Chris's rant fest travel blog

Puno from Lake Titicaca

Uros floating village 1

Uros floating village 2

Uros floating village 3

Uros villagers 1

Uros villagers 2

Reed boat 1

Reed boat 2

Uros village huts

Amantani Island

Amantani Island gate

Amantani Island sunset

3 Amigos

The band plays on

Had a couple of days spare before heading up to Iquitos to have a look at the Amazon rainforest, so decided to go down to Puno and Lake Titicaca for a couple of days. Caught the night bus down from Cuzco, which is about 6-7 hours away and an experience in itself.

The bus was pretty flash, with lots of leg room (luckily), but I still didn't sleep much because of the cold. Additionally, Peruvians travelling by bus seem to take it upon themselves to bring whatever they feel like on the bus. In my case the never-ending selection included live kittens, dead chickens and many other items which may or may not end up on the dinner table.

Arrived in Puno around 5am which turns out to be a relatively dodgy little town. Luckily I had arranged for a travel agent to pick me up and transfer to the boat to Lake Titicaca. However, even travel agents are pretty dodgy here. We were pretty early, so they suggested that I go grab some breakfast before the transfer arrived. I decided to do so, but when I came back, the agency had been evacuated, locked up with all my gear inside. I was standing outside for about 15 mins with about 30 neuvo sols in my pocket wondering what to do next as the transfer was due, when all of a sudden the agent turned up again. Don't really know what was going on as he only spoke Spanish.

Once I got on the transfer, things settled down. First stop was the floating Islands of Uros, where villagers live on these reed islands floating around the lake. They kind of smell like Rotorua due to the rotting lower levels of the reeds. Pretty amazing that people manage to live like this. They seemed to make everything out of the reeds including buildings, boats and a large assortment of handicrafts for the tourists.

From there we continued out into the Lake for 3 hours on our incredibly slow boat. We came to another larger island with a village on it where we were destined to stay the night. The villagers spoke mostly Aymarian or Quecherian indian, so pretty amusing trying to communicate. Once we had had a bite to eat the undefeated Island 'villagers' football team challenged the 'gringos' to a game of soccer. After 40 mins, the score in the first to 4 game was 2-1 to them, at about this time everyone decided enough was enough (suffice to say that it was hard to run about at 4,000 M). A solid performance from the gringos, but not enough to break the winning streak.

We then climbed a couple of hundred metres above the village and watched the sun set over the village. The night then held a special fiesta, including traditional costumes and dancing for all involved. For the guys this involved donning a poncho and a mr magika hat, whereas the ladies had these strange skirts with ultra high waistbands. They really got into the traditional dancing, which was somewhat similar to a vigorous aerobic workout for those of us not used to the 'moves'.

Today involved visiting another, perhaps less traditional island before the 3 hour boat ride back to Puno. I am leaving here in about 5 mins (place is a crap hole - literally, toilets resemble those from trainspotting) on the night bus back to Cuzco from where I head on up to Iquitos and the Amazon rainforest...

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