SA 15: Copacabana

Slept in until 10!   WHAAA????

Okay, this is obviously not the highlight of the day, but both Daina and myself are feeling a bit sick.  The cold and altitude has got to us and right now we´re feeling kind of like Toronto in November in terms of health. 

So, in the spirit of taking it easy, Daina suggests we climb up the Carvalio hill right next to our (AMAZING) hotel.  Nice, easy, 45 minute hike to start the day.  Uphill.  Kind of like the Inca Trail except with a cold.  Good times.

Higher altitude can definitely suck the life out of you and, at 3800 m, the Titicaca area definitely can run  you down a bit.  So we make our way up the Carvalio hill and end up having very different experiences.

Daina was pretty bagged with his head cold, so he stayed at the bottom.  I went up.  Carvalio is a pilgrimage site and a neat one at that.  At the top of the hill, there is a Virgin Mary surrounded by stalls and vendors, each of whom sell miniature representations of houses, cars, buses, piles of money.  The idea is that you go up the hill, purchase some miniatures, and then take them down the hill to a statue of Jesus, where they are blessed, thereby blessing the real thing.

The top of the hill has a lot of candle lighting and I made sure to light one on behalf of Daina and myself for Jon´s mom, who passed away a few days ago.  The locals seem content to hang up there, tend to gardens, relax and contribute to the unfortunate piles of plastic at the bottom of the hill (sad).

I start making my way down the hill and Daina is having his own adventure.  A local family has asked him to come up and take pictures with them.  The whole “Wow that guy is blonde, let´s get pictures of him” thing that we seem to experience every vacation.  Apparently the baby was not impressed at being handed to a large Norseman, but the family persisted and Daina is probably in their album as we speak.  After that, he actually got to see the family bless some items by Jesus, which involved some fire, some splashing of alcohol and some chants.  I missed it by a few minutes, we swapped stories and then made our way down the hill.

After a stop at a cute hot pink church, we made it to the town´s cathedral.  Awesome white structure, made in a Moorish design, flanked by ladies selling candles to other ladies by yelling ¨SENIORRAAAA!!!¨” in an attempt to make their white candles look superior to the other ladies´ white candles.  We were all ready for some lunch and…

Well, Daina´s stomach has held up for two weeks in two countries.  Today he had the chicken.

Look, I´m going to say this to everybody who travels because I just don´t get it.  The chicken is the MOST LIKELY thing to make you sick.  Beef, pork, even seafood are all much easier to cook.  Chicken needs the most cooking.  So why does everybody order the damn chicken?

Anyway, a few minutes after our bad service and Daina´s bad food (my pork chop was fine, thank you), we´re back to the hostel to give D´s stomach a bit of a rest.  He´s actually doing a lot better than I thought and is currently napping the chicken off while I type, type, type away.

We´ve got a reservation (I KNOW) at La Cupula´s own restaurant tonight – apparently it´s the best food in Copacabana, reservations recommended!  Probably going to lounge a bit at the place, play with the kittens, relax while we get ourselves ready. 

Tomorrow is Isla del Sol, the birthplace of the first Inca.  Full day trip and, depending on what happens in La Paz, maybe our last Inca site of the trip.  Hopefully I´ll get a chance to update you afterwards but, if not, on to La Paz!

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