Aug. 1, 2011
– Hola por la ultia vez del Peru, Yellow Jacket Fans!
It is so incredible hard to believe that I am leaving Peru already. It seems like I just got here! However, we definitely finished on a stellar week.
After a seven hour class on Monday where we all presented our final research projects (our professor should have known better with Tech students researching…), we were done with work. The projects were really fascinating and ranged from the decrease in biodiversity (mine) to analysis of the differences in the presidential campaigns on Ollanta in 2005 and 2011 (he was sworn into office on Thursday, July 28- the same day as Peruvian Independence from Spain). It feels so good to be done with work though, it was a rough five weeks (well, 11 including Mexico).
The reason we had to finish all of our work is because we had a four day excursion to Puno. On the way down there we made several stops in different towns going to museums and famous churches. It was really fascinating and pretty, but we were all ready for Puno.
Once there it was like we were living the luxurious life, all because of one thing: the shower. It’s not like it was super fancy, but it had warm water and water pressure, two things that are an extreme rarity at our homes in Cuzco. We had to live it up to, because the island we were headed to, we thought we were sleeping on the floor.
I say though, because it was a very real possibility. Amantani is an island located three hours by boat from Puno in Lago Titicaca (the world’s highest navigable lake). IT is the definition of preservation of indigenous life- much like the Amish, they don’t have electricity. Luckily, all of our houses had floors and beds.
The view all around the island was breathtaking. We went for a hike and watched the Independence Day parades, it was so cool sitting in a field and eating a lunch that was completely grown on the island, while watching a parade and looking at the Bolivian mountains. The scenery was too perfect.
A really cool think about no electricity is that there is no light pollution. I have never seen a night sky a tenth this pretty. There were so many stars out, and every three minutes there was another shooting star. Not to mention you could see the Milky Way as if you were in a planetarium globe. I have only seen skies like that in pictures, and I didn’t think I would ever seen them in person.
Not only was the night sky incredible, but a group of us woke up early to see the sunrise. It was the most unique sun rise I have ever seen. The sun was already burning bright by the time it came over the Bolivian sky line. Just because it was burning bright doesn’t mean it was any less pretty. In fact, I think it is my favorite sunrise I have ever seen since it was so unique.
On our way back from Amantani, we stopped at Los Uros which is a community of indigenous people (they speak a language different from Quechua) that lives on islands made from floating reeds. They literally construct an island from reed and then build their house and business on. It is a really cool concept and you can actually see and feel the island moving as you walk. However, it is not good for allergies.
When we got back, it was my host sister’s birthday. It was a really great time to spend with the family. I have really loved getting to know them and I am going to miss them so much. It is so hard to believe how fast the six weeks here flew by.
As I leave Peru, I am headed to Costa Rica to put into practice all I’ve learned. I will be joined by former Yellow Jackets Ryann Kopacka, Agatha Kwasnik and Courtney Dennis and our friends Jacklyn Overall and Tiffani Casper. After 12 weeks of studying Latin American culture I am excited to see a third country and its differences and similarities. Not to mention, I won’t be worrying about homework every night.
If you would like to read more on my adventures during my last week in Peru, go to my daily blog at gtraviswagner.wordpress.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Glenn Travis Wagner
Men’s Swimming and Diving, 2011