Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Layered Dresses and Bowler Hats

Yesterday around lunchtime we arrived in Copacabana, Bolivia (not to be confused with Copacabana, the beach in Rio, or Copacabana, the club in NY). It's a small town at a high altitude (3841m) in a peninsula on Lake Titicaca (go ahead and giggle; I still do every time I say the name). Lake Titicaca (hee) is gorgeous, and tomorrow we're going to hike 17km to a place called Yampupata, from where we'll take a boat to the Isla del Sol, and maybe stay a night there. My browser capabilities are currently limited, but you can find a map here if you're so inclined.

Our accomodations here are by far our cheapest yet--we reserved 2 nights, online, for $5 (for both of us!). We expect there'll be some haggling over the price when we check out tomorrow, which is kind of a tricky situation: Even if it cost twice as much it would still be a bargain for us, and at the same time we don't want to be taken advantage of as gringos.

The food here is delicious and cheap. For breakfast today we had coffee, bread, and freshly-fried donuts (baƱuelos) with syrup for about $1.50. Lunch was grilled lake trout with french fries and rice and ran us under $3. (We later splurged on a brownie with ice cream that cost as much as the trout!) Most of the women here don't come up much past our waists. They all wear layered dresses and bowler hats, and the majority have a baby slung on their backs.

More updates when we get to La Paz; as one might expect, $1.25 per night doesn't include wi-fi.


kajal said...

I've been there! Titicaca and all. Definitely have some silpancho while you're in Bolivia. It's rice and beans, topped with a flattened out steak, topped with a fried egg. Mmm.

kajal said...

And I never did understand the bowler hats. It's like if women in India wore saris and blazers.

montague said...

oh i can't tell you how happy your posts make me, allowing me to day dream with you. enjoy!

Anonymous said...

Bowlers are still popular among Aymara women of the highlands of Bolivia and Peru, where they were first seen in the 1920s. Called a bombin, a woman who wears one is referred to as a cholita. There are varying stories of how it came to be so popular in the region. One story describes how a large shipment of bowlers arrived in Bolivia for the European workers there. The hats were too small, so they were instead dispersed to the locals (and indeed, it is fashionable there to wear a small size). Another tale involves a Bolivian merchant who had too many bowlers, so he marketed his excess hats as accessories for women.

kfinnefrock said...

I don't know if I find Titcaca more funny than just the name copacabana - but then I did listen to way too much Barry Manilow as a child... no pictures of you and Bob Marley with a local? ;)