Poll Star's Wonderings

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Adios Peru

Last day in Cuzco
It was midnight when we finally got back to Cuzco; I was up for a few beers. No one else was.

The Inca trail posse all felt they had seen enough Inca ruins and archaeological sites so no one wanted to come to Saqsaywamán (most commonly pronounced sexy woman) with me. Or maybe having not seen me for 3 days, they were keen to keep their good run going. So I met up with Sarah from my trek and we were most impressive as we climbed up to the site atop a fair sized hill overlooking the city.



The site was quite impressive and the location stunning, tho this is the pick of the pics.



Right next to Saqsaywamán is a big Jesus statue that I may have stood next to in preparation for Rio.



I guess the Inca trail must take it out of you-that must have been the reason we had such a lame night out.

Possibily the best bus in the world
I've told a few tales of buses, most of which have struggled to convey the full thrill of the experience. 2 hours in, this looks like a winner. We've had '50 first dates', a film that shouldn't work, but I find strangely affecting. The comedy highlight was undoubtedly just as it finished, when Rich, sat between 2 weeping women, bellowed ''oh for pity's sake". We've had cake and just finished a game of bingo.

5 hours to go.

Perhaps the high early standard was too much to sustain for the whole journey, but this was my favourite bus trip to date and it arrived early. Most unprecedented.

So we're in Puno, where there's not much apart from 100,000 people. This is the place for us to explore Lake Titicaca, at 3,820m, spread across the Peru/Bolivia border, this is the world's highest navigable lake. I'm told there's one higher in Chile, but it's only 2m deep.

So how best to start the day at 7.30? How to get to the port from the hotel? Clearly in a tutt tutt race.




Olivia and I moved up from second last to finish just behind the winners-given that drives was shifting my weight on a cycle rickshaw, this was testament to his roadcraft and sprint finish. He got tipped.

Our boat is slow, which is lovely, as many hours are passed sat on the roof watching the scenery, swathed in a gorgeous blue, pass us by.



We land on 2 islands. Firstly Taquile, where we hike up for panoramic views across the lake and into Bolivia. There's a very famous arch where we took interminable team photos, but this arch looked rickety and needed support.



Note the total disinterest of the local child-he knows he's now safe from falling masonry.

Another hour in the boat and we're on Amantani, where we're doing a homestay. Brett and I are allocated to the seriously lucky Esteban. He and wife will get to feed us dinner and breakfast, give us a bed, and take us to our meeting points on the island. In return they are paid, we have brought gifts of food and stuff for the kids who must have left home some time ago as well as giving them the pleasure of our company and sparkling repartee. In Spanish. Yeah, you're right, they were had.

We spend about 15 mins with our new Mum and Dad before Esteban took us to a football pitch to meet the others. From there we hiked to the island's high point for sunset and doughnut.



Dinner may have contained all 3,000 varieties of the Peruvian potato. Good for me, less so for potato hater Brett. Dinner was tasty, hot and filling-just the job for a night of dressing up and dancing. Esteban put us in ponchos and hats



and sent us off to meet the others.



We did some Andean dancing, which seemed very like Scottish Reels. It was a good laugh, but I'd like to thank the lovely Laura for rebuffing me to make me dance with old women.

Next day we stop on the floating islands (reed pontoons) and take a ride in a reed dragon boat across the lake within the lake within the floating islands.




Back in Puno, we took a wander, a spot of dinner and a few drinks for the last night in Peru. Nice.

The mood in the group isn't the best. There's a lot of tiredness and only 3 of us haven't been ill (I have secured a podium finish in the health Olympics)-the sound of poor Manuel being sick woke me up twice on Thursday night. Apparently I slept through the third. Ian didn't come to the islands-he saw a doctor and tried a day in bed in Puno to sort him. Psychologically some folk are a little funked-my inability to help one person contributed to my low spell. However, after a nice little night out in Puno and behaving like an arse, I'm feeling back on track, which means my energy and comedy levels are right back there: so the others are either gonna get cheered up, or I'll get right on their tits.

Bolivia
So we left Peru and headed ariound and across Lake Titicaca to reach Bolivia and then La Paz. So far Bolivia is making a good impression and I´ll write more anon, but it seems a lot touristy than the southern part of Peru did. No one´s tried to play music while I eat yet. It wasn´t so kind to Vanessa however, who crossed the border without trouble, but then was nearly arrested crossing the Lake. Bolivia doesn´t like overseas tour guides operating in their territory, they say it´s illegal working, which is a viewpoint of sorts, tho the tourist they are bringing ought to outweigh the perceieved disadvntage. Vanessa and Julio and now back in Peru and Christian has the difficult job of looking after us.

His surname is von John.

I think he´ll do fine.

And a special message to my Pa, who had knee surgery today, get well soon and I want to see you on a golf course in the New Year.

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