Puno -23 to 24 July 2015July 24, 2015 in Peru ⋅ 🌧 17 °C
So we decide to take a night bus to Puno...we left at around 1030 at night and arrived in Puno at around 5 am. We both took some sleeping pills, but the bus was so cold that neither one of us were able to get much sleep. We had even paid a little more for the first class section....the ticket costing the equivalent of about $20 American.
So we arrive at 5 am and since Jaime is morally opposed to using the bathroom on the bus...and since we both didn't sleep well...we were fair game for the tour agency that leeched on to us when we got off the bus. Turns out that it worked out really well because there was a day tour of Lake Titicaca that left at 7 am....so we signed up for it and it was a great day, even though we were both exhausted.
We took a boat out of the harbor and visited one of the floating islands. The natives have used the reeds to build floating islands for centuries and we got to walk around on one and even took a tour in a reed boat. We talked with the 'president' of the island for a bit and he explained that about 20 people lived in the island and usually about 4 or 5 families live there. After our chat, we l left for another island.
This other island was natural and we got to hike up to the top and have lunch. We got to walk around that island a bit and learn more about the people and the native plants.
Turns out the lake is the 2nd largest in South America and the 19th largest in the world. It's at a very high altitude so walking up to the top of the island definitely made the lungs burn.
On the return voyage, Jaime and Keith postulated on the likelihood that the people on the floating islands...didn't actually live on the floating islands. These two naturally cynical humans watched the islands where there was so much activity earlier and found a lone human sitting on the island. Also, while there were two boats (with outboard motors) on the island earlier, only one remained. This could have been a guard left behind or the others could have been in the huts...who really knows....
Regardless, Jaime and Keith felt obligated to discuss their theory with the other passengers. The other passengers and tourists were taken aback and couldn't understand why the islanders wouldn't actually live there. When the monetary benefits were broken down for them, they too questioned whether or not the islands were truly still inhabited...
We tried to take naps during the boat ride portions and we're back at the dock around 530 pm. We met a cool Brazilian couple and we talked with them about Brazil and they were the first to mention that there was a strike on the Peru side....it turns out that it wasn't really a strike so much as the smugglers in that part of Peru were tired of the police cracking down on them and they wanted to prove a point. Luckily for us, we were able to buy a bus ticket and left on schedule. We left Puno at around 7 in the morning and headed to La Paz, Bolivia....Read more