Travel Journal

Buenas Noches Peru......

(Sunday 27 September 2015) by Karen O'Shea
On Monday the 21st we travelled from Cuzco to Puno. A 7 hour bus journey, Sounds bad?, but not really. :-) The bus had decent recliner seats, foot rests, toilet and a dvd player. What more would you want?:-) I got to see a lot of the countryside, especially small villages which seemed to be living in the past. Time really hasn't caught up with some villages. The only bit of "modern" was some brightly coloured graffiti on houses promoting a presidential candidate for next year's election. (couldn't see that catching on a home...could you imagine;-);-) We stayed in Puno that night; I got to admit this altitude can really knock the socks off me.:-(

On Tuesday we set sail around Lake Titicaca. It covers 8400sq km and sits 3808 meters above sea level. It is considered the world's largest high altitude lake. Its 160 km long and 90 wide. It is shared between Peru and Bolivia and the local joke is each country says the other can have the "titi" bit.:-p

We first stopped to see the Uros islander's. They live on floating islands, all man made from reeds. What a way of life they have. Everything on the islands are made from these reeds. There are a total of 90 floating islands, each with a family on them. Each island has a president, who then votes for a mayor over all the islands.

It really was amazing to see.:-) All the ladies dressed really colourful. It was good to know that there were 3 primary, 1 secondary school and a doctor on these islands. But I couldn't help think I would get cabin fever living here. Where would I go for a walk? Or where do the kids play ball?:-?

Even their boats are made from reeds. As we were leaving the ladies sang for us. Firstly in their native Quencha, than Spanish and finally English. The English song was twinkle twinkle little star. How sweet.:-) As we were sailing away and waving goodbye they shouted Hasta la Vista baby. This made me laugh so much.:-):-)

Our next island was Amantani where we would stay overnight with a family. The island has over 2000 inhabitants. No cars. No motorbikes. No police as they are not needed. these folk live by three rules..Do not steal...Do not lie and Do not be lazy......Simple as that:-):-)

Its got a real community vibe to it. The locals can leave their doors open and walk through the neighbours yard to get somewhere, no bother.

Our momma for the stay was Gladys, I was expecting a more unpronounceable name! :-)She was lovely, god she was tiny. I actually felt tall next to her. Infact I was so tall I had to duck my head going in the door of her house.:-):-) Who knew i was tall...:-)

She put on some lovely meals for us in the tiniest and more basic of kitchen
I climbed up to the highest point on the island called pachapapa meaning popa earth. This was 4117 meters above sea level...........enough with this altitude.:-(

But the sunset was worth it. It was quite an eerie sunset as it was partially clouded over by a thunderstorm. But there was something beautiful and surreal about it.:-)

Later on that night we went to the local "discoteck". Our mommas had put on a special party in our honour. We got to dress up in traditional dress. Momma pulled my belt so tight I felt partially mummified!:-p

It really was an amazing fun experience. The band were brilliant, six guys playing acoustic guitars and pipes. They even danced around the hall. The mommas wouldn't let us sit down at all. Between all the dancing, the altitude and the bloody oxygen levels would never be the same again!!. :-)

We also brought gifts to our mommas from the mainland. It was the first time I ever landed at a party with a kg of beans, kg of lentils and a jar of Nescafe!!..:-p:-p

The following day we went to Taquile Island where the men stand around knitting and the ladies work the fields. We kind of by chance gate crashed a wedding celebration. For a wedding the whole community gets involved and it lasts 7 days.

Over all the folks on all the islands seem to be happy and content. The folks on the two big islands seem to be comfortable. Not comfortable in comparison to us, but nobody looks under nourished and even the school kids had mobiles and nike trainers.

I am leaving Peru now and I can say I thoroughly enjoyed it. I wasn't too sure what to expect, but I guess I expected nothing so wasn't disappointed. It is a wonderful country, so diverse. I do think the poorer ladies here work really hard, whether out in the fields or in the cities doing manual labour on construction site. The country folk do look a lot older then their years. Unemployment is so high here, they can't even measure it anymore. What I do admire about the poor people is they don't beg, instead they will sell you something. Another thing they got right is that they fine any citizen who doesn't bother to go out and vote. I think this is a brilliant idea....

So as the islanders said....

Hasta la vista baby....

k x

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