Puno- Doesn’t Float our Boat

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October 17th 2011
Published: October 18th 2011
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Tina Writes

We were expecting prices to shoot up as soon as we entered Peru but were pleasantly surprised when we got a hostel for S40 (£9) per night. I say hostel but this was a lot more like a hotel room. It was decent enough and even had an Ethernet connection to the net, so we had a really good connection. It did get very cold in the room and I had to have a hot shower to heat up before I went to bed. It was the best shower I have had in South America, with actual hot water. It was difficult to get out. There had been some sort of concert and parade going on in the square nearby all day and when the parade passed our hotel it was rather noisy so when I woke up at 2am to hear what sounded like a full blown concert of cheesy electronic music and singing going on, it was like they were in the room with us. Commence Operation Earplugs! We changed rooms the next morning.

The tout that sold us the room also sold us a floating island tour for the next day and our bus to Cusco for the day after that. We decided to do a three hour tour (£5) of the floating islands on Lake Titicaca. We felt we should want to do the 2 day, 1 night tour but we really didn’t, in fact a full day tour seemed too much for us. Sometimes I wonder why we are doing this trip if we don’t want to experience these things to the full but we are quite happy doing as we please. We were picked up at 9am and taken to the port where we got on a boat. We were then taken to the islands. The islands are manmade by the Uros people and there are over 60 separate islands. They are made from the reed that grows in the lake. Originally the Uros people made them to escape the aggressive Incas. The whole island is made from reeds, their houses are made from reeds, their boats are made from reeds and they eat the reed as well. When we arrived at the islands, the water was covered in tourist boats and each island had their people at the edge waving and singing to encourage the boat to stop at their island. We were given a lecture about how the islands came about, how they are built and how they live by our guide. After this one of the islands inhabitants, Anna, took us to her house and showed us around. A tiny house made of reeds, no bigger than 10ft x 6ft. It was surprising to see a CD player and TV on her reed shelf and a solar panel stuck to the roof! She spoke quite good English for someone that lived on a pile of reeds. Anna then took us to her stall and we were ‘forced’ to buy something. We had only brought £20 with us so were limited in what we could buy, she was desperately trying to sell us her tapestry but they were too expensive and not my thing. So we bought a little reed boat and a hanging mobile. I wanted the big mobile for when we have a baby but Rob nearly threw himself in the lake and drowned himself when I suggested this. We then got the chance to ride on the reed boat across to the next island. It looked great fun and as we departed, the ladies of the island sang us a goodbye song. Five of us were squashed on the roof of this boat so when 5 of the islands kids came scrambling up and sat themselves on top of us begging for money I was none too pleased. So the 20 minute boat ride which was meant to be fun was now a pain in the arse. All the kids had slabbers and food all over their faces and hands and they thought it great fun to touch my leg and giggle, for anyone that knows me you will know this is a bit of a nightmare for me. I was glad when the boat arrived. The next island was a bit like their town centre, all the reed huts where shops or cafes and it was covered in tourists. I liked a lot of the stuff for sale but we can’t carry too much so have to resist. It was interesting to see, even if a little fake. The Uros and their islands only seem to be for the benefit of tourism nowadays but you still get to see how it really was. We returned to our hotel happy we had only done the 3 hour trip.

It was lunch time so we headed out for a bite and decided on a set menu. Round these parts the set menu is a popular and cheap choice. It generally consists of a three course meal for under £5 (sometimes as low as £2). I decided to have the alpaca as my main. It tasted a bit like beefy pork, rather good!

Puno is not a pretty town, nothing like Copacabana which I had expected. So we were happy to be moving onto Cusco the next day. We had paid S40 (£9) each for our tickets to Cusco and this put us in the ‘first class’ section on the bus. I thought it meant the seats went all way back creating a bed but they didn’t. The seats were just slightly bigger and leather, plus there are less people than upstairs but I felt it was not worth the extra as we actually had no overhead storage and the front of the bus is cut off from you so no way to see out the window at the front. I am also playing the original Harvest Moon on the netbook and when I reloaded the game and it had not saved correctly, putting me back to where I had started that day, it took me all my power not to go absolutely ballistic and throw it out the bus window, but there you go, I won’t be playing that ANYMORE!!

We arrived in Cusco 7 hours later and again took the first hostel offered to us by the touts, we find it’s cheaper this way and you can haggle a bit. Unfortunately, this hostel is a shithole! But I think we may have been spoiled by the cheapness of Bolivia. Cusco on the other hand looks lovely. So we are here for 4 days before we start the Inca Trail.

Additional photos below
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18th October 2011

Instead of buying a reed mobile for your baby, you could buy a reed baby, much easier.
18th October 2011

Thanks for the memories
We love the reed islands and the people. We were fascinated by the strength and conviction it took for these people to fight the government who tried to tax them. Simply amazing. Loved the architecture of the reed houses. We went in one and there was a little guy watching TV and they had a cell phone.
18th October 2011

Reeds and contraception lol x
Amazing what you can do with a few reeds eh!? And the islands kids made me laugh after your suggestion of a baby Tina - they kids are probably the best form of contraception lol! Stay safe x
19th October 2011

uros tour
crispy narration.how do they cook?
19th October 2011

I'm not sure what a crispy narration is? They use terrocota type pots to cook.
19th October 2011

Man Overboard!!
I suspected Robs' suicidal tendencies might kick-in around the Six Month mark, but Six Weeks is really a bit feeble! Do you think it was the price of the Mobile or the thought of progeny and having to feed their faces? Why should he get away Scot free? Yours Faithfully, Fathers for Revenge.
19th October 2011

Are you now telling us a little baby Rob is on the way,wait till i tell nathan he will have a new cousin when you both get home.lol

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