Lake Monkey Poo

Trip Start Apr 23, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Peru  ,
Monday, July 2, 2012

Glad to eventually make it out of Cuzco, I arrived in Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca, which Katie smartly pointed out is ĻMonkey Pooī in Spanish, but when questioning Alan about this apparently itīs okay because itīs Quechua. So I arrive to the hostel at 5.30am, standing outside in the freezing cold banging on the door praying to God that someone eventually comes since the taxi driverīs left and I appear to be in the rough part of town. After a good 15 minutes a man finally sticks his head out the window and asks something in Spanish, as usual my reply is īSi, Claro!ī and as per most of the time, it works and iīm tucked up in an empty dorm before I can say gracias.

Puno is cold, really cold: I ended up spending most of the day tucked under all the covers iīd pulled of the empty beds to try and keep warm, smoking 50p packets of fags and watching family guy... not the higlight of my trip so far. Anyway, as I go to find someone to ask a question I realise the hostel is completely empty apart from this kid that speaks not a word of English. Itīs dark, cold and iīm alone... I could just imagine Emma in this situation: locked in the bathroom crying.

The reason I braved the talk of rapists and sub zero conditions in Puno was to experience a homestay with a native family on the Islands of Lake Titicaca, īthe highest navigable lake on the worldī according to my passport stamp. First we visited the famous floating Islands, made of some sort of cork-like soil with reed layers on top, only two metres thick and sturdy enough to be home to six families. After being told about the products of the lake and having half-dead fish thrust in my face the Island īPresidentī explained that if the families ever fall out they literally saw the Island in half. From what used to be 45, thereīs now 60 Islands... I wonder how serious the fights have to be to justify that much effort.

The lake itself was one of the most beautiful things iīve seen, the water is the most clear turquoise colour and with the yellow of the Islands itīs just breath-taking. Even after a good 20 hours of Spanish lessons I still have the most basic level imaginable, so I was glad to have the company of a guy from Lima that spoke fluent English on my homestay. It was a great experience, but we didnīt really do much, again it was too cold. Potatoes were a favourite obviously and lunch consisted of a bowl of them... delish, especially without a drink but of course not wanting to be rude i ate every last bit.

Conversation flowing between the guy from Lima and the family, I was glad when they asked how long it took to get to Peru from Scotland, something I could actually answer. Not impressed by the 14 hours they then asked if it was cold when you put your head outside the plane window... I must admit I did laugh a little, just shows the huge differences between our cultures eh? Dinner was much the same with a bit of pasta thrown in there too and by then it was too cold to do anything else. Tucked up in bed with my two pairs of trouser two tops, two jumpers, two pairs of socks and seven blankets I still felt a bit of a chill, no joke...
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