‘Rise and shine and give God the glory, glory – rise and shine!’ A tune that I always remember being sung to me as a child. This morning each of us have really been reminded how blessed and lucky we are to be American citizens. Currently in La Paz, there is an ongoing public transportation strike – primarily bus drivers. Due to this, many of the roads are unavailable and we were forced to take a few alternative routes to Lake Titicaca today. We even ventured through some very rough and/or closed roads and some locals were throwing rocks at vehicles! Never fear Mom and Dad, our staff, tour guides and drivers have done a fabulous job ensuring our safety!
After quite the trip, we arrived at the harbor and boarded the ‘San Francisco’ – a catamaran – and prepared to set sail! We all settled in, and then ventured up to the upper deck to take in the view. After a quick 45 minute trip spent learning about the lake, its ecosystems and the islands, thanks to our wonderful guide named Grace, we had to transfer to a much smaller boat in order to dock at the islands.
On the first island, we learned about the reed grass that natives originally used to make boats; but now its primary purpose is for fire, fuel and animal diets. There we were also able to visit a museum that had many clay artifacts. The adventure continued to a second island where, after a steep climb, we were able to take in the breathtaking view and learn about the existing rock funeral temples that had previously contained mummies!
Next, we made our way back to the San Fransisco, where we were served lunch and sailed back to the harbor. All the while we were snapping pictures of the mountains in the distance and the remarkably clear water.
It was a treacherous and long journey back into the city, but there was much less traffic in the afternoon and this time we knew what we were up against! Grace and our drivers dropped us off in a part of the city with many handcraft stores – so we said our goodbyes and shopped ’til we dropped! Then it was taxis back to our hotel to work on our presentations and find some dinner. Tonight is our last full night of sleep in Bolivia; and before long we will be able to rise and shine in the good old U.S. of A!
See you all soon!
South Dakota State University