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Date: 11 Sep 2017 18:52:00
Title: Week two by Lake Titicaca

We were back in Chucuito and the weather broke. After months without rain, the storm clouds piled up and burst, dropping buckets of water on our heads and sending the temperature plummeting amidst an incredible show of thunder and lightning.

Storm lighting over Lake Titicaca

The next morning, the fields around the village were bustling with people ploughing, clearing stones, sowing crops, relieved that at last the rain had arrived. Anya was keen that the foals become used to being away from the herd so we took Wychiflor and Martin for a walk. Giovanni came with us on his bike. His experience with cows translated well to horses and he helped me keep Wychiflor moving when all she wanted to do was run back the paddock and her mum. 

Kath with Wychiflor 

Franco with Martin

In Puno the teachers were marching, in remembrance of their four colleagues that had been killed by the police in Lima, the capital. The end of the strike was announced for the day after next.

The next day I helped Anya with a couple of Australian tourists who wanted to go for a horse ride. Because Anya doesn't believe in using saddles and stirrups, several guests have fallen off in the past so now each horse is led by a volunteer on foot. Trotting uphill at the speed of a horse was certainly good for my fitness. Meanwhile Franco and Debora were bridling the horses to bring back to the house. Franco mounted Venus and all was well until the rucksack with the electric fence unit was passed up to him at which point Venus started bucking furiously. Franco claims he stayed on for four bucks before falling off gracefully. Venus is very sensitive to any movement in her peripheral vision but we also suspect that Preciosa, the rat-like dog that bites the horses legs, may have had something to do with it. Franco was unscathed but did worry that his luck might run out. He calmed Venus down and a little later they rode home together without further incident.

Silvia and Eustacio had arrived to take Giovanni back to Pacollo. She was very keen that he shouldn't miss school.

Most afternoons, the clouds gathered for an impressive electric storm. We watched in awe and wondered how the energy built up. We are used to summer storms in the Alps where the heat of the day builds up the storm clouds but here it is seldom very warm.

Back at the house plans were afoot for a birthday party. Both Debora and Jolene, who had arrived the day before we left for Pacollo, had birthdays coming up. Come Friday, Santiago lit the pizza oven and baked delicious pizzas for us all. His thirty-five years in Italy had been well spent. 

On the Saturday, us four volunteers set off for a fiesta in Platería, the next village along the lake, a short bus ride away. It was Platería's patron saint day, the Virgin of the Nativity. Louisa met us there, she had brought along a couple of the traditional skirts called 'pollera' and bowler hats for Debora and Jolene. Up until then, us foreigners had largely been ignored, suddenly we became part of the community and several of the dance groups invited Debora and Jolene to dance with them. The colours of the dancers' costumes were amazing as they swirled down the street to the sound of brass bands.

"But where are the pan pipes?" I lamented.

Jolene and Debora

One of the brass bands

The turquoise dancers

Male dancers in strange hoop outfits

A little girl enjoying an ice-cream

Dancing with Carlos the ape

The purple dancers

Male costume - the people from Puno love dressing up

Young monster

After a while Debora's feet hurt so she came to sit with us but Jolene was unstoppable, wheeling and grinning all the time.

The frilly hat group and Jolene

A group of young girls and Jolene

Jolene mastering a perfect twirl - the more petticoat, the better

As the afternoon wore on, more beer was drunk and a few fellows became a little tiresome, if harmless. It was time to head home.


Every fiesta involves at least one free bowl of soup and a large take-away of pork / mutton and lots of potatoes (fresh, dried and freeze-dried)


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