Running on Empty at Lake Titicaca
Trip Start May 04, 2011
110Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
Some hotel, island home
What I did
We arrived in Puno about 4 pm after the 7 hr bus trip and stayed in the nicest hotel of the lot so far. We went to a local grocery store to buy food gifts for the local families that we would stay with out on an island on Lake Titicaca. Just some basic food like oats, butter, juice. Puno itself is nothing exciting; port town with a nice square and that’s it
The next day we caught what appeared to be a cross between a wheel-chair and bicycle down to the wharf to start our exploration of Lake Titicaca. The first stop was demonstration floating reed islands to show how traditional island people live. An interesting concept, but geared up for tourists. From there we travelled in the boat for 3 hrs to a proper island (Tequila Island or something that sounds like that). The boat trip was hell – fumes, sunburn, about 5 km/h, boring. When we finally arrived, we were met by our Mama’s who escorted us to our home for the night. Each couple had their own Mama and the only single traveller was put with 2 other girls. The walk up the hill was ridiculously slow and drove me nuts. They rested 3 times; I didn’t need rest, just wanted to get the backpack off my back and have some lunch. The house is obviously very basic, but good to see how they live. I wasn’t so sure about the cleanliness of the sheets so I slept above them. No shower and an unflushable toilet. First up was lunch and we met the 6 yr old son Jimmy (pronounced yimmy) who understands basic English and was a cute kid. Lunch and dinner consisted of a nice soup, potatoes, rice, grilled cheese and more potatoes
The evening was a dinner with the family (including Grandma) who all loved looking at the photos on my camera, especially little Jimmy who was obsessed with seeing "DVD" (video footage). Following dinner, we dressed up in supplied traditional outfits for the 'disco’ down at the community building. What an experience! We were all sober dancing up a storm. The locals loved it and all the tourists were having fun in our poncho’s and traditional dress. We only stayed for an hour before heading back for the earliest night of the tour so far (930pm).
Wake up call at 630am, quick pancake breakfast with a suspect packet of marmalade (I don’t even like) before the Mama rushed us out the door and escorted us back to the wharf at 10 times the pace of the walk up the previous afternoon
Following the torturous boat trip back to Puno, I was finally able to chill in the hotel comfort and enjoy a few glasses of scotch. I was very glad that part of the tour was over. That night was the final night for the full tour group as some headed onto other towns the following day. So, we went to a dinner & show at a Puno restaurant and then out for drinks. The cool people then broke away from the main group and hit a local bar and made it our own. Massive night with 3 litres of vodka, dancing on tables and overtaking the music computer to play ‘Down Under’ about 3 times whilst singing into a candlestick for a prop microphone. Very fun night that went til at least 2 am and made my tough day feel good. Wake up at 6 am the next morning and surprisingly I felt pretty good as we organised for the bus journey to Bolivia. 1 of the other girls had the worst hang-over I have ever seen and any time I felt poo, I just had to look at her to feel instantly better. Bolivia here we come!