Arequipa to Puno, Peru 18 - 19 Jan 2006

Save the Yavari steamer!


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Our first surprise of the day was at the bus station where we were told that the Royal Class bus we had booked seats on would be replaced by a slightly less luxurious one. However, we were told, it would be about the same standard so `No hay problema`... It turned out that the bus was less adapted to the altitude than we were and had to keep stopping on its way up the mountainside. Gusts of steam spewed out of the back of the bus, caused by the overheating of the engine. Inside the bus, there was condensation on the windows and we worried that we would die of carbon monoxide poisoning! The other worry was that the bus would finally give up the ghost and we would get stuck somewhere on a cold, snowy mountain pass at 5000 m.
Finally, after 7 hours (not 5 as we had been told), the bus arrived in Puno (3800 m). This was the rainy season and, sure enough, it was pouring. We booked in to the pleasant – and warm – Hostal Hacienda where they gave us a good low-season discount. Then we dined at the Incabar where the dishes were most creative. Flemming ate alpaca with whisky while I enjoyed chicken with papaya and ginger.
19 January The day dawned bright and sunny, perfect for our morning boat ride on Lake Titicaca. Since time was limited, we hired a boatman to take us to the nearby Islas Flotantes made of reeds where the Uros people now make a living from tourists and fishing (in that order). Whether these people still actually sleep on the islands is doubtful, but at least we got to talk to some of them and learnt how they used to live. Our young guide, Edi, told us they not only used the reed (or chullo) for building islands and boats but would eat the core of it. He then took us for a short ride on a reed and balsa boat.

Leaving Puno for the floating islands

Arriving at the first Uros floating island

Reed or Chullo: They eat it, make boats from it, make islands from it

We went for a short ride aboard a reed boat

Arriving at the next Uros island, where this young girl sold us her paintings

Edi and his friend took us for a ride....

JAlbum 6.2 Copyright: Angela & Flemming PEDERSEN