Monday, February 2, 2009

All in All, a once in a lifetime trip-Carl's thoughts

Thanks to Joe, Linda and Lucy who made this trip a great adventure. We didn't know if we would have the money to pay our part of it but it worked out and it was the kind of thing that you just couldn't pass up. I knew it would be an interesting trip but it turned out better than I expected. The press of people trying to sell items was sometimes a bother but it is hard not to be empathetic with the needs of those whose entire livelihood depends on selling souvenirs to foreigners.

The guides that were provided by Lamanita travel were quite good and particularly Ofelia in Macchu Picchu. She had a great grasp of the story and a fine sense of humor with our unruly tribe.

The visit to Macchu Picchu was the highlight of the trip. Even with the 3,000 plus daily visitors the setting is still mysterious and remote. It is just unbelievable that the Inca's mustered the manpower and intelligence to build that remote outpost on the top of a mountain, all the while providing themselves with food and water. The size and craftsmanship of the stonework was simply amazing for anyone much less people without steel chisels and pulleys. What an extraordinary thing.

My next personal favorite and the emotional highlight of the trip was the visit to the "Isla Mormona" of Los Uros. The extended family living there had been converted to the Gospel a few years ago and the warm welcome we felt as brothers and sisters was amazing. These people live "close to the bone" on Lake Titicaca on their personal island where everything including the island itself was made of reeds. As the reeds get waterlogged and sink, the island has to be refreshed with a new layer of reeds every other month. Every detail of their lives was difficult and so different from ours. I would love to have had a month to live with them and learn some of what they know. I don't think I could last much longer, especially as it got colder. My heart and a tip of the hat to these awesome people and God bless them in their journey. With a son on a mission and another getting ready to leave they will deserve every blessing they get.

Although there were new and interesting experiences every day the final one I will leave with was the visit to Toquepala. It was the main reason for going and the last thing we did before heading home. The utter barren moonscape quality of the environment and the incredible effort of the mine plunked down in that inhospitable place were still astounding. The poignant joy of seeing places we had left 48 years ago, the hospitality of the mining company in welcoming us there and the emotion of seeing the very hospital room, bed, stirrups and equipment where Mother brought Lucy into the world were just very touching. Certainly most of what we experienced there as adults was new to us but it was a familiar feeling.

The entire trip was a grueling physical effort but such a satisfying lot of fun and growth.

Thanks again to all my sibling and inlaws who made the effort to come and to Anna who cared for Wesley and Cara so we could come.

I love you all and am grateful for your support.


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