Friday - After only 2 hours of sleep with we stagger out of our hotel room in a rush at 2:45am to catch our 4:00am flight to Juliaca. Our alarm didn't wake us at 1:30am as planned. We race across the connecting walkway from the hotel to the airport, thankful that we don't have to run across the street. We made it - with plenty of time to spare. We touch down in Cusco on the way to Juliaca and I crane my head out the back door and take our first photo of the landscape. Can't wait to come back and enjoy Cusco. At the Juliaca airport, we're met by our transfer driver and guide, who rush us off on the hour drive down to Puno. We make it just in time to catch our boat after our guide helps us get cash out at a local ATM and seasick medicine from a pharmacy. We down some coca tea which helps to take the edge off of the altitude sickness that's setting in. I'm kind of a weak traveler I've noticed over the years. I will usually get some kind of illness while traveling - BUT that won't keep me from going! We go to the floating islands and are welcomed by the local ladies singing a traditional song of welcome. How beautiful! We hang out for a bit and learn about how the islands are constructed from reeds and take the typical tourist photos - still a lot of fun. On to Amantani Island where we are met by our host mama. She walks us up the hill (which seems like Mt. Everest with the altitude) taking frequent stops to humor us as we catch our breath. But its all worth it when we reach our community of Colquecachi. Beautiful view! We rest for a bit at the house. Our room is on the second floor and the set up is with a courtyard in the middle of the house and kitchen to the side. We go for a hike with our personal Adventure Life guide to Pachamama and Pachatata - the two peaks of the island where they hold festivals. Then we go back and eat dinner with our host family. Matt and I brought sugar and flour for the family and coloring books for the kids as a gift. they don't recommend candy because there is no dental care on the island. That evening they dress us up and take us to a dance at the community center. Wonderful music and great company! Even though I am exhausted at the end of the night I still find it hard to sleep with the altitude. Its an interesting feeling - uncomfortable but nothing that you can't deal with for a short time while on an adventure!
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