Student Reflections: Jeremy McKinney - Copacabana

The morning at base camp Ambassador, Copacabana was short; as soon as we finished our alga exam we booked for the coast to negotiate a boat ride to Isla Del Sol, Island of the Sun. The air was filled with an ambient mist as well as sporadic down pours. The day looked bleak as Mr. G negotiated with boat drivers. We were stubborn concerning the price, but they were solid with the price, $30, that's what it would take to get to the sacred island. We agreed.

In no time the driver had purchased a can of gas, filled the reservoir, and embarked on our journey to the ancient Ayamara island. Ten minutes after our departure, the weather broke; rays of light pierced the only remaining barrier to the sun. As soon as the rain stopped and the sun emerged Mr. G, Mr. G and I were on the front deck of the boat soaking in the warm sun. Cotton ball clouds padded the sky towards Peru in the north west while the blue dancing paisley waves of Lake Titicaca played before my eyes. We didn't speak much, for the terrain was more entertaining that 105 channels of cable television.

The boat trip was longer than expected, but we couldn't complain. As we got closer to the island I began to feel the energies of the ancient people. Here human sacrifices were made to the gods. Sacrifices made in hope that the plaguing 70 year drought of Lake Titicaca would end. The wait was over, we had reached the North side of the island which had crept towards the boat for 90 minutes.

The three of us were first led by our driver to a tiny museum, unlocked by men resembling urban mobsters, it was full of treasures pulled from the depths of Titicaca. An ambient dissonance soaked through the glass from the unexplained artifacts. It was time to see the ruins, the place of the ancient Ayamara.

It was a short hike to the northern ruins, about half a mile. When we arrived, another suspicious looking man dressed in mob gear checked our five Boliviano ticket and allowed us to enter the ruins.

Stone walls littered the island on the northernmost side of the island. The zigzagging labyrinth of stone held the ground firmly in place. This place belonged to the walls and the stories behind them. The power of the lake and all of the Andes couldn't overpower this city. In this place the dissonance had amplified. Energy prevailed. The ruins were 200 meters wide but seemed to stretch to Texas. The walls too had grown high, trying to stand tall and tell their story, but all I could hear was dissonance. I could not stand the weight of their words so I sat, sat in meditation if that's what you call it. After sitting on that wall and staring into the infinite indigo blue waters and blotched cotton clouds, it all stopped. The weight, the discord, the tension, the power. Like the slowly dissipating blanket of odor produced by overgrown baccharus littering the stone walls, the power of Isla Del SoL was slowly retreated. I was returned to equilibrium. The power of the island also came to balance. It was time to go. The trip was over.

On the way back we stopped at other temples on the island as well as ancient aqueducts. But the power was gone. The island had given all it wanted, for now.

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