Called to Serve

We have loved traveling and being with family for the past two years but we felt the call to serve another mission so here we are in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania for the next year.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Peru - June 2012

I have come to a decision.  Since I obviously am taking too long to post our trip to Peru, I have decided to just group the pictures and not worry about explaining every single one of them. 

Suffice it to say, we had a great time.  It was a trip of a lifetime spent with a wonderful group of people.  We would recommend Webb Tours to anyone.  Dave did a fantastic job of exposing us to an interesting country.

After a very long flight, we arrived in Lima at about 11:30pm.  We were flying separate from our tour group but we managed to meet up with them going through Customs and Immigration.  After that fun process we walked in mass with all our luggage 50  yards across from the  airport to our hotel.  How convenient!  The next morning we were back in the airport for our flight to the jungle.

Puerto Maldanado
Everywhere you go you will be hit up by people trying to sell you something.  We were accosted as we exited the airport and they followed us to our bus.  Even after we had entered the bus they would go up to the windows and try to get you to buy.
Public transportation.  These little Tuk Tuk's were all over.
In Puerto Maldanado we boarded longboats for a 40 minute ride of the Madre de Dios River into the Amazon jungle.  We arrived at Corto Maltes, a resort in the Amazon.  We stayed there two nights.  We spent the next few days going on jungle treks, seeing lots of birds, monkeys and more birds.  At this time of year it was supposed to be hot and humid but there was a cold spell going on.  All of the workers were bundled up and talking about how cold it was.  We just enjoyed the fact that we were not sweating.  It was really quite pleasant, though at times - like bedtime - cold.  Our bungalows just had screens covering the windows and so the night breezes left us wanting more blankets than we found in our room.  We were told to use the mosquito netting on our beds but it really was too cold for the pesky things.  

The resort itself was amazing.  We were in the middle of the jungle with no electricity or running water.  Lights were available only until 10pm when the generator was shut down.  We could not use blow dryers - not enough power - which took me by surprise.  There was a nice dining room and we had wonderful food.  The owner is French and so the meals were kind of fancy.  There was a very nice pool but again it was too cold to use it.

                                                                            Each day we had a different jungle experience.  We took the longboat to Monkey Island and thought we had seen a lot of monkeys until our trek through the mud to Sandoval Lake.  At one point the monkeys were leaping across the road and swinging from tree to tree.  We figured we must have seen hundreds that day.  We also saw a little group of otters swimming along the shore when we were on the lake in our dugout canoe.  There is a picture of two birds that we saw while on the lake.  I do not know what they were but 
they were beautiful.

We left Monkey Island and had lunch in the boat on our way to our next stop.  It was rice and chicken which had been wrapped in leaves and steamed.  Might not look so good but - Yummy!!! 
Because of the unexpected turn in the weather, there had been rain before we arrived.  This is one area that had a bunch of gooey mud.  We had long walking sticks, thank goodness, which helped us to avoid falls but I just about lost my galoshes several times.
One morning we got up just after sunrise to hike 20 minutes to a clay lick. Each morning about 6:30, hundereds of wild parrots descend onto a wall of clay.  They eat the clay to coat their stomachs so they can go out and eat unripe fruit.  There was a little covered area across the river from where they were and we sat very quietly for about a half hour waiting for them.  If they hear anything they will not come.  Quite the sight to see. Later that day, we boarded the longboats again for our return to Puerto Maldanado.  We spent some time in the market where our guides pointed out local fruits and vegetables.

These are the four guides which we had for our entire stay in Amazonia. Very knowledgeable.

From Puerto Maldanado we flew to Cuzco.  David Webb had told us that when we got off the airplane we should take things slow.  He did not have to worry.  We stepped off the plane and it was like I could do nothing but walk at a snails pace.  The elevation in Cuzco is 11,500 ft.  That afternoon we spent time in our hotel to let our bodies adjust to the altitude then took in a dinner show that night.  The next day we went to several sites of Incan ruins. 

 Temple of the Sun, the most sacred of the Inca Temples.  It was found under a present-day monastery after an earth quake.  There was a mind boggling amount of gold and silver found in the temple.  

Statue of Christ overlooking Cuzco.  Lights up at night.

Incan ruins above Cuzco.  It's three tiered walls were built from 18 foot boulders that weigh over 300 tons each. 

Wayne by the Utah stone. 
 Another Utah stone!


