Bolivia – The Crossing At Tiquina

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There’s nothing quite like the first glimpse of a lifetime’s dream.

Beautiful hillsides passed before my eyes as the bus bumped it’s way over rocky roads and steep ledges. All of a sudden my eyes grew wide at the first sighting of the famous Lake Titicaca.

On second thought, the lake looked too small to be the famous Titicaca Lake-it was the Straight of Tiquina!

The Straight of Tiquina is a waterway that connects the smaller and larger parts of the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca.This body of water is called a land isthmus.

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As our bus came to a stop, the bus driver informed all passengers that they should kindly vacate the bus for about 15 minutes. Since the announcement was said in Spanish, I wasn’t quite sure at the time as to why we were being told to vacate our bus – was this a rest stop?

As I stood there at the edge of the Straight of Tiquina, watching our empty bus being wheeled onto a very large wooden barge, I understood the purpose of this “rest stop”.

I was still pretty relaxed until I saw the small handmade wooden boats that were intended for us passengers. I normally love boats but for some reason the sight of these boats left a dark pit of concern in my stomach.

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I decided that before I embark on one of these crafts it would be best to explore the town and possibly fill the pit in my stomach with a snack.

The modest town of Tiquina is filled with the smiling faces of its locals who are eager to sell their snacks and wares to passing tourists. As I walked around I was genuinely impressed to see children wearing jackets with the name Tiquina on it. It seemed to me that they were very proud of their small hometown and eager to welcome us passer-bys.

After purchasing some cookies and potato chips, I paid two Bolivianos for a ticket to sail this beautiful straight. I joyfully hopped onto the boat, and my landing practically shook one of the wooden floor boards loose.

The pit in my stomach was indeed warranted, the crossing was very rocky, and the boat was packed tight with passengers rocking and rolling through the choppy waters. The nature surrounding our boat was truly beautiful, as were the cobalt blue waters that splashed beneath and around us. I felt almost as if we were apart of the scenery.

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When we finally reached the shore on the opposite side of the water, everyone stood up at once to vacate the shaky vessel. I felt the sensation of a rocking boat long after I was no longer on the water. After the bus came ashore all of us passengers boarded and returned to our seats, grateful just to be on dry land.

There’s nothing quite like the first glimpse of a lifetime’s dream. Just be sure that it actually is the dream you were counting on. More often than not I find that the little unexpected stops along the way, aren’t detours, they are simply the unplanned part of a trip. Tiquina was a fabulous place to have an unplanned journey along the way to Lake Titicaca.

 

Zoe Green

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