The islands - day 2

Puno Travel Blog

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Fond farewells

Breakfast was a type of fried home made bread (sort of like vetkoek for the South Africans) which we had with jam and mate.

 

The previous night, at the fiesta, we had found out from one of the poms that they had been told that they should bring a gift for the family of some fruit, veg or canned goods. Nice that our agency had neglected to inform us of this. Seems like only some of the people were told, depending on the agency they went through. So feeling a bit sheepish at not having anything, we wanted to make sure that we at least bought some of the things which they made. We ended up buying the silly hats as well as the long shawl. Ultimately not a lot of money for us, but they were clearly happy. I am sure if we had hunted we would have been able to find the stuff cheaper, but that is not the point.

 

The boat left at 8 for the 1 hour trip to Taquille (pronounced “Tah-key-leh”, as in “because he wanted tah-key-leh), which is not named after tequila, but actually after the Spaniard who discovered the island (with people living on it).

Chilling in Taquille

 

Taquille is an interesting one as it is run as a socialist/communist society. All of the 2,500 inhabitants work for the same cause. All items on the island, be it a scarf or a finger puppet, are sold for the same price which is set by the governing body of the island. As a result there is no discounting or bargaining on the island. They may be communist, but they have not missed out on capitalism either. They clearly understand the benefits of tourism and are making a lot of money from it. Some other quirks:

·        There are 23 restaurants, all of which serve exactly the same food (clearly at the same price). A 2 course meal of soup (not as good as P’s) and fried trout, finishing with mate, will set you back a whole 10 Soles. About £1.50.

·        The children, particularly the girls, speak in a whisper.

Lookout from Taquille

·        The women will typically not speak to outsiders, unless they are working in a shop or restaurant.

·        The people speak Quechua. Very few speak Spanish.

·        All the men dress exactly the same apart from the 12 men who form the governing body for the year – they wear a black hat.

Despite all of this, it just felt a bit too commercial and Amantani was a much more special place to us.

Trying to fix the smelly boat

 

A further 3 hours by boat later, we were back in Puno and took a wander around to get some admin done (booking the bus to Cusco, internet etc) before heading back to Giorgio’s restaurant that we had been to before.

 

Again we were suitably impressed. I had the rack of lamb served on quinua (grain) cooked in milk and Kat had sesame crusted chicken breasts on mashed potatoes, both coming with a sprinkling of finely chopped stir fried veg. Both again were superbly presented and delicious. The most impressive thing for me was that they did not try and give us too much. A lot of the restaurants that we have been to in South America have gone for the quantity over quality approach. This size was just right and tempted us into having dessert – a rarity for me. Kat had a mix of ice cream with praline and I had a subtle chilli infused cheese cake – awesome. Damn, why are we leaving for Cusco tomorrow – I want to eat here again. This was the best meal we have had in South America that I can recall. To add to this, the main courses were around 20 Soles (£3) and the desserts 12 (£2). In London this would have been £15 and £8 at least.

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Fond farewells
Fond farewells
Chilling in Taquille
Chilling in Taquille
Lookout from Taquille
Lookout from Taquille
Trying to fix the smelly boat
Trying to fix the smelly boat
Puno
photo by: lrecht