A Story Woven with Thread
The tradition of weaving in the Andes is thousands of years old and the quality is the result of this. Each design pertains to a specific indigenous group and each has its own meaning. They can tell the history of a family in the same way a First Nation’s totem does or it can identify animals, plants and activities (agriculture, herding) of the weaver/wearer.
A Few Words on Sustainable Tourism
Tourism can be a good thing and it can be a bad thing.
It can be bad if it is done on a large scale, such as a large, all inclusive tourist resort / complex that’s built at he expense of the environment, that consumes large amounts of energy and water, produces enormous waste while paying poor wages to its employees. Small cities and towns can be overwhelmed by the noise, pollution and disruption of tour buses as they barrel through town while very few of the profits seem to make their way into the hands of locals.
Tourism can be good if the companies that transport, accommodate, feed and guide tourists are smaller, locally owned and have a stake in the well being of the people, their culture, the environment and the community as a whole.
From Cuzco to Puno: The Altiplano
We travelled by bus from Cuzco to Puno, which took us from the majestic green mountains of Cuzco, to the dry peaks and onto the Andean Altiplano: the great grassy highland planes. The population thinned as did the vegetation. Fields of corn gave way to arid grasslands dotted by tiny homesteads made of adobe brick and grass.
The Andean Carnival in Puno
We arrived in Puno to find that we landed in the middle of the most extravagant festival of the year: Festival de la Candelaria, situated in middle of the larger carnival festivities of the region.
This is the time of year that all of Latin America is celebrating carnival.
Carnival, is a pre-lenten festival that is celebrated in Europe and Latin America. Many countries put on a elaborate pageant of dancers who dance in a procession that can last for days.
Cuzco and the Sacred Valley
We landed in Cuzco where we spent a week exploring the city. Cuzco was the capital of the Inca Empire until the Spanish captured it in the 1530s. A form of imposing their power and culture and religion upon the indigenous inhabitants, the Spanish destroyed the Inca temples, military fortresses and important buildings.