|I had a quick breakfast this morning since I was not feeling well. I returned to the room to take Imodium to be able to get through the day. We meet in the lobby at 8:00 for our ride out to Tiwanaku. Juan took a different, quicker route up to El Alto that encountered leas traffic.
It was a chilly, sunny, beautiful morning again. How long can the luck hold???? Most of us used the blankets on the bus on the way out.
Wendy talked about coca leaves and cocaine. Bolivia is a big producer of cocaine. (Cocaine was an ingredient in the Coca Cola formula until 1986.). Many Bolivians drink coca tea as a stimulant and diuretic, just like most Americans drink coffee in the states.
Then she talked about the religion, which is 80% Catholic, 9% Mormon, and the rest Protestants. She also discussed healthcare and pensions. Many Bolivians are self employed and are not in the healthcare and pension system.
The landscape outside the city was brush, on hilly areas with cattle ranches. We kept crossing over the hills in the region. When we got close to our destination, Wendy asked us what we wanted for lunch,-beef, chicken, llama or omelet.
We arrived about 9:45 in Tiwanaka. Our first stop was the Museo Ceramico, which had many artifacts, mainly from the Chiripa (1500-300 BC) & Tiwanaka (300 BC to 1200 AD) cultures. It also had no heat and we had been warned to dress warm. There were also a few Incan artifacts and Wankarani (2000-300 BC). Very impressive. Some of the clay artifacts looked oriental. Did they interact with other cultures? We then took the bus over to the Tiwanaka Area 1 Kalasya complex.
They did find the complex until the 1960s. It has been declared an UNESCO Heritage Site. We walked the complex looking at the monoliths, and talked about the construction of what has been unearthed. The stone are tight, and if you look down at the corners, you can see how straight the walls are, and the water sprouts are all on the same level. When you feel the stones, they are smooth, and unlike other cultures whose stones usually have round corners, their corners were precise 90 degree angles.
There is still a lot of archeological work to be done. They have only unearthed 3 of the 7 levels of the pyramid. We did enter the temple area and discuss the two monoliths there. Then we went to the submerged temple pit and saw that the pit was lined with faces along the walls. And, like the terra cotta warriors of China, each face is unique.
We boarded the bus which took us to the other side of the town (they had a railroad station) where we had lunch at a hotel's restaurant. We had quinoa soup, a salad buffet which included rice, and then our choice of meat was served with french fries. I had the overcooked chicken breast, and Jean tried the llama. I had to help Jean with her llama because it had a mild mustard sauce on it. For dessert, we had bananas in a coconut cream sauce.
Back to the bus and we stopped at the Museo Litico that houses "La Estela Pachamama O Bennet.". This huge monolith when first found was erected in a square in La Paz in the 1930s, then they decided to get it out of the elements and return it to Tiwanaka, and house it in an enclosed space. It is quite impressive with the detail and symbols found on these monoliths. You can shoulder blades, see the spine, etc.
Back on the bus to drive just outside of town to the Puma Punko site. This was a huge temple, and again the details, such as the impressions where they used "keys" to attach stones together.
Back on the bus to return to the hotel. I snoozed for most of the ride back. We returned to the hotel about 3:30. Jean went upstairs, while I went to see if the hotel store was open. It finally was, yeah! I was able to buy a stamp and post Nora's post card, plus I got a stamp for my collection.
We then went to the laundromat Jean had seen yesterday. It was two blocks down the street (which meant uphill on the way back). At the Lavamatico we were the only ones there, which was good since we didn't know any Spanish and the lady there did not know any English. However, the prices were posted and the instructions for the machines besides being in Spanish, there was also instruction signs in English. After starting our laundry, Jean read while I typed up today's blog post.
We were back in the room by 5:30 with clean clothes! We assimilated the clean clothing into our luggage since tomorrow is an early travel day (5:30 leave the hotel for our 8:10 flight). Jean took a shower and I ironed my outfit for tonight's farewell dinner.
We all met in the lobby, including Bruce, at 7:00 to walk to the restaurant. On the way, the music and dancers had started their practicing. Hopefully it ends at 10:00 like last night so we can get some sleep before getting up at 4:00. When we arrived, it hadn't opened yet. We had to wait as they turned on the lights and opened the door. This was an interesting restaurant. You order your meat (we had choice of grilled steak, or a grilled steak and sausage combo, grilled chicken or a grilled vegetable platter), and then you go to the salad buffet where you had a wide variety from which to choose, and soup. Jean and I had the combo meat platter. Before our entree arrived, they placed a cloth bib on everyone. When our entrees arrived, they were large portions on a sizzling platter. (Having three meals a day on the tour is a bit much.) The buffet also included a choice of desserts. We sat with Wendy and Bruce at our end of the table. The group interacted well during the meal. Wendy had us one a time tell what our highlight of the tour was.
After everyone had finished, we presented our tips and gifts to Wendy. Jean gave her an SPS CD. She also gave one to Bruce. We then returned to the hotel about 8:30. We retired early since we will be up at 4:00. Luggage out at 5:00, continental breakfast at 5:00, and leave at 5:30 for the airport.