This photo-blog is designed to work either as a standard blog with images or - by clicking any image - a photo-album. To see an image in full resolution click to the left or right of an image in blog mode. The images were generated from video to give the best possible view of the journey.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sources of the Amazon on the Way to Cuzco

Andean Mountains leaving Puno for Cuzco along the Altiplano. (Click image to enlarge)
The longest source of the Amazon is on Nevado Mismi the distant mountain lower left.

This photo-blog originates from an expedition four of us Adam, Heath, Jane and Chris (myself) made as part of a millennial sabbatical I undertook - this leg to document human impact in the veritable 'Garden of Eden' the Amazon forest represents, as the largest and most diverse bio-zone on planet Earth.

The Amazon originates from the Apacheta cliff in Arequipa at the Nevado Mismi,
marked only by a wooden cross (Wikipedia).

We had flown into Lima from various places a couple of weeks before and traveled south and done a circuit of the Bolivian dry tropical forest during a notorious burning season which saw several towns torched as well as huge swathes of forest. In this photo-blog, we are going to make a six week transit over the Andes and down the Amazon filming human impact on the river as we go.

Our journey starts on the bus from Puno on Lake Titicaca to Cuzco, winding along the Cuzco valley altiplano, at first in marshy paddocks, but eventually winding along a small stream which gradually becomes the Urubama river as we approach Cuzco. So we literally see one of the high sources of the Amazon emerging from the road side. The longest source is a litte further west on Nevado Mismi, as shown in the above images.

The Urubamba begins as a small trickling stream by the road side and quickly becomes a small river.

This journey was to produce a video program so all the images are derived from raw 8 mm video material photo-enhanced as much as possible to render a photo-blog of the journey.

Panoramas of a regional town on the way (click to enlarge).

Our backpacker hotel in Cuzco

In Lima, I had picked up a second-hand Lonely Planet for Peru in the hotel and discovered that it was possible to go down the Urubamba, by shooting the famous 'manic' gorge the Pongo de Manique, and while we were visiting a restaurant we noticed a card left advertising groups to go down the Pongo, so we resolved to go on to Oyatatambo where Jose Luis lived in the nearby town, and make a side trip to Machu Picchu. This proved to be fortuitous because, although you can go to the river port of Kiteni by hitching a truck from Quillabamba, and try to get a ride on a dugout trader canoe there, only a few go right through the Pongo to the Amazon basin side, so you can get stuck in the wilderness looking for a connection.

Hymns in the cathedral ... listen here.

The restaurant at night and the woman with the woven belts made by her grandmother.

The two belts in panorama - pieces of fine art, the lower with no repeating elements.

Sentimental music in the restaurant ... listen here.

The markets had all manner of craft work sometimes at throw-away prices at the end of the day.

We spent a couple of days and nights in Cuzco sampling the culture and craft work. I ended up buying heaps of clothes and bags, only to find that the parcel cost me $300 because the post office only sent by air mail. By the time I made it to the post office, I had come down with a terrible case of the runs from the restaurant the night before.

Listen to the sounds of the 'saxophone here.

Listen to the sounds in the church here.

Catholic street procession listen to the sounds here and a second clip here.

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