Our border crossing to Peru was as easy as it gets. Off the bus on the Bolivian side get stamped, walk across a bridge to the Peruvian side, get stamped. Back on the bus and away we go. When we got to Puno there was many taxi drivers offering different hostels like we were told. One guy said he’d bring us anywhere for 3 soles (75c). We told him where we were going and he kind of hesitated and said 5 soles. He said ‘you see, up hill’. Everything costs more to go up hill in this part of the world but that’s cause the hills are more mountain like than hills. I don’t think arguing over 50c was really worth it either. Our hostel was nice and clean and the workers very friendly. We were tired after our journey so decided to saty in the hostel for the evening and watch some TV and catch up on e-mails.
We booked our tour with our hostel to go and see the lake and the people that live on it. We were then told we would need certain things so we went into town to the supermarket. Neither one of us
fancied the trek back up the hill so we hoped into one of the local tuk tuks to bring us up. When it came to driving up the hill it could barely do it. It was easily moving lees than 3kmph. We were laughing all the way up but in fairness to the guy he stuck at it to the end even though we had said it was ok and we would get out.
The next morning we were collected at 6:45am to be brought down to the pier to get on our boat. Soon we were on our way and our guide explained everything to us. First we would go and see the people that live on the floating islands. These islands are made of reeds and just float in the middle of the lake. When we stepped onto the island it was like walking on a water bed. The people welcomed us on and shook our hands. We were given a talk about their lives and what they do and explain why they need tourism. They can exchange goods but they need money for medicine and education of their children. They make handicrafts for tourists to buy
which helps them survive. We bought a few small bits and took a spin on their reed boat for a few minutes. Before we left on the boat they women and children sang us three songs and each one was explained. One was for the men so that they would catch fish, another was that they stay safe and the other was just saying goodbye, goodbye. We left that island and took another hour to get to Tequila Island. This is a large island in the middle of the lake with 2000 inhabitants. Here we had to climb to the top to meet the people. Along the way two young kids aged 3 and 5 jumped out in front of me and started saying photo, photo. I took a photo of them and showed it too them. Then they said uno sole. They wanted money for there efforts. I gave them one sole but they then insisted they wanted one sole each. I had been conned! I gave them the money and then they moved onto to try and con a few others.
We walked ¾ way up the hill until we reached a family house where we stopped
to have dinner. On offer was fresh trout or omelette. Michelle had the trout and I had omelette. Before that we had two bowls of vegetable soup each and some bread. While the dinner was being cooked the family did a traditional dance for us. It was all then very touristy but that is how these people survive now. After wards we climbed to the top where the own plaza was. This was full of kids trying to sell little bracelets or charge for photo’s. Two girls persisted on me and Michelle buying something off them. I told them I would in 5 minutes in Spanish. They then started counting 1 minute, 2 minute etc etc. They finally got distracted by other tourists and left us alone. They found us again later and started shouting 5 minutes, 5 minutes. I told them I would buy one each off them if they posed for one photo with Michelle as well. I bargain a hard deal these days! They duly posed and we exchanged the money for the bracelets.
We left the island and got on our boat back to Puno. It took two and a half hours to get back
there and we slept most of the way. When we got back we made dinner for ourselves in the hostel and watched and DVD then afterwards. The next day we would be getting a bus to Arequipa. From here we would do a tour of the Canyon del Colca.
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