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Published: February 21st 2012
Uros - Lake Titicaca
One of the floating reed islands
Had breakfast, left our luggage in the hotel store room and the whole group took a rickshaw to Lake Titicaca's shore. Fortunately, it was mainly downhill. We both really hate taking these pedalled powered taxis but they were arranged for us by the guide for the day.We always feel so guilty that the poor person has to pedal two not particularly light people around! We would rather have walked but it was too far.
All piled into a fairly plush boat. It had a toilet on board which is always useful after 4 cups of coffee for breakfast! About an hour out onto the lake. Lake Titicaca is vast and extremely deep in parts. However, the reed islands were in a shallow part. Moored up at one of the smaller islands on which about 6 families lived. We were shown how they cut the reeds and joined them up to make the islands. Once they had made them, they covered them with about 6 metres deep of dry reeds as a base for their buildings, all of which were made of reeds. There was a rather rickety looking viewing platform on each of the islands, all made of reeds. We
Uros - Lake Titicaca
Welcome by people in National Costume
were then shown the handicrafts they made, from mini reed boats to reed mobiles to colourful cloths with stories of their gods embroidered onto them. Clearly, the islands are very much reliant on the tourist trade. We then visited a much larger island which had a restaurant, coffee shop and bank and some of our group took the opportunity to buy a few beers!.
The boat took us back to the quay side at Puno where we had a really nice fish lunch with a half a round of flat grilled cheese on top which was a little like haloumi. After lunch, the truck was waiting for us at the quayside and returned us to the hotel to collect our baggage.
In the afternoon, we drove on for three hours and crossed the border from Peru to Bolivia. There were two border points. The first where we left Peru where we changed our Peruvian soles to Bolivianos. They even changed the coins although subsequently, Ed discovered a few stray coins still in his pockets! The bus drove on about 100 yards through noman's land to the Bolivian entry point. We all had to show our passports at each place. It was all pretty painless really and only took about an hour to cross the border which wasn't long considering there were about 22 of us on the bus of varying nationalities, one of whom required a visa and had to pay $135 entry fee.
Travelled a further 8 kilometres to Copacabana, a small Bolivian town hugging the hillside on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Lugged our bags up 4 floors to a room with nice view overlooking the lake. The shower was cold!!
We had originally thought that Carnival only took place in Rio de Janeiro. However, Carnival happens all over South America and everyone is very jolly with lots of streamers and crazy foam and there are balloons hanging from every building, no matter how delapidated and firecrackers being let off on every street.
As it is Carnival, the group felt it a good excuse for a party and we had a group dinner at a not very nice restaurant in town with traditional Bolivian food selected the previous day and ordered in advance. Prior to dinner, Frenchie and Dave made this alcoholic concoction of some sort of cactus alcohol, sprite, coca leaves and goodness knows what else which we drank out of the truck's tin cups on the lake's beach. It wasn't our cup of tea but most of the group were happy to get merry on it.
Went to the restaurant for a very, very late dinner which was served at 10.15 pm. Some of the group dressed up in fancy dress and drank well into the night and morning whereas we are fuddy-duddies and disappeared at 11.00 pm for our beds!
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