There's An Elephant On My Bed


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South America » Peru
March 10th 2016
Published: March 11th 2016
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We all had our best nights sleep so far because it was much cooler in Arequipa. An early breakfast at the hotel before taking a taxi to the station for our bus to Puno. I managed to squirrel away some buttered rolls for the journey as it takes 6 1/2 hours. Hat demolished most of the strawberry yoghurt at the breakfast bar, 'it's sooo good, deee-licious'.
We'd decided to mix up our bus seat-mate arrangement, so it was Cas and Ed together and Hat and I on the other side of the aisle.
The bus steadily wound its way up and up through the mountains and the terrain changed in stages. Dry sand and rock with cacti that looked just like the one that Steve has in his sitting room. These gave way too ridged cacti with huge spines. At about 12,000ft the cactus went and were replaced by little bushes as the land became greener in the colder air. The highest point on the pass was over 14,000ft and we could all feel it as our breathing was a bit more laboured than usual. Vicugnas roam wild on the top of these mountain plains; they are the ancestors of Alpacas. Hattie commented that these high plains looked like the scenery on the way to Appleby.
We arrived in Puno about 15.00. It took quite a while to get the bags off the bus so Hat and I started our very own 'strictly come dancing in the car park'. A short taxi into the centre to dump our bags in our hotel room. Ed was very hungry so we went straight out and had a great meal on the main plaza. Cas ordered Alpaca which was very tasty. I've been drinking the local soft drink called 'chicha morada' which is dark purple. It's made with purple corn, pineapple scraps, apples, cloves, cinnamon. It's very nice but if you try and describe the flavour you'd throw your arms up in defeat as it's not like anything else.
The high altitude got me in the restaurant and I started to feel a bit dizzy, so Hat and I headed back to the hotel whilst Ed and Cas went in search of bananas. At sea level the oxygen is at 21% and in Puno it drops to a miserly 13%.
Our room has four beds in it, a bit like a dorm, and I suppose that they get groups of travellers staying together. The kids were most impressed that the three towels on each bed had been folded, origami style, into elephants, complete with trunks and ears. Ed decided to use his as a stand for his cowboy hat...that's a lot of mixed up stereotypes going on.
There's a strange smell in the room. I think it's like bit like the dope we used on model planes when we were kids, but Hat's description was 'it's like old donuts, but in a good way'. Neither Cas nor Ed can smell a thing. Curious?

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11th March 2016

Funny smell!
Nice to see your settling in to your high altitude adventure, not sure about eating alpaca, though.Interesting smell in the bedroom(could be cellulose nitrate-my bedroom always smelt of it when I made model aeroplanes. Mom is keen to see lots of animals made out of towels.Look forward to your next blog.

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