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Where I stayed
One noticeable feature of the city is the triciclos - motorbike taxis with makeshift cabs on the back. They're everywhere. We took one from the bus terminal to our hotel, and I wasn't always sure we'd make it up the hills! The engine was really straining. We must've also been pretty funny looking, three gringos squashed in the cab with small backpacks on our laps and big backpacks piled on the rack behind us. Can you say clown car? Or rather, clown moto-taxi?
We stayed at the Hotel El Buho, which was slightly stuffy, but very clean, with excellent beds and a central location at the north end of the Jiron Lima pedestrian street
On our first night in Puno, we tried a cool restaurant on Jiron Lima called Colors. Since it was St. Patrick's Day, we celebrated with their pisco sour happy hour special. I don't like Peruvian pisco as much as the Chilean stuff, but the drinks were good. The food was good, too, especially the Andean cheese fondue.
The only bad part of Colors was a French couple who sat at a table near us. Now, we were talking to each other over the music, so our voices were a bit raised. But I am ALWAYS conscious of how loudly I talk in public areas, since I always cringe when I hear Americans shouting across public spaces in non-English speaking countries. It's so grating.
Anyhoo, in the middle of our meal, this French man yells, "AAAARRRGGGHHH!" The whole restaurant fell dead silent and looked at him.
"YOUR VOICES ARE VERY LOUD!" he screamed
We were totally shocked. First of all, no, they really weren't. And second, if you want people to be quiet, then it's sort of ironic to SHOUT at them to quiet down.
The other patrons were also startled. We all just stared at him and went back to our meals... until he came over to our table, this time with his wife.
They loomed over us, shouting at us that we were still too loud. This time, the other patrons stood up for us.
"Let them talk!" another table yelled back. The others just shook their heads at the couple.
It was such a strange experience, a really fabulous display of rudeness. EXCUSE US for celebrating St. Patrick's Day, Peruvian style.
Had I not been stunned into silence, I would've said, "This is a restaurant, not a church." In French.
The other restaurant we really enjoyed was Mojsa, a pizza place with a wood-burning stove in the corner, where we watched our pizza baking. The crust was thin and crispy and the toppings were flavorful. It was heaven!