Friday, January 22, 2010

Taking my first steps

It has been a bit of a job acclimating to the rarefied air here on Lake Titicaca. I feel better now and have able to go out and have already had a flurry of interesting adventures which I will gladly share over the next several posts. As I ventured into the near deserted village yesterday morning, I spied this young man tending several llamas. He avoided me and with a small whip began herding his animals further into a field. I walked on and I saw several people glance at me and then basically look away. They seemed guarded or uninterested in another camera-toting tourist. I took some landscape shots and pictures of the lake, but I realized that to show you the people would take a special effort.
These highland people have established themselves in a totally hostile environment. Imagine what it takes to flourish at 14,000 feet. It is cold, wet, and the terrain is really steep on which to grow crops or raise animals. I finally figured out what I needed to do to talk with the people and had some great success later in the day. On my return to the hotel, I came across the same fellow. This time he was packing a baby llama and was quite proud. I am sure I will see many more, even thousands of llamas, because they are as stable food source in the region. Ironically, the hotel served llama for dinner last night, feeling inundated in shame, I sampled. I'm sure hoping it wasn't this little fella.


  1. Awwww! He is so cute! One more element in this marvelous adventure -- I hope you didn't eat him either! Every day seems to be filled with different and wonderful experiences and I know you are going to continue to have sooooo much to write about and share with us!! Glad you've adjusted to the elevation, now you can really enjoy and have even more to share with us!! Have a wonderful weekend, Lee!


  2. Okay, I've been trying to imagine what it would take to thrive in that rugged environment at 14,000 feet...and I can't do it. I can barely imagine what it would take to survive! Thank you for sharing your first impressions of an environment and a way of life that most of us can only barely imagine and will never experience first-hand. I'm looking forward to learning more about the people after you win their trust. It sounds as though they are a bit suspicious of strangers, but I have no doubt that you'll win them over.

    But as exciting as it all is, the most welcome words in this post were at the beginning: "I feel better now." THAT is what I wanted to hear more than anything!

  3. I'm curious, how did it taste?
    Boy, I can't believe you're on the Altiplano. I can't wait to see and read more, even though I always feel a little uneasy looking at photos of people of "remoter" places.
    Are you still in Bolivia or is this Peru?

  4. Well, Lee, that looks like a little llama and you look like a native! Oh, wait, that's not you! Sheesh! :-)

    Can't imagine you actually ate one of those! But, like you say, you need to gain the confidence and trust of the people!

    Yes, I'd be curious as to the taste, too...

  5. As much as I like animals, I probably would have tasted it, too - especially if that were dinner and I was hungry. But maybe not the same one - let's hope. So what did you figure out that made the people let you take their photos? I'm looking forward to the next pix and stories.

  6. Very interesting. I am glad you got this fellows picture. You know, this is what it's all about. People and Places--a grand title. MB

  7. What a wonderful picture! Maybe you'll get to cuddle a llama while you're there.