Puno and Lake Titicaca

Trip Start Aug 23, 2008
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Trip End Sep 28, 2008


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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sorry all (especially myself  re future memories....) but it was around now that I ran out of steam on writing the trip diary... sigh.. so annoying now Im home but travelling is hard work you know!... so the next few entries will be short and sweet cos of course I cant remember anything... double sigh.. it maybe a relief to most of you as you can just jump straight to the photos without any twinge of obligation to read my dribble..haa
Anyway...my last few notes that I did before I faded off into camera only mode were....
Only a couple of days left now in Peru which I must admit has been nothing like I expected.  Relaxing despite all the dire warnings of theft and thugs on the internet  - whatever - people are generally lovely and it is not a country that gives out a sense of a threatening vibe as we went about our business. 

So same as all countries -use our brains and all is easy...So.. add to the nice feel of the country, the spectactular scenery and with so much more diversity than Id imagined.
Actually at home my mind hadnt got much past the usual shots of MPicchu and the Amazon which is all we are shown to represent Peru on the TV travel shows. The deserts were amazing and the colours everywhere wonderful - so yep Peru a definite win destination for anyone picking a holiday spot.  I guess I must remind myself of the only negative though... the altitude... oh well.. nowhere is perfect I guess...hee

We left Cusco bright an early for a 6 hour bus trip via Peru's highest point.  

So 6 hours to Puno which is close to the border of Bolivia and sits at the edge of Lake Titicaca, the world's highest commercially navigable lake, at 3,860 m.

It is known as the folklore capital of Peru... so tons of top weavings and textiles etc everywhere here.   It is also said that the first Inca king, Manco Capac, was born here and according to the Incan mythology, this is the place where the world was created from, when the god Viracocha came out of the lake and created the sun, the stars and the first people. 

anyway..hee

We dropped our bags at the hotel and went to do a walk round the town to get orientated ........and walked straight into a shool parade.. nothing new about this  - they seem to happen 10 times a day.. but this one was funny cos we stopped for a minute to watch the parade pass... and  pass and pass.. thousands of kids in costume and dancing... until even we tired of it as the end was still not in sight...
It turned out that every school in the district from both primary and secondary was involved in this one...geez!!

Then shower time and off to a local restaurant where theyre was a peruvian folk band playing and it was a nice night.

Next morning it was tuk tuk time - sorry electric motor bikes...sure look like tuk tuks to me - to the dock where we boarded the boat to go to the Uros Islands (Floating Islands).  

They were amazing  The islands are actually man made totally consisting of water reeds. The reeds grow naturally on the banks of the lake, the Uros people take them and form islands out of them, by constantly adding reeds on the surface.  (they rot from the bottom and would sink)

When we stepped off the boat onto the reeds.. which is the "ground" its sort of like walking on a water bed but no water just that up and down business on top of the reeds.

These islands float on the lake Titicaca, that is why they are also named Floating Islands. The islands (there are over 40 of them), are populated by people, who survive by fishing and nowadays because of the increasing tourism. 

We were told that the people fish during fishing season and then they have the option of accepting tourist boats on the off season for extra income.  Some have decided to keep their privacy and do not accept visitors... the others are racking it in!..heee. We asked about the kids and were told they catch a boat each morning to Puno for school.

It was an interesting couple of hours although it felt touristy.. it is supposedly still genuinely how the island operates or have operated for hundreds of years...house, animal wise that is.. (minus satelite dishes of course...) just the tourist boats each morning has changed the dynamics..


Everything was made of the lake reads even the boats, and it was interesting to see the cute guinea pig hutch and playground until we remembered thats their favourite dish - so obviously its their food supply..ohhhhhhhh

The day then took a turn for the worse as we reboarded the boat for a boring 3 hour journey to the island of Taquile, (Isla Taquile) in the middle of Lake Titicaca.   Knitting and textile arts have been practiced for thousands of years by both the men and women here.  
The coop gave us lunch and then we had a 10 minute talk about their unique code of living on the island, then a couple of songs for us tourists which was of course followed by the "handicrafts for sale" part of the trip.



Rob and I are a bit over the supporting every community in Peru at the moment so just wandered off back to the boat..... for another 3 boring hours back to Puno... what made the trip more stressful was it was a big beautiful cruise boat with a V8  motor in it and we were doing about 10klm an hour.. with tinnies dragging us off. 

Its always the same in the poorer countries... every dollar (or soles..hee) counts but time is free... so he obviously was saving ever drop of petrol and rob and I knew that it was no good hoping it suddenly gun it and get us back quicker. Rob was getting so shitty he was tempted to go and give him 50 soles just to get him to actually use his lovely V8..sigh.. 

Eventually back at the hotel where I decided to stay at the hotel and Rob went out for tea back to the restaurant from the night before. The group had all decided to try the guinea pig before they left peru and this restaurant specialised in it.  They all agreed it was very average with the main problem being its all bone. Rob said you need to eat 6 of them to get a feed out of it.

Tomorrow onto Copacabana and La Paz...(yes but not "that" Copacabana... I think thats in Rio)...
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Where I stayed
Hostal Wary Naryra

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