Peru Day 11 – Puno

[So technically its Monday and I’m back in Cleveland, but I figured some of you wanted to hear how the story turned out.]

So on Thursday Tim and I got up and found that our bus tickets to Ariquipa were still not there yet but the hotel guy promised they would be there by the afternoon.

They were still trying to sell us on a ‘tour’ of Titicaca and we almost went for it – instead we took the taxi to the dock and charted a boat for the day.  They told us to take pencils or candy with us for the children so I got a pack of pencils.  If I would have known I would have brought more.  So there we are me, Tim, and 3 Peruvians on a 5 hour boat ride on the highest lake on the planet.

Instead of heading to the tourist island they took us deep into the lake and to a very small island that only 5 families lived on.  After about 1.5 hours we found ourselves in water so murky with seaweed that they had to pole the boat.  A small rowboat full of children came out to our boat and then rowed us back to this little floating island.  The island which is really floating reeds was very flimsy and we found ourselves getting wet just walking on it.  I gave out my pencils quickly and Tim and I saw a living hut and a cooking hut.  We gave money to their parents and then after about 15 minutes left the island for the boat.  It was devastatingly poor there and Tim felt really bad that the little kids were rowing us and tried to take over.  He wished he had food to give and not just money.

We went back to our slow boat across the lake and Tim asked them to go a little faster when the boat stalled out for like 15 minutes (which I thought was funny).  We finally came back to the more touristy islands that were selling crafts and had restaurants and even a place to ‘stay’ and have the experience.  To be honest everything was overpriced and nothing they were selling were they actually making.  We did have a nice fish lunch and then headed back.

All and all it was about a 5.5 hour cruise and very nice.

We then headed back to the hotel to find that the travel agent sent us really cheap bus tickets at a later bus and then was nowhere to be contacted.

I was angry (still am) so instead of accepting the late bus we just headed to the bus station and tried to find something sooner.  I found something an hour earlier (that was supposed to get in at midnight) and Tim pawned off our old tickers for 3/4 their value.

The bus was a local and very slow and cramped (and cold) and got in at 1am instead of midnight.

We got a taxi and Tim found a cheap hotel (in fact a hostel) and pretty much passed out at 2am in Arequipa.

[Re-posted from my University Blog & Edited 07/01/2011]