Just Cruisin’: From Pucallpa to Iquitos.

There’s a whole range of Henry’s. We were on Henry VI. The only majestic thing about her was her name. The Henry is a turquoise and orange, wood and tin cargo barge that has seen better days. Mainly cargo – but she does take people – up to 200 of them. And she takes both on a four-day sojourn down the meandering Rio Ucayali for … Continue reading Just Cruisin’: From Pucallpa to Iquitos.

Lake Titicaca: The Sun And The Moon.

I kept thinking it was the sea; it’s so vast. Set at an altitude of 3,810m, and measuring some 190km by 80km, Lake Titicaca is by far the biggest high-altitude body of water in the world. Chugging out on the motorised ferry from Copacabana, it felt as though we were starting an epic voyage, and in some ways we were, for we were travelling to … Continue reading Lake Titicaca: The Sun And The Moon.

Sisters Doing It For Themselves.

Once you went in, you never came out. Santa Catalina: a pretty prison, but a prison nonetheless. Painted letters over the entrance to the first courtyard urge SILENCE, yet noise from the city surrounds you: the cries of street vendors, the clop of horses hooves, the hum of voices, the sound of life. There are forty-foot-high walls, but your prison is open to the air; … Continue reading Sisters Doing It For Themselves.

The ‘Benedicion de Movilidades’. (Blessing of Automobiles).

La Virgen Morena del Lago (the Dark Virgin of the Lake) lives in Copacabana, and she’s responsible for the bizarre ritual of the Ch’alla. Immediately after the conquest, Spanish treasure-seekers looted Inca temples around the lake, and priests destroyed any remaining shrines and idols, including a large female idol with a fish’s tail at Copacabana. When subsequently a series of devastating frosts ruined crops, locals … Continue reading The ‘Benedicion de Movilidades’. (Blessing of Automobiles).

As High As A Kite. In La Paz.

We’d been told to get there early. But the line was still long. Everyone wanted to try it. Where there’s a queue in Bolivia there are vendors. Men, women and teenagers paced and hawked. Ice-cream men did a roaring trade, pushing hand-carts, and handing out cones. Ball-point pens seemed to be the hot item of the moment. ‘Boligrafas, uno peseto’, shouted a man holding out … Continue reading As High As A Kite. In La Paz.

La Paz. Not Just Another Big City.

There’s no way a city like La Paz should be where La Paz is. Squeezed into a gully, red-brick houses tumble down steep slopes, and seem to dangle precariously, half-way between heaven and earth. It’s topsy-turvy crazy, with the poor people living on the canyon’s lip at 4,000m; (‘El Alto’ literally means ‘the high place’); the city centre about 500m lower, (referred to as ‘la … Continue reading La Paz. Not Just Another Big City.

Butch Cassidy Meets Captain Kirk. From Tupiza to Uyuni, A Sojourn in the Solar.

I kept wanting to say ‘beam me up Scotty’. Not because I wanted to leave but because it was all so other-worldly. From the moment we left Tupiza to the moment we returned, four days later, it was just one amazing landscape after another. Totally out of this world. Tupiza is red rock country. The place where Butch and Sundance spent their last days. Deep … Continue reading Butch Cassidy Meets Captain Kirk. From Tupiza to Uyuni, A Sojourn in the Solar.