Cusco to Puno via the former Luxury bus!

Trip Start May 18, 2012
Trip End Jul 30, 2012

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What I did
puno high street, bus station, flip flops, terrible film, tourist ninjas, tourist sniper suicide squad,

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Friday, June 1, 2012

With a kiss and a cuddle from our lovely former guru Eduardo (is he honest?) we left the Inca belly button known as Cusco and with Arndt in tow we headed straight for Puno on the overnight former luxury bus. Hostal cost saved, penny pinching in full effect, Cusco job done, the mission? ... to visit Amantani on lake Titticaca via Puno on the way to concour the Isle Del Sol on lake Titticaca just over the Bolivian border.

JP instantly took the knock via the worst blagg copy of Avengers Assemble which was playing on our former luxury TV screen. Despite the cold and lack of blankets we arrived in Puno in good time to be picked up by Edaurdos friend (is he honest?) who was, coincidentily, also a travel guide and guru. In return for paying for the free taxi (boom, and your back in the room!) he generously gave us shelter and a non agressive 5 minute sales pitch  whilst we waited for our next pickup to take us to the boat. We played the tourist game in return for leaving our heavy packs with him in safe storage, he had the hope of a sale and we had the hope of living through a day and night without looking like overweight tortoises. A nice guy really and we appreciated the effort!

So, 5hrs on a former luxury bus, 2 hrs wait in Eds best mates front room, 3 hrs on a not so former luxury boat (that could go down like the Titanic at any minute) and armed with the promise of staying with a local family in a traditional setting, its adios Cusco and ola Amantani - the national training camp for tourist ninjas specialising in snipers and traditional dress camouflage.

Just like the classic scene that dominates every school memory we arrived onshore and lined up in full view of the local famillies hoping not to be picked last. Sure enough we were! However, after a little swapping and changing by the angry capitan (a man so weathered he was unable to express any emotion other than extreme anger, a true Tarrantino go to man) Mamma Clara took us all the way home to meet her little ninjas, Vicky (charm squadron), Olivia (catering corpse) and baby Catolina (heart strings section).

Fascinated by what we were experiencing... farms, hand built farm houses using wattle and dorf, sheep, cowes, pigs, traditional dress, more mