Hi all, I cant believe that it is nearly a month since I updated my blog. I have so much to tell I dont know where to start! I have included links to photos as this website is killing me as usua. Nest time I promise, a better blog! There have been big cultural changes since leaving Argentina. There is a very high proportion of indiginous people in Peru and Bolivia. The traditional dress of the women is quite distinctive (and common), just like you would see in a photo. Young and old wear long plaits down their backs. They wear full knee-length frilly skirts and brightly coloured woven shawls. Babies are carried in woven slings. Best of all though are the little top-hats that are perched on top of their heads. They look really odd - I laughed the first time I saw them! In the rain, you would often see them put their hats in plastic bags and then place the had and bag on their heads. Quite comical looking! The men are just dressed ordinarily, how dull!http://www.flickr.com/photos/37015497@N00/429930613/in/set-72157600015017186/ One of the highlights of my time in South America so far has been a 4 day trip on Bolivia. Most of the trip is centred around a trip to the Salar, the worlds largest Salt plains. It was really out of this world. There is nothing that I say that would accurately describe it. At the moment the plains are covered in a few inches of water. There are clouds around where the horizon and as a result, the horizon completely disappears. It feels like you are floating. It is a completely bizarre sensation, especially when we were driving, very disorientating. Not only were the Salt Plains great, the rest of the trip was too. We traveled in areas that the mineral content is just sitting on the surface of the mountains. The colours were just amazing. The highest point of the trip was a visit to geisers, at 5000m, which is much higher than Mont Blanc in Europe. It was fine as long as I walked slowly. The others felt a bit unwell but I was fine!!Salar: http://www.flickr.com/photos/37015497@N00/429579315/in/set-72157600015003694/http://www.flickr.com/photos/37015497@N00/429584099/in/set-72157600015003694/http://www.flickr.com/photos/37015497@N00/429558271/in/set-72157600015003694/After that a few of us went to La Paz, where I mostly just chilled out. I think the most I did was go to the cinema, what a novelty! I have to say I really loved the city; there is sooo much going on all the time. So many people everywhere, a lot of noise, pollution and so on. It had the feel of an Asian city, complete with serious pollution. As expected, it is considerably poorer than Argentina and Chile. Everyone appears to be scratching out a living in the informal economy. There are people, often children, in Mini buses (public transport), constantly shouting, listing the places that they are travelling to, shoe shine boys always touting for business, even asking if I need my (canvas) shoes shined. Apparently there is a real stigma attached to their job, to the extent that they wear balaclavas! They look pretty sinister to be honest.http://www.flickr.com/photos/37015497@N00/429916364/in/set-72157600015092255/ The others went on a day trip to Death Road, worlds most dangerous road. It is carved into a mountain side with sheer drops as they descend on bikes for about 5 hours. In fact the last person died just a few days before they went, with the same company as the person who died went with. I thought it wouldnt be that good an idea for meNext on my tight travel schedule (!) was a trip to Copacabana on the shores of Lake Titikaka, on the Bolivian side. Another of the highlights of South America. It was absolutely stunning but Im not sure how well it comes out in the photos. We stayed in a very odd hostel. We got so cold at night but couldnt find anyone. In the end we went on a blanket raid and borrowed some from an empty guest room. How naughty! The next morning we were treated to a beautiful sunrise, and we didnt even have to get out of bed!Blanket Raid: http://www.flickr.com/photos/37015497@N00/429960117/in/set-72157600015017186/Sunrise: http://www.flickr.com/photos/37015497@N00/429960129/in/set-72157600015017186/http://www.flickr.com/photos/37015497@N00/429960106/in/set-72157600015017186/And here I am in Cusco. It is really beautiful - amazing setting, surrounded by green hills, beautiful architecture and colonial buildings and so far, lovely weather. We are staying in a great hostel that is owned by a few Irish guys. It is in a gorgeous colonial building, set around 2 courtyards. We are quite high up so there is a fabulous view of the city. The city has quite a reputation as being a traveller hangout and I can see why. I bumped into a guy I knew from Buenos Aires and he is here 3 weeks at this stage. I dont think I will be here that long but itll be nice to have a rest. I just booked and paid for the Inca trail . The government restricts the number of permits issued as it is a national park so I have to wait until 16th April. I plan on going away and coming back. Also the rainy season will be well and truly over so I should be guaranteed clear blue skies (but very cold nights, about -3C, not great for camping).I have done a couple of days of volunteer work this week - basically I worked as a teachers assistant in a school for very poor kids. Through another girl at the hostel I am staying in, I met 2 Irish volunteers, John and Colm, both teachers, who have taken a year out to do this. The kids at the school are really lovely and very well behaved except for a bit of childish boisterousness. On the first morning I got greeted with a running hug from one little boy, then this morning I got three of them flinging themselves into my arms. Of course my heart just melted! Im not sure how much good I am doing but it is something I suppose. Once I got over my feelings of being a spare tool in the classroom, I helped them with their colouring and writing. We then did some jigaws, which was a bit of fun. My Spanish is pretty limited but I was fine for the most part. Tomorrow is football day so no doubt Ill be knackered from running around at altitude!