 We stopped at stopped at little animal sanctuary where we saw condors, llamas and alpacas up close and personal.


Our bus braved the streets of Pisac where we had pizza at a German restaurant!  We hit the market before heading up the the Pisac Ruins which guarded the Sacred Valley.


 On Sunday, we attended an LDS Sacrament Meeting in the morning.  The meeting was in Spanish so we wore headphones and David interpreted for us.  He served his mission in the Cuzco area.  From there we headed for Machu Picchu.  Along the way we stopped to see the Ollantaytambo ruins.   

Our train finally arrived at Agua Calientes.  Our hotel was just below the train station.  We had left our luggage back in Cuzco and all we brought with us was what we could carry in a backpack.  We had a room at the back of the hotel which was right along the river. 

Good sounds to sleep by.                                                                             
The next morning we boarded a bus which took us to the top of the hill - Machu Picchu.
The was one of the ladies in our group.  For some reason, every time I saw her this day I thought of the cartoon character Maxine.
The hill in the background is Wainu Picchu.  Some of our group hiked to the top of that mountain.  Of course Wayne was one of them.  The pictures below show what the trail was like and how at one point they even had to crawl through a small opening.  He had a great view of Machu Picchu from the top.

                                                                             After a wonderful morning of exploring the ruins, we returned to Aguas Calientes for a buffet lunch and time to explore the SMALL town. We then boarded the train again and headed back to Cuzco.                      
Very comfortable transportation.

The next day we drove about an hour out of Cuzco to a small mountain town by the name of Casa Cunca to visit their elementary school.  The purpose of our visit was to deliver sweaters and jackets that had been collected by our tour group and to present to them a new copy machine for their school.  Again, the funds for the copier had been donated by the members of our tour group.  Dave organizes a service project every time he takes a group to Peru.  This was one of the highlights of the trip.  The bus dropped us off and we had to trek to the school.  As we passed through the gateway to the school, all of the children were lined up to greet us and threw confetti as we passed by them.  We then were led to chairs out on the playing field and after being seated the school put on a program of singing, dancing and games.



If you did not recognize him, that is Wayne on the chair, waiting for the lady to pop his balloon.

After the program, the children lined up so that we could present their sweaters and jackets.  We all took a few and then tried to match them to kids that they would fit.

These are two of the little girls that I was able to give sweaters to.







As we finished up our time in Cuzco, our group prepared to fly back to Lima and home.  Wayne had wanted to see Lake Titicaca so we arranged for an 8 hour bus ride to Puno.  The following are pictures of some of the stops we made along the way.  We saw several more Incan ruins, lovely landscapes, some interesting old churches and more people selling things.

After spending the night in a very nice hotel in Puno, we headed for the port early in the morning to board a boat for our excursion to the floating islands of Uros.  We had a very informative and friendly guide.  The islands are amazing.  They are all made out of reeds that are stacked and tied and then anchored to the bottom of the lake.  They just keep adding fresh reeds to the top.  The islands are small and inhabited by a few families.  There are many islands.  There are a lot of tourist boats going out to the islands at the same time and each boat goes to a different island.  There are reed bundles arranged for you to sit on while they present a short program explaining how they build the islands, foods they eat, customs, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                   Ladies lined up to greet the boats coming in.
                                                                                                                             Top surface of reed island.
                  Old reeds.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   A little model of the housing on the islands.                                                                                           
                                                 Standing outside of one of the family huts.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           If you look hard, you will find a small portable TV in
 this family hut.  The solar panel below is used to run it.
And of course they end their presentation with the opportunity for us to buy their wares.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  When we were done on the island, we used this boat to float over to the main island.  Wayne and I sat on the top of the platform.  Fun ride. The girls sang to us as we left their island.  It was funny when we heard them singing "My Bonnie lies over the ocean" in English.

                                                                                                                                                  The Main Island

The General Store
                   The Hotel.  Cost = $15 per night.
                                                                                               Pig Farm outside of "town".                    

From Uros, our boat took us to Tequile Island.  Puno is at 12,500 ft. and the altitude was really bothering me so my Kindle and I stayed on the boat while everyone else climbed to the top of the hill where the town is.  That is the only way you can reach it.  When they were done, they descended the hill on the other side of the island.  While there, the group had lunch at a restaurant.  I had told my guide that I brought some food with me and would be fine but wonderful man that he was, he brought me an entire meal when they returned to the boat.  We tipped him well!!

The End

No comments: