Student Reflections: Angelo Giallombardo - Copacabana

Day 21: December 11, 2000
WOW! Today was the best day of the trip! I woke for breakfast at 7AM and then we had an algae test at 9AM. The test went well because I aced it easily. Immediately afterwards we went right to the boat docks on Lake Titicaca to get a ride to La Isla Del Sol, where the Incan creation stories take place. We negotiated for 60 Bolivianos per person for our own charter boat for 3 people and a tour of the island. The ride to the island started with rain and turned to clear blue skies as we rode in the boat for 2 hours to the island. The views from Lake Titicaca were incredible with beautiful mountains in the background and dark, deep blue water below. The island's North end was very small and had desert like vegetation and red dry soil. The boat driver explained that we should go to the ruins and return for lunch at his favorite place. First we saw the museum and it was filled with artifacts from all Incan ruins on Bolivian land with gold, silver, and other incredible man-made artifacts all over. Then we took a half-hour walk to the Incan labyrinth ruins. The walk and hike was some of the most amazing scenery I have ever seen with Bolivia's Andean Mountains to the East and Peru's Andean Mountains to the West coast of the lake. The labyrinth was built out of huge boulders and stones heavier than I could carry. We enjoyed the views of Lake Titicaca and basically just enjoyed each other's company for a while and at 2 PM we left to go back to the boat. We stopped to eat soup and drink a bit. We then took the boat to the Incan gardens that were very lush green on a desert type island because the Incans built aqua ducts of water to grow their crops on this part of the island. We were then off to the Temple of the Incans on the South part of the island. The Incan used the temple for ceremonial and sacrificial purposes. I also believe the temple had an astrological and seasonal calendar inside by looking out the stone window out towards the Eastern side of Lake Titicaca. On the way back to the boat, 2 little old Incan women were laughing hysterically at us and I asked if they were laughing at us and they said "yes" and continued to do so. I guess we were funny looking…. oh well. We headed back to Copacabana and got caught in the heavy storms from Peru that made our journey very choppy and rocky on the lake. I got off the boat at 6 AM and I was still rocking because the water was very rough from the afternoon winds. We went back to the hotel and then for a delicious meal of lake Trout nearby. Afterwards, we went to use the Internet and then off for a beer at a bar. We got back at 10PM and had a sweet day away from the large group. We learned more today about culture, people, customs, and everyday life in Bolivia than we did in the 20 days prior. The ruins were more than words could describe and the scenery was some of the most incredible I have ever seen. I couldn't put in words how spiritual, deep, and meaningful the day was. I love Bolivia. Thank you Pacha Mama.

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