Puno and Lake Titicaca (fnar!)

Puno Travel Blog

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Islas Flotantes

A lot of people had said that Puno was rubbish, and a few even called it Poo-yes as apparently the food hygiene leaves something to be desired.

Either way it was halfway between Arequipa and Cusco and the logical place to stay to view Lake Titicaca’s (fnrrt!) magnificent delights.

I booked into ‘The Point’ hostel, and was a bit down to find that I was pretty much the only person there. I was due a free beer as I had my bracelet from ‘The Point’ in Arequipa, so decided to head up to the bar for a quick nightcap.

It turned out that the barmaid had invited five of her mates into the bar and I somehow got drawn into drinking with them.

Amato Island
The rest of the night was a mix of positive shouts of ‘Yay, Reeechard’ when playing pool, sad ‘Oh, Reeeechard’s when playing fussball particularly badly, playing Jenga and strange card games in broken Spanish. I had a good night, got absolutely twatted and suspiciously ended up with only one beer on my tab.

I woke up feeling like a Llama had trampled my head and, for good measure, pooped in my mouth. It was also ten minutes before I was due to be picked up for the island tour.

The tour started with a visit to la Islas Flotantes, or the floating handicraft shops of Lake Titicaca. It was interesting to see the islands, but after a quick demonstration of how the islands were built the locals went on to explain about how they made lovely handicrafts and sold them to survive.

Tubby lass sorting out an indigenous wedgie

The islanders then invited people to look in their homes. Each home had a bed in it, but it was a good opportunity to explain how selling handicrafts means they can feed their children - cue kids running in carrying handicraft items. The final stage was to see all their handicrafts, and ideally buy some.

I didn’t bother as I had no need of handicrafts (for ‘handicrafts‘ read ‘relatively expensive wool-based tat‘). Now if they had food I would have been interested…

We then went back in the boat and on to Amanto - the not-floating island. Here we met our host families, who took us to their electricity shy homes for food.

It was half past two and I hadn’t eaten all day, so the food was amazing. In other circumstances it may not have been.

Isla Taquila
The quinola soup for a starter was good, just the main course was a bit bleak: A pile of boiled rice, some boiled potatoes and a small square of grilled cheese. Thyme tea was the accompanying drink to provide some much needed moisture.

It turned out every person’s family had provided exactly the same meal, to avoid any upsets.

There followed a hike to the top of the volcano on the island, tea (quinola soup, then rice and vegetables) and then the families dressed us for the ethnic disco. Women wore intricate skirts, men a wooly hat and a poncho. Then it was down to the village hall for pan-pipe based tunes, swinging around in circles style dancing and a couple of beers. Perutastic.

The final day started with a big dry pancake, then onto the boat to the Isla Taquila. This is quite a nice island, different because the men knit little wooly hats that they wear to indicate their status; red is married, white is single, white with a fold in, ‘I’m technically single, but I titted-up Rosario last week and we’re kinda seeing each other, though I’m not updating my face book status yet or anything.

The first Inca

Again a walk to the top - lunch was trout (meat - eventually!) and I even caved in to the constant wool-selling and bought a woven friendship band from one of the little plump girls that wandered round the marketplace waving trinkets and whispering ‘uno sole…’.

I got back to Puno and returned to the same hostel. Hit and miss. This night there was no-one there but me.

So I booked my ticket for Cusco, 40 soles on Tourperu for a seven hour journey…

vila says:
Richie, I love your blog! So refreshing! You got me hooked.
Posted on: Aug 03, 2011
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Islas Flotantes
Islas Flotantes
Amato Island
Amato Island
Tubby lass sorting out an indigeno…
Tubby lass sorting out an indigen…
Isla Taquila
Isla Taquila
The first Inca
The first Inca
Puno
photo by: lrecht