A GoNOMAD Photo Gallery
Markets of the World – Page Four
Photographs by David Kestenbaum
The overland trip from Lima to Cuzco by train, bus and truck was hard but rewarding. I did it in three or four consecutive days with two Danish men and a French woman in order to get to Cuzco in time for the Inti Raymi Festival, a reenactment of the Inca celebration of the sun, their god, returning to them just after their winter solstice in June.
The first day, the train went from Lima at sea level, zigzagged up the slopes and went over a 16,000 foot pass where there is the highest train station in the world, then descended into an Andean valley. After that, we went by bus or truck traveling over 14,000 foot passes and down through 8,000 foot valleys on rough, dusty roads.
I preferred riding on the back of trucks since you could see everything, and it was actually less dusty than being inside a bus. One highlight was seeing the Southern Cross for the first time and another was observing several vicunas run off at the approach of the truck, both while crossing a very high barren area.
Unlike llamas or alpacas, the smaller vicunas are wild, not domesticated animals. They have the finest fur of any animal and live at very high elevations. Inca kings used to wear a beautifully woven alpaca coat every day.
Of course, Cuzco is the gateway for traveling to the ancient Inca city of Macchu Picchu.
Puno is the biggest city by Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world at 12,500 feet above sea level. Potatoes comprise much of the diet at that elevation.
While traveling by bus through the Altiplano from Puno, Peru, over to the Bolivian side, I stopped to see the Sunday market in this town. There were hundreds of Indians, and I was the only outsider there. The market was held in the town plaza in front of an old stone church. Coca leaves, which cocaine is made from, were legal, and were an important plant for the locals. Chewing the leaves with a certain substance can relieve one of hunger and cold and gives extra energy.
The Altiplano is the high plain around Lake Titicaca. It is at an altitude of 12,500 feet above sea level and is dry, cold and barren. The only natural colors one sees are the brown earth and the very deep blue sky.
This was also taken at the Sunday market. Indian women in the Andes wear hats according to the style of hat that the Spanish were wearing when they first came to that area. On the Altiplano in Peru and Bolivia, they wear bowler hats. The Altiplano is about 12,500 feet high. It’s quite barren and dry, and the only colors one sees are the brown earth and very blue sky. When they see this picture, everyone wants to know what’s inside. I have no idea. It looks like the bottles may be empty.
I took this on a four-day boat trip from Belem, near the mouth of the Amazon, to Manaus, a big city in the heart of the Amazon region. Second class meant putting up your hammock on the open, lower deck with several dozen other people.
From Manaus, I decided to fly back to the US. This marked the end of an incredible and fulfilling two-year journey in Central and South America.
David Kestenbaum is a world traveler and ESL teacher who lives in South Deerfield. His many photographs have been exhibited at GoNOMAD Cafe in South Deerfield, and numerous other locations in the US and Japan.