Last Minute Has Its Advantages

La Raya Travel Blog

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I am in Puno right now, on the shores of Lake Titicaca.  It has been a hectic past few hours.  I got a little sick from some food I purchased at a train stop (at 4300m!) and have a bit of a cough from inhaling the train's exhaust - I spent half the train ride with my head and arms outside the window as there has been so much to see - from simple altiplano life to incredibly crowded rail markets along the way.

After this morning's rush to get onto the train, I thought I would reflect on how being last minute and flexible has its advantages.

I started the morning by visiting a travel agency to book  train ticket.  It was 7:30 a.m.  Unfortunately, she told me there were no trains to Puno until tomorrow.  Instead, I hired a taxi to take me to the bus station, but half way there, I read in my guide book, that there was, in fact a train leaving at 8 a.m. 

I asked the driver to turn around and head to the train station where I was confronted with a mass of people waiting to be served.  Fortunately, one of the Peru Rail staff noticed my situation and got me a last minute ticket.  According to my guide book, the train is often full and needs to be booked in advance.  Still, I got onto the train with 5 minute to spare.  Knowing that I was the last one on, I simply picked an empty table on the left side (to view th scenery), and enjoyed a very comfortable and scenic ride to Puno.

Same situation with my flight.  I boarded last, and got an entire row of seats to myself.

Same with trekking.  I paid $150 for the trek, which is a real deal, considering the entrance fee into Machu Picchu and the rail ticket combined cost $60.  It only makes me wonder what the guides, porters, and cooks are being paid.

The Catch:

Well, the Inti Rami festival was going on in Cuzco yesterday, and there were absolutely no accommodations available when I returned.   I simply had to shack up in a room three of my trekking partners had wisely booked in advance.  Well, the room was really only large enough for three - the beds pretty much took up the entire room and there was a small bit of walking space which I had to pull out my sleeping bag onto.  The walking space, actually, wasn't enough for me to stretch out, so I kind of slept diagonally with my feet under one of the beds.  Oh well.  Better than the streets for sure!




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La Raya