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Puno, Lake Titicaca and La Paz

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Well in the last 4 days I have seen so much that I thought I needed to type out another E Mail.

My last night in Cusco saw most of our group go out for dinner at an Irish Pub of which the meals were really good. After dinner we had a few drinks and then moved on to a disco kind of place. We were getting vodka and lemonade's for 2 for 8 soles which is like under 2 bucks each so we all had quite a few of them. One of the girls in the Group Jane had her mobile phone stolen so we ended up at the police station lodging a report at like 3am. They told us to come back the next day so as we were leaving at 8 we had to wait until we got to Puno.

As we all didnt get back to the hotel until 4am, I was quite sore and sorry for myself at the 7am wake up call and slept pretty much the whole way to Puno. We got in around lunch time and I had the best room with a double bed and cable tv, 90 odd channels so I again spent most of the afternoon and night asleep and watching TV. Big nights are no good hehehehe. Some people would disagree with my but I found Puno to be a CRAP hole of a joint. Jane was telling me when she went to the policewith out guide Mario to lodge the report, there was an American woman there also lodging a report that she had been chloroformed and had her money stolen.

Anyway, seen as though we had a massive night the night before I just took it easy and caught up on sleep.

The next morning we were up at 8am and on a boat to look around Lake Titicaca. As the weather was not the best, we didnt stop at the Uros Islands which are the ones you may be familiar with as reed islands with reed huts etc. Instead we stayed on the boat for 3 hours and made our way to where we would be home staying that night which was on Isla Amantani.

Once on the island we hiked up to where the village was and were introduced to our host family. Let me say that most of us were surprised because we all had assumed that we would be staying on a reed island but Amantani is a solid island with the Adobe mud brick homes. Still it was such an interesting experience and right up there in my highlights of the trip to date. I ended up staying with an elderly couple and there was three of us staying there. Amrick a bloke who lives on Sassas Avenue which is like one street away from mine in Bayswater and Adrian who lives in Vermont. Its kind of funny because there is like 8 of us from Vic in the group.

Anyway we had arrived at lunch time so our host family cooked us up a quite nice lunch of soup and a kind of stew. All vegetarian, they mostly only eat vegetarian and chicken on special occasions. I would have thought that they would eat a lot of fish but apparently the fish is not the best in the Lake ??????? Not sure how true that is but I know that the one time we were offered fish it was tuna from a can.

After lunch we played a game of soccer,I mainly was lazy and took photos but our guys had their butts cained by another Geckos group who were mainly english football nuts. One guy got like 5 goals and he played 85% of the time in defence. I could just imagine how we would have gone if he decided to go crazy and bag 10 goals by staying up forward.

By dinner time I was not really hungry after such a big lunch so just stuck to the soup while Amrick and Adrian ate the chicken as well. After dinner the family's hosting the 3 geckos groups on the island put a party on for us where we all dressed in traditional robes and beanies. The woman had to go the whole hog and wear the dresses,bands and funny tops but it looked fantastic. My host mum made me dance for like 15 mins, I was buggered by the end of it as the altitude here really knocks you about so it was quite embarrassing sitting down out of breath while she then moved on to Amrick for a dance. The part ended at 9pm and we were all in bed early.

The next morning saw us up at 7am where we had pancakes for breaky, I was in heaven and ate 2. Probably not the best idea though because then I had to go to the toilet and I had already done that the night before. Let me say people, I will never again take for granted a toilet or running water. Having to getup atlike1am to go and then have to get water to pour in the top to then flush and then get another bowl worth to wash your hands in freezing water is not the best experience I have had to encounter in my trip but still, it makes you appreciate those things of which we all simply take for granted.

After breakfast we all made our way onto the boat for our trip back to Puno. Lucky for us the weather this morning was fantastic so about 2 and a half hours into the trip back we stopped at 2 of the Uros Islands and got to look at the reed huts and how the Uros Indian people live. It was nothing like I expected. I thougt it would be bundles of reeds woven together but they just wack them down anywhere and in no order its like a gigantic game of pick up sticks and your walking right on it.

What was really fun about this is that they let us take one of their boats out to a different island and we all had a go at rowing. Let me say that these boats are totally awesome. Just to think, it take them about 3 weeks to gather enough reeds and then 2 to 3 weeks to build, so all up its over a month of preparation and then they only last 8 months.

One really nice thing is that the Peruvian prime minister gave each Uros house hold a single solar panel, so there they are living so remote and each hut has like a working light and also a real small tv. I thought that was kind of funny.

After our visit to the Uros Islands we made our way back to Puno. Craig, Sally, Jane and me spent a bit of time shopping and trying to find a small screw for Sally´s camera, ends up its stuffed so I said ill burn them disks of all my pics from Lake Titicaca to Buenos Aires.

We all went out for dinner that night as it was our last night in Peru and also a farewell to our guide Mario. It was a good meal and afterwards I had an early night and watched Mr and Mrs Smith on Cable TV. Some of the guys went out but I have already been through a long bus trip hungover and it aint a pleasant experience.

We were up at 7am the next day and were on a bus to cross into Bolivia. Immigration was hassle free because I had filled out my papers correct. One kind of funny thing did happen though, a girl from the other geckos tour was in line in front of me and overheard one of the immigration guys say ¨GEE they sure make the woman nice in Australia and then his mate replied, YEAH they have nice tits. He then looked up and asked her if she spoke Spanish of which she lied and said No. Just goes to show, watch what you say in front of a tourist, some times they can understand you.Its kind of like when we went out for dinner last night here in La Paz, Mike and over heard a local say to his mate, ITS LIKE GRINGO CITY HERE THESE DAYS. We both thought it was kind of funny.

Anyway about an hour past Immigration, we arrived in Copacabana and had lunch there with our new tour guide Raphael and let me say he is the bomb, Mario would disappear for like half a day at a time and on free days just leave you to fend for yourself but I have only known Raphael for a day and a half now and he has gone over and above what id expect of my tour guide. Anyway getting back on track, we had lunch in Copacabana of which I had a ham and cheese roll and then walked around town for about 45 mins and then got onto the next bus which took us onwards towards La Paz. About 2 hours into this trip we had to cross a river in this boat and they had barge like boats for the bus. It was kind of a weird crossing but all exciting because we were all now in a new country with plenty more adventures ahead. On the other side of the river there was this massive festival on so we looked at this for a bit then got back on the bus once it had crossed the river. I think the festival had something to do with it being the weekend coinciding with Day of the Dead which in South Americans a day the people get together and celebrate the lives of their lost loved ones.

At 6.30pm we finally arrived in La Paz and then we all went out for dinner and a couple of quite drinks. We were in bed early then I got up at 6.30am and Raphael took me to a place where I could call home for like 75c´s a min which is like 5 cents or something. It was good because I had not spoken to anyone from home since my 1st day in Lima so I got to speak to my mum and dad for a bit.

Anyway about 3 quarters of our group did the death ride today and the rest of us went out and looked at the Witches market and the Black market and went to the Coca museum, Raphael went out of his way to show us around. I bought a Swiss watch for like 70 Bolivianos which is like 10 bucks back home, stoked, I can now tell the time.

Anyway after that we had lunch and then bought a cake for one of the girls as its her birthday today so we are all going to wear these party hats and celebrate tonight with drinks.

Anyway this is longer than my year 12 cat for English so im leaving it here for now. Tomorrow is a La Paz city tour then at 7pm we are on an overnight bus to Sucre.

Cya guys, reply and say hi if your bored.

Glen

Posted by gasheppard 14:54 Archived in Bolivia

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