watch the Bus Tour around La Paz https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ueWBLdHIDk Describe the city of La Paz.
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Quito vs. San Francisco

Did you know there is another San Francisco in the world? There is! It’s called San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador. Yes, it’s the capital of Ecuador. There are some similarities and differences between the U.S. San Francisco and the Ecuadoran San Francisco. Now that I’ve been to both, I can make some distinct comparisons. For instance, they were both “founded” by the Spanish. Seems to me that both areas were already occupied by people when they were officially founded, but I won’t go there. Another fun fact is the population of San Francisco, California, is about 800,000 people, whereas Quito has a population of about 1.4 million people. It seemed like the population was dense in San Francisco, more so than in Quito, but the numbers don’t lie. Another noteworthy point is that San Francisco is surrounded by water, whereas Quito is surrounded by mountains.

I remember walking around all day in Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco with no problems, but I was having trouble breathing in Quito. We were walking to the Contemporary Art Museum, and I started feeling a little dizzy. At one point I had to stop and catch my breath because I felt lightheaded. I later found out that Quito is over 9,000 feet above sea level. The air is “thin” up there; that’s why I had altitude sickness. San Francisco is only about 50 feet above sea level. We did walk through the art museum, but we didn’t get to the museums dedicated to the history of Quito and medicine in Quito because we were just too tired. That’s another symptom of altitude sickness.

san-francisco-de-quito

Another thing I found interesting about Quito was that there are about 30 colleges and universities in the city. Everywhere we turned we saw an advertisement for a new institution, but they were all small schools, what we might call a commuter school at home. But in San Francisco, CA, there are 10 large colleges and universities. If we were to compare the size of colleges and universities in San Francisco and Quito to grocery stores, then San Francisco has the superstores of educational centers whereas Quito has the corner stores. From what I understand, though, the schools in Quito are specialty schools, so the students get a concentrated education. It also makes the choice a lot easier. If I want to be an engineer, I go to the specialty school for engineering. If I want to be a doctor, I go to the specialty school for medicine. The schools in San Francisco offer different versions of these programs at each school. That means an engineer and a doctor will attend the same school. OK, maybe I’m rambling about the colleges and universities in these cities, but I’m in college mode right now! I’ll be graduating soon and I’ve been doing a lot of research trying to figure out where I’m going to school.

Moving on, the last observation I made was that the city of Quito was dedicated solely to soccer. There was a huge stadium and the team is really, really good. But San Francisco has facilities to accommodate professional baseball, football, and golf. I’m happy in either city. They both have what I need. Maybe I’ll add Quito to my list of potential college towns.

Activities:

  1. What are the differences between San Francisco (US) and San Francisco de Quito (Ecuador)?
  2. If you go to Quito, you might feel a little sick or dizzy. Why? Do some research to find out what the remedies are.
  3. Watch this video about Quito https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8owQdL_Ak7M What would you like to visit if you went to Quito?
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Museums in La Paz

I got up and dressed at about 6:00 a.m. The sun was just starting to come up when I went downstairs for breakfast. I really wasn’t hungry, but I knew I needed to eat, so I grabbed a marraqueta (a type of roll) and some hot tea to hold me over until lunch. The rest of the crew wasn’t awake yet, so I set out to find Jaen Street and its many museums.

Jaen Street was absolutely beautiful. The street itself was pretty narrow. I don’t think any cars could fit through. It was lined with buildings that were bright blue, orange, red, yellow, and all colors in between. And the streets were made of cobblestone. I was glad I wore sneakers; otherwise my feet would have killed me all day. I tried to take pictures, but the buildings on both sides of the street really blocked out the sun. All my pictures came out really shadowy.

The taxi driver told me to go to the Museo Costumbrista first, so I started reading the signs on the buildings to find it. I didn’t have to look very far because it was a bright pink building right on the corner where he dropped me off.

la-paz-illimani-mountain
When I got to the ticket counter, the man said I could buy passes for this museum, as well as the Museo Casa de Murillo, Museo Historico del Litoral, and the Museo de Metales Preciosos Precolombinos. I wanted to go to all of them, but I knew I wouldn’t have time, so I asked him to tell me a little bit about each one. He said the Museo Costumbrista is a history museum that tells the history of La Paz. The Museo Casa de Murillo was the home where Pedro Domingo Murillo, a martyr in the La Paz Revolution, lived until he was hanged in 1810. The Museo Histórico del Litoral depicts the battle in which Bolivia lost its Pacific Ocean border to Chile in 1879. Lastly, the Museo de Metales Preciosos Precolombinos has displays of precious metals from pre-Columbian times. As my mind was swirling from the all the choices, the man told me there were six other museums on the same street including a Museo de Instrumentos Musicales de Bolivia. Finally, I had to tell him to stop with the choices because my brain wasn’t thinking in English or in Spanish at this point. I knew it would be a stretch, but I bought tickets to four museums.

Usually, I like to take my time and walk through the museums slowly and view all the items carefully, but today I half-jogged through them all. I turned the flash off on my camera and snapped pictures as I went through. I was hoping I could capture all of the things I missed because I went through so fast. I hope the photos turned out OK!

Activities:

  1. Which museums are mentioned in the text? Which one would you prefer to visit and why?
  2. Take a look at the picture of La Paz and describe it.
  3. ¡A investigar! Find La Paz in Google maps https://www.google.com. Describe where the town is located.
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Juanita

Today we went to see Juanita at the Museum of Andean Sanctuaries in Arequipa. She is the frozen girl Johan Reinhard and Miguel Zárate found in 1995. They were hiking up Mount Ampato when they saw some kind of sack. When they opened it, they found a girl. At the time, they had no idea they had found a 500-year old girl from the Incas of Tawantinsuyu. Believe it or not, I found out about Juanita as I was surfing my social networking site. I was looking for a girl named Juanita, who I met the last time I was in Peru, and the frozen Juanita came up.

Some people call her a mummy, but that’s not accurate. When I think of mummies, I think of the wraps the Egyptians put around their dead royalty. But Juanita was naturally preserved by the cold in the altitude in which she lived and died. The question then is how did Juanita die? Of course no one will ever really know, but some experts say she was a gift to the god of the mountain as part of a ritual or ceremony called capacocha.

juanitas_frozen_hand

One of the coolest things about her discovery is that because she was found in this age of technology, scientists were able to find out a lot about Juanita, even down to what she ate before she died. It is believed she ate a vegetarian diet, she weighed about ninety pounds, and she was in perfect health.

At the museum, I waited for some space to clear before I went up to Juanita. She was smaller than I expected. Her face showed signs of youth and beauty. I couldn’t really see the details in her clothing, but the sign said she was found in traditional burial clothing that included an alpaca wrap held together with a silver clip. They said this was the dress of nobles. So was she of noble blood or was she dressed this way because she was a special gift to the god of the mountain?

inca-mummy

While everyone took a glance at Juanita and kept moving, I tried to study her face. I couldn’t make out a facial expression. She didn’t look sad, she didn’t look scared; she just looked peaceful. Millions of people look at her every year, but I hope she’s resting in peace. RIP, Juanita.

Activities:

  1. Who is Juanita?
  2. Would you like to visit Juanita at the Museum of Andean Sanctuaries in Arequipa? Why? Why not?
  3. Find Arequipa in Google maps https://www.google.com. Describe where the town is located, and how you think the geography affects the lifestyle there.
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Andean Condor

I saw the coolest bird today! It’s called the Andean Condor, and it’s huge! We were walking in the Andes and saw some birds circling around. I just figured they were vultures because I could see the animal they were eyeballing off in the distance. But as we got closer, someone pointed out that they were condors. I can’t tell one bird from another, so I was wondering how someone could look at that bird and tell it’s a condor. Plus, a condor is in the vulture family, so what’s the difference, right? Wrong!

andean-condor-flying

I looked at the thing for a long time. I even snapped a couple pictures and zoomed in to the max so I could see it better. In the first picture the bird was fully stretched out. Its wings had to have at least a ten-foot span. Stretch a condor out along side any famous basketball player and the player would be short compared to this long bird. I also noticed there were white stripes along the back side of the feathers. I really couldn’t get over how long the wings were, but what truly baffled me was that the torso wasn’t that big. How in the world could a bird with such long wings have such a small torso without losing its balance?

The condor was seated on a high ledge in the second picture. For a minute it looked like he had one of those U-shaped airplane pillows around his neck because he had white feathers that stopped just short of going all the way around his neck to the front. At this point I realized we were standing a little less than 10,000 feet above sea level, so he had to be at about 10,500 feet above sea level. I would need some of those extra feathers too if I lived up here year-round. It gets cold! And if you look really hard at the head, the condor looks like a red-eyed, old bald guy.

andean-condor

Even though these birds are scavengers and fly almost 120 miles a day to find food, I think there is a sweet side to them. Once they find a mate, usually at five or six years old, they mate for life. Some condors live to be fifty or even 100 years old. And when they are nesting, after the female lays the egg, both the male and the female take turns incubating the egg. Isn’t that sweet?

I don’t know how these birds could be on the endangered species list. Who in their right mind would want to come way up here and hurt these birds? As scavengers, they help keep things clean, they mate for life, and they are really cool to watch. Would you believe that in the twenty minutes I spent watching these birds that they only flapped their wings twice? They soar above so effortlessly. I found it relaxing to watch them. I think they’re the most beautiful ugly creatures on Earth.

Activities:

 

  1. Describe the Andean Condor. How big is it?
  2. What would you suggest to protect the Andean Condor and other endangered species?
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