Posted by: Monideepa Tarafdar | September 28, 2010

From Peru:Blue Lake and Emerald Lake

From Lake Titicaca, Puno, Peru. August 18, 2010.

Lake Titicaca, divided between Peru and Bolivia, is the highest navigable  lake in the world – meaning where you can row a reasonably large boat with motors. It’s the largest lake in its continent and is surrounded by peaks of the Andes mountains, many of which are snow capped. It takes a day’s journey by bus to get to Puno from Cusco. Cusco, built during the Inca period in South America some 700 to 800 years ago, is the gateway city to Machhu Pichhu and Puno is on the banks of Titicaca. There are many ways I remember the lake. The floating islands made of reed that sway gently as you walk on them, the distant mountains ringing it, the many people who live in its islands. But most of all, I remember a boundless vast of blue.

Titicaca- The Blue Lake

Taquile island and its people (on Lake Titicaca)

Uros Island (on Lake Titicaca)- it is made of reeds and it floats on the water

From Sandoval Lake, Tambopatta, Peru. August 19, 2010.

Sandoval is a lake inside the rain forests of Peru. To get there you first have to get to a small and dusty city called Puerto Maldonado. The city roads are filled with Hero Honda motorcycles (from India, yes) and auto rickshaws. From here you take a ride on a boat which has one motor, for about an hour till you get to the point where there is a trail through the forest into the lake. You hike for 2 miles, accompanied by butterflies of all kinds of amazing colors and the cries of howler monkeys. We heard them, we even sensed that they were watching us through the forest, perhaps even walking with us. Once or twice I heard the crack of twigs, but they moved very fast and I could not see them. Finally you get into a canoe that has no motor and paddle your way through a narrow channel of water – you wonder at the darkness all around, till you suddenly come out into an open expanse of green water. I later realized that it was the trees reflected all around that make it green – Sandoval Lake.

Sandoval Lake

Sandoval is a gloriously uninterrupted interplay of lights, sounds and pictures. The sunsets start out with mellowed yellows moving down to meet the greens of the trees, and blazes orange before giving way to the inky darkness that brings with it the calls of crickets, cicadas, frogs and monkeys. The jungle, slumbering in the late afternoon heat, comes alive with tarantulas, ants, snakes and spiders. And most amazing of all, you can see caymans shining stealthily in the moonlight. The dawn rises in a mist of blue, green and gray, the monkeys fall silent and the birds come out, hesitantly at first and then when the sun inches upward, start to cry out a little more boldly. Gleaming white herons, outrageously blue kingfishers and orange and brown hoatzins take their walks and take to flight all along the lake.  If you are lucky you will see giant otters glide into the water in search of breakfast. As the sun goes higher, the lake becomes green again.

Sandoval - The Emerald Lake

Sunset at Sandoval

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