Island tour

Puno Travel Blog

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At around 12 I headed to the bus terminal where I was shown into a private waiting room by an old man who I first treated quite suspiciously when he wanted to see my ticket , and led me out of the general waiting room.  The bus was uneventful and I tried to get as much sleep as I could, and arrived in Puno at 7am.  I grabbed a cab to my hostal and the driver helped me carry my bags to the hostal door, even though he was parked on the other side of the street.  I was just telling myself I should trust people more as I tend to be very cold and suspicious of everyone when this guy robbed me of my change and never came back with my 7 soles he owed me!  What a dick!  I should have followed him back to his car I guess, but had let my guard down.

   7 soles is only about 2.30 USD so I'm not that upset, its just more annoying than anything.  However, as a firm believer in Karma I´m sure something equally as annoying is on the way to him, perhaps a badly stubbed toe, or maybe he´ll eat soup that's too hot and scald the roof of his mouth into a painful blister.  It´ll serve him right!

            As soon as I was in the hostal I jumped into a tour that was just heading off for Uros and Taquile Island.  Here also I was charged more for my tour than others I met later, and he tried to overcharge me for my room by 10 soles but I caught him.

  I am absolutely fed up with the constant overcharging, begging and souvenir pushing, as it really makes you feel like a walking dollar sign rather than a person, and is quite depressing.  However, tis the life of a tourist I guess. 

The Island tour, incidentally, was also chock full of begging children and hidden costs, even more so than the canyon tour.  It was a lovely tour besides that though, my group was all young people and quite a few Irish, whose group I immediately melted into as I always seem to do.  Uros is a fascinating phenomenon, man made with reeds and mud, and an incredible feat of engineering if you think about it:  these people wove an entire island and built their houses on it with just some local reeds.  The boat ride to Taquile was quite long but sunny and pleasant, and we rode on top of the boat admiring the deep blue waters of Lake Titicaca.

  At one stage someone pointed to the sun and we all looked up to see 2 circular rainbows ringing around it.  I had never seen that before, and didn´t even know it existed! It was quite a magical thing to see.  Taquile Island is a “real” island as opposed to a reed one, and it reminded me quite a bit of Sherkin Island in Ireland, instantly causing waves of homesickness.  We wandered around the island only briefly as the boat ride to and fro is so long, and stopped to have lunch of fried fresh trout.  Once in the center square a swarm of girls no older than 5 rushed our group and tied handmade bracelets on our arms, demanding soles for their gifts.  I know its good for their economy, this influx of tourists, but I can´t help feeling saddened by such a blatant display of money grubbing from such a young group of children.  We were soon on the boat back, which I spent most of my time trying to sleep unsuccessfully, as it had clouded over and was too cold for me on top.

Once back at the hostal I was ecstatic to discover I had hot water, so took a scalding shower and milled around my private room (it was more of a hotel than a hostal, as all places in Puno seem to be).  Not feeling up for a meal in any of the cheap chicken places that were overabundant, I opted instead to buy a few empanadas, a banana and some break and had dinner in the comfort of my bed, reading a book. 

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photo by: lrecht