Thu 23 Mar 06

It took me a while to fall asleep last night. Dogs were barking, loud music was thumping from somewhere down the street and what sounded like M80s kept booming every fifteen minutes or so. Woke up to rain again this morning.

We started the day at a leisurely pace. I took a long shower then wandered down to our continental breakfast at about nine. Bread with jelly and Coca tea didn’t fill me up at all though and Weaver wanted to play cards so we headed back to the restaurant where we’d had dinner the previous night and all played Rummy while I ate steak and eggs.

After a couple of hours Mark and I headed back to the hotel (after being unable to find Weaver who disappeared to make a phone call). We sat on the hotel steps in the sun, mostly quietly, occasionally joking.

Eventually Weaver showed up and we grabbed our packs from the hotel and headed back out for lunch as Weaver and Mark were now hungry. Still full from my steak and eggs, I walked around Copacabana while they ate, changed a few dollars, bought a bottle of wine for Mary and a can of Pringles for the day’s bus ride then went back to the restaurant where the other two were just finishing eating.

We found our Pan Americano bus bound for Puno, Peru and were on our way. After a ten minute ride we stopped at the Bolivia/Peru border and cleared immigration where, while waiting in line, I happily overheard this conversation between two Britons:

B1 “I hate waiting in queues.”
B2 “How very un-British of you.”

I thought that was fairly witty and smiled when the girl looked around for affirmation of her cleverness.

Two more hours and we were in Peru. Figuring that it would be the only time in my life that I’d ever be in the area, I spent the ride really trying to soak up and remember the scenery as it zipped by. Watching the water. Watching the boats. Watching the mountains behind the water. Watching a man drop his pants to take a crap on the shore of the lake.

In Puno, we took a five minute cab ride to a boat launch on Lake Titicaca, then a twenty-five minute ride out to the floating reed islands made by indigenous people of the area. Our boat guide was really good, obviously passionate about the islands and, in heavily accented English, really putting a lot of effort into getting his point across. I just wasn’t into the outing though. I had underdressed for the cold and was tired from sitting all day. The islands were pretty neat though spongy and bobbing slightly. I also liked the bird that kept walking around the island, squawking and plucking fish from wooden bowls spread about. Back on the mainland our guide thanked us for visiting and wished us well on our future travels.

We returned to the bus station, ate a cheap chicken dinner (Mark didn’t eat, opting instead to sleep with his forehead on the table), then took an eight hour bus ride from Puno to Cusco, stopping frequently for inspection at police checkpoints or to pick up and drop of passengers.