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Trip Start Jun 15, 2004
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Trip End Jun 15, 2005


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Saturday, April 23, 2005

Saturday April 23rd 2005
Caught the 8.30 bus to Puno, having seriously overpaid for it before the Inka Trail - at $20 rather than maybe $7-8.

Bus climbs high, to 4300m, where there is vegetation and Llamas and sheep, and then travel through the desolate town of Juliaca, where the outskirts look just horrible, though the city centre is a little better, if chaotic.

Mob of touts to meet us at Puno bus terminal, and accept the free ride from one of them to an OK hotel, the Camino Real. Puno itself is a bit of a nothing town, perched on the edge of Lake Titicaca, the usual Plaza De Armas you find in every city of Peru (Plaza De Armas means Town Square of Arms - a reference to the time when town meetings were held, and the locals would bring along their guns (hence "arms")!)

Lots of cyclo taxi guys here, cycling the locals all over town.

Sunday April 24th 2005
Booked a tour of Lake Titicaca today, and so down to the very polluted docks and onto a boat, that takes us through the reeds to floating islands - islands made of these very same reeds, as are their houses, boats, and pretty much everything, which they have to keep replacing as they rot away.



Islands are heavily commercialised, so the people living on the islands are waiting to sell you everything possible, but great pictures of local people, followed by a ride on one of these surprisingly big and sturdy boats, all with a dragon head.




Guide tells us how life is hard on these islands, and the people are gradually moving to the mainland for a "better" life.



Back onto the boat, and onto Lake Titicaca proper, which is a very big lake - the worlds highest navigable lake at 3820m, and onto Isla Taquile, where we walk a few kilometres to the town square. The people here are different from Cusco, for example, as they were never Inkas, and have developed their own style - they were doing terracing on the mountains well before the Inkas.



Hence very colorful people, with colorful dress - though I was tempted to tell the men knitting in the street that it just wasnt cool......
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