It was an earlier start to the day as we made our way to the Arequipa airport to catch a flight across the Andes Mountains to Puno city, on Lake Titicaca, in Peru. On our drive to the airport we had a chance to see the beautiful, conical, snow-capped volcano known as El Misti.
Our flight to Puno via Juliaca was aboard a Lan Airlines aircraft.
Bob took a quick picture of me as I made my way up the boarding ramp.
Our flight to Juliaca aboard the Lan Airlines aircraft was extremely short, just shy of a half hour. The jet airplane ascended very quickly to a point above the cloud cover which allowed us to see and take a couple of pictures of the snow-capped peaks below before we landed at Manco Capac International Airport at Juliaca. From there, we caught a taxi to Puno.
Our arrival in Puno was with much fanfare. A thunderstorm was underway, with vast amounts of chain lightning and thunder. I have never been so close to lightning before. We could actually look out the car window and see the lightning flashes right in front of and all around us.
At 12,500 feet above sea level, Puno is the highest town in the world.
As we made our way to Hotel Colon Inn, the rain was torrential by times, with water accumulating everywhere. The inclement weather did not stop the local members of the Aymara community from going about their business. It should be noted that most local Aymara people are shy of cameras. Because of local superstitions, the local people believe that a camera that captures their image actually “removes part of their soul” when the picture is taken. Many local people do not mind if you take their picture, but they tilt their heads to avoid looking into the camera lens. According to people from Puno, the best way to take a picture is to smile and always offer payment for a photograph.
Puno is considered Peru’s most important artistic and cultural community. That expression of artistic skill is very evident in the knitting and clothing worn by local people like these women that we saw returning from market. Woolen leggings, topped with either a skirt or dress, sometimes cotton, other times woolen, combined with a shawl draped across the shoulders, make up their habitual attire.
In a lot of cases, in place of a shawl, a vibrant blanket is folded and swung across the back with a baby snuggled within its’ folds. Here again, potatoes are once again king, and quite clearly a big part of the local diet.
At Puno’s outdoor market, most of the Aymara women sported some form of hat. The colour’s of the clothing were very vibrant.
This Aymara lady was selling red onions and other vegetables. The customer leaving her vending location has a full bag of veggies!
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