Day 13: Copacabana

Boats and swans

Copacabana

The Horca del Inca

It’s hard to believe we’re in Bolivia. Copacabana seems so out of place from what we’d already seen, yet it seemed to work. Maybe it was the mystical powers of Lake Titicaca that lent the town its laid back charm. They say water is therapeutic...and a couple of days, or longer, in Copacabana might well just be the ticket.

We’d settled into a routine. Instead of moving to a new location each day we decided to commit to one day riding followed by a work day, painting and filming, so today was going to be a work day. In the vicinity of Copacabana are three Inca ruins, we decided to hike up to the Horca del Inca, a stone structure the Incas used for astrological purposes. The trail leading to the structure was just behind town and offered great views of the town and coast, it also gave us the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of the Inca, literally, for parts of the path were hewn from bedrock. It was a fascinating hike up the hill and when we arrived at the top the Horca del Inca did not disappoint. Two huge rocks rose toward the sky, one 15 feet, the other perhaps 20, and carved into the upper reaches was a ledge that a huge stone lintel with a square face rested upon, about 40 feet away was a hole in another vertical rock that allowed the sun to pass through and strike the lintel, specifically during the summer solstice. It was quite a unique sight and Dominik set about painting as I did some filming.

As I finished before Dominik I headed back to town for a look around. As I’ve already mentioned Copacabana is definitely an anomaly in our books where Boivia is concerned. There was still the ever present indigenous folk busy about their affairs in their traditional ware, but apart from a couple of market streets they seemed almost lost amongst the throngs of tourists and hostels. There is no doubt the two cultures are clashing, theirs and western culture. It was interesting to do some writing in a local restaurant while the staff were glued to the flat screen watching the American reality show, ‘Cheaters.’ I wondered to myself what other American shows they watched and did these shows affect their perception of us. Meanwhile another woman passed by in traditional garb while across the street a shop sold colourful sweaters, hats and ear rings. I’d witnessed similar culture clashes in Thailand in the mid-eighties as they jumped on the tourist bandwagon.  It appeared Copacobana was in the same throes as rapid development was usurping traditional ways.  As ‘groovy’ as Copacobana is, the raw beauty and setting the coast provided could well become another casualty of the tourist money train.

One thing I know for sure, when you hear Boney M there’s a party going on, and I’ll bet it’s not an indigenous one.