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Published: June 21st 2017
Geo: -15.84, -70.05
We were handed over to our new guide at the Bolivian/Peruvian border - the sleepiest, unbusiest border crossing you ever saw. No-one really seemed to care if we came or went! Into a new minibus and off along the shores of Lake Titicaca to Puno with stops along the way to see a church (which was closed) and an Inca 'gateway' - a spiritual as opposed to physical gate - which was in any event about 400 yards away across fields and we weren't getting any closer!
In Puno we reached our hotel (very central, very smart) with a degree of difficulty as half the roads seemed to be closed for a fiesta. But we settled in and went off for dinner at the restaurant our guide had recommended only to find it was on a street where the main fiesta parade was taking place. This was a walking, or should I say dancing, parade so very loud bands all playing what sounded like the same tune were interspersed with different groups of dancers - some more senior ladies in big frocks and bowler hats carrying football rattles, younger ladies wearing quite skimpy outfits, flirtimg with any camera they could
find,young men dressed in a rather athletic fashion who danced in a similarly athletic way ( 20-50 handsome young men kicking, flicking and stamping in unison was quite something!), some dressed as devils (spaniards to you and me) or slaves, angels and devils - a huge variety. Sadly as we pushed our way in it did pour with rain but the whole thiing went on with undiminished enthusiasm. We found seats - the whole thing was taking place in a narrow street with room for about 4 dancers across and two rows of seats either side and people just about managed to squeeze through as they passed along, of course in such a confused space the noise of various bands with trumpets,trombones and huge drums and others with pan pipes was tremendous - and watched and took photos for an hour or so, then went to eat, then came back for another hour (by which time the consumption of alcohol was taking its toll and we saw a fight break out between two members of the same band and another tuba player who couldn't really walk in any line at all) then we retired as we had a 6am start
the next day - but the bands could be heard thundering long into the night.
Our 6am start was to prepare for a boat ride on Lake Titicaca to two islands. First one f the famous floating islands where we were given a talk about how the islands were built and how everything worked. We got to ride in reed boats and buy sundry handicrafts! Then on to the third biggest island on the lake - the one we stayed on before, Island of the Sun, is the biggest.- Taquile where we climbed a hill to a village house for another talk about life on the island then had lunch (very tasty lake trout) following which we climbed to the main square and ambled downhill about 45 minutes to a harbour to board our boat and return to Puno. It was a great walk under a gorgeous blue sky and looking over a spakling blue lake. And you will gather that Peter is much recovered!
In the central square near our hotel the fiesta had moved on and it was now band competition time so we listened to that for a while and, after dinner, saw the last knockings of
the fiesta as the local Puno bands and dancers made their exuberant exit from the Plaza. Then to bed for another 6am start and our bus to Cuzco - the Inca capital.
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