Yup, picked the Slow Bus to Puno, evenually arrived in the pouring rain at 130am, taxi took us to oor accomodation, some shady doorway, guarded by a drainpipe pouring out rain water. Rang the bell, it all looked closed, noone home, then eventually someone answered just as we were about to give up, yeah we just coming they told us, 5 minutes later we were let in , drooned rats we wer. Not realising we were gonna have o share oor S20(less than 2gbp each!!) room with a few dry rats!! Heard scuffling thru the night, but in the morning we and oor bags were still intact so we decided to stay another night, esp at that bargain price!
Puno a buzzing wee place, really nice!
Had a nice bottle of wine and the best pizza Ive had for a long time, El Buho in Jr.Lima, find it, its great!
Next day we set off on our tour of Lake Titicaca, stopping first on the Uros Islands, the floating islands made of reed. Refreshed by the islanders every 6months to make sure they dinnae sink into the lake. A quick demonstration of what they eat, big shoots of reed. that tastes like...big shoots of reed!! A skinned chicken and some wee fishes later we were left to shop, or rather get ripped off by the locals!!
Bought some bits n pieces, then proceeded to get oor pics taken with the locals, spot the foto with the lady with the silver lips!! Was she happy to see us!!??¿¿
Had a wee peek in the houses, there was a few pile of blankets n clothes n that was it, that was their house. The island we visited had 7 families living on it, each with their own individual house, and a larger communal hut. There are a few islands, the largest having 45 families living on it, there are primary and secondary schools for the kids. They rely a lot on ripping off tourists, eh i mean tourism!
After a quick cold and rainy visit there, we were off again, this time to Amantani, a large island in the middle of the lake. there was about 25 of us on the boat, a mixture of all Eropean nationalities, and happy days no English, tho a big loud Irish(eh I mean Northern Irish guy) called Tim(unfortunate choice of name- tho he told me its only a nickname for us types in Scotland!), who was pretty funny.
Amantani was about 3 hours away so got comfy and enjoyed watching the sun making an appearance. Arrival at Amantani, was steep uphill climbing, then met by our new family for the next 24hrs, Marta and Nicolas Yucra Mamani. Their language is Aymara, tho many of them speak Spanish as well, Marta didnae!
Once again, felt like an old woman while climbing up to their house, with the altitude(honest!). There are no roads on the island, just cobbled paths, climbing over stone walls and walking thru their wee cabbage patches. We had our own room in the house, did you see the pic of the outside toilet, there was a shower there as well, but refrained from using it! To the disappointment of rachel!! Lunch was served to us in our wee room(Rachel was happy as she could spend longer looking at the pics of the sheep. bein from Wales n all that!!). It consisted of soup, with tatties n rice (nae shocks there!), then fried goats cheese, loads of tatties n the smallest salad ever. I ate the salad!!!!
Then we had interaction with the family, which was nice till they ended up asking us for money to help the kids. After our stories of the kids in the Puericultorio think they decided it was more hassle than it was worth trying to sell us their wares of hats n gloves n left us to it. We had a rendevous with the rest of the group at the local football pitch, so we all headed off there. SFA supporters never complain again bout the state of yer pitches, these guys were wading in it!
Then from 3600ish metres we were to climb to 4200m(same as dead womans pass on the Inca trail) to see the temple of Pachatata and Pachamama(Father Earth and Mother Earth), 10% of the island population are catholics, 10% evangelical, and the rest worship the aforementioned!
The big festival is the start of next month where shamans will come and sacrifice llamas.
It was lucky to walk 3 times anticlockwise wound the temple , dreams will come true, so....still waiting!!
Back for dinner at the house, where we were invited into the kitchen to eat as it was pouring, Scottish style, with rain outside. Lit by one gas lamp(they have a generator but cant afford to run it), the dining area was pretty barren, the kitchen where Marta was cooking was in pitch darkness. Still dont know how she managed. Same soup again, when I asked Marta to come sit at the the table with us, away from her wee stool on the floor next to the washing up basin, Nicolas retorted, no shes fine there, she has to serve!!! Nice to see equal opportunites have arrived in Lake Titicaca!!!!
They were working all the time, serving food to random(to us anyway!) people hidden outside in the darkness, washing dishes, serving up.
Then it was party time, we had been told that there was gonna be an evening of traditional dancing, and the families would dress us all up. It was now easy to see why the women all looked huge, the skirts were enormous, we looked great, with troosers and hiking boots underneath. Then the dancing started, we were all dragged up by oor families, the dancing was worse than a ceilidh! It was just back and forward back and forward, jiggin a bit, and get all hot n sweaty in the outfits. They started one that was like the conga, up until this point, Martas scarf had never moved from her head unlike all of ours which we had long since removed from oor heads and resorted to wearing roond oor necks, every time we went flying roond a bend her scarf would move slightly and she would have to replace it perfectly on her head, it made me laugh....simple things!! Sadly being a tourist couldnae refuse any of the dance offers, not even the one at the end of the night where Rachel and I and our respective poncho clad partners were the only ones left on the floor.
Next day was an edible breakfast then back on the boat for the journey to Taquile Island. Not worth teh effort, nothing to see, and my sunglasses got stolen, jus after oor guide telling us how honest an island it is. Made myself feel better by asking every tourist that I came across if they had seen them, unsurprisingly noone was owning up to stealing my Oakleys:( Over lunch, which Rachel and I boycotted, a French/Chilean woman commented on my materialism, asking if Id rather have broke my leg. I felt like asking her if shed rather I broke her nose.....but I refrained. Luckily my Uncle James mustve been watching from up above, 20mins later she came back from the toilet with her sunglasses broke in 2. oh, how I laughed!! 3hr boat back from Taquile blessed initially with sunny weather so we was all happy up top deck sunning ourselves, till teh strom clouds came on, and the rain started.
Rachel(after having told us her story of being on a boat that overcrowded then sunk in Cambodia), looked awffy worried when the engines stopped on the boat, the driver heading up the back trying to cool down the overheating with a few wet t shirts. Pouring with rain outside, miles from Puno, remind me never to travel with the Jonah again!
10 wet tshirts and a few prayers later the boat started and we made it safely back to Puno.
A quick visit to the local police for me to get the report of stolen sunglasses, then getting chatted up by the local police officer. Just kept smiling tho as my insurance claim depended on this report, it worked as the S3 voucher that i had to buy from the bank(since shut) he had one for another report which he gave to me, and stamped and typed my letter, 2 hrs later, he walked me to the main square to meet ma new mates.
Out for a few drinks with Roger and Muriel(from Amsterdam, yes yes andy, Im working on an invitation for you and Ronnie!), and Tim the big loud, but very funny Irish guy. RAchel and I recommended oor pizza restaurant from the other night, obviously a popular choice as all bar 2 people(yup Ms. French/chile and her mate) all ended up eating in the same place, with everyone raving about it. Even the 2 camp guys from Costa Rica(orig England and Peru), came in, and Enrique the Peruvian guy was so funny, he was an actor, and when describing Scottish/English relations made a spitting face and noise that had us all in hysterics(yeah I know...you had to be there!!) But how he could dance, wow, salsa king, but we all were boring and rather than goin dancin with him n John we headed off to the local pub to be stared at by the locals and play Jenga.
Pretty competetive competition, won by Muriel who never lost once, go on girl power!!!
* Highest navegable lake in the world
* Size/ 8100m2
* 270m deep
* Sometimes get huge storms and the lake unnavegable due to huge waves
* 60% belongs to Perú, 40% to Bolivia