Yet another shithole!!!!!

Trip Start Jun 26, 2006
Trip End Feb 28, 2007

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Wednesday, January 3, 2007

We left Cusco early and were very sad to see it go. Our desires to spend less money and get a cheap bus were gonna prove interesting. The bus was ok, just hadnt been cleaned ever and was falling apart, add to that the zero leg room and dozens of screaming kids you get the idea! We decided to sleep through as much of the journey as possible, only waking occasionally to eat biscuits and admire the view. It was all pretty similar, we were travelling through a very flat valley at approximately 3900 metres. The roads as normal were lined with dumped rubbish and it was a pretty dull day.
Arriving into Puno about 3pm our worst fears were realised and as we were prewarned it was a complete shithole. Probably the worst one so far..... which is saying something!!!! Fortunately when we went into the bus station a tour operator was waiting who led us to a very nice hotel where we got a 50% discount. He also sorted our Lake Titicaca tours and our bus outta there so we werent complaing. I was hungry so we head out to the tourist street where there were tonnes of restaurants. It all looked pretty dingy but we picked one and had fab hot choccy with yummy sandwiches. Then just chilled, watching some tele in our hotel room. We werén´t even hungry when dinner time came but reckoned we better eat as we weren´t gonna have time for brekkie in the morning. Decided we weren´t prepared to pay loads as we´d been spending to much of late so picked the cheapest pizza place and shared one. Ames took advantage of her last chances to have Inca Kola and i had a crap cuba libre. We even managed to save a couple of pieces of pizza for brekkie. Then watched tele till we fell asleep..... such luxury having cable and for just ten bucks a night!
The following morning we woke early for our tour, not that we´d slept much. Both finding it very hard to sleep all the way up here. As we got downstairs the guy from yesterday turned up with our bus tickets outta Puno..... thank god! and the minibus to take us to the port. After doing the rounds picking up other people we got to the port. Turned out that the port was more a tourist boat marina than a port, tho there were remnents of wot looked like a bygone age littered around. The boat was very nice, tho as ames said it was very like a bus on wheels and we´ve done rather a lot of buses. We were told it was only 20 mins to the famous floating reed islands of the Uros people so we sat back and enjoyed the ride. We really couldnt see wot all the fuss was about. Lake Titicaca (or lake titititi as i prefer to call it) was just another lake, only this one was full of rubbish and algae! When we drew close to the reed islands it was like another world, huge reed boats were docked up against little reed islands with houses on them. We pulled up besides one and were greeted by a local fellow who welcomed us onto his island, the women were setting up huge rolls of reeds for us to sit on around a board where our guide explained about the lake and the islands. As we were listening the local women from the island were setting up stalls of the usual artisan stuff plus some reed stuff for us to buy, as if we have any room left! Turned out the island we were on supported five families who lived of birds and reed pulp, which didnt taste of much. We then had the option to ride the reed boat to the next island but chose not to as they were asking stupid amounts of money. Instead we looked around the island watching the bunny rabbit run around, and then caught our own free boat across. The next island was the main island where the leaders of the Uros people meet. On this island you could buy more stuff, see the strange oddity of a fire on a reed island...which was there kitchen. You could even dress up as a local. We found it all very odd and extremely intrusive on a way of life. Though it was all very cool to see.
Before long we were back on the boat. We had two hours to reach Taquile, a strange island where the men wear bed caps and the women hide under blankets! As we were travelling, lake titititi was working her charm and we were almost tempted to say maybe it was a wee bit pretty.
Once at Taquile it turned out we had a 2km walk to do, most of it to ames dissatisfation was uphill, and then after lunch 500 steps to walk down, which she liked the idea of even less. It aint easy hiking at 3800 metres u know!!!! It was a pleasent walk up through the agriculture terraces with really cool views of the lake. We were glad when we finally started to draw near to the main plaza as it was quite tiring with the altitude and the hot sun. The village was amazing, clean, tidy, almost organised and most houses seemed to have solar power.... light years ahead of the rest of peru! The plaza however wasnt much.... a shack of a church, a gleaming municipal building and a artisan workshop selling bed caps at ridulously inflated prices. We met back up with our group and went to the place we were having lunch. It was a real local place complete with bed cap topped man serving. had vege soup, lake trout and chips. Was all really good and included a mug of happy inducing coca tea all for just 4 bucks. Then it was the steps down to the boat and the long ride back to Puno. Once back i wrote loadsa rubbish about it and had hopefully more yummy food before bed. It´ll be an early day tomorrow.....we´re off to bolivia!!!
Food was actually amazing at cool restaurant that irons all over the wall, we both had alpaca and it was scrummy!  Throughout the evening there was a real crazy procession going on with loadsa people dressed in black waving white hankies.  Turned out it was the police graduation!!!!!!  God help Peru!!!
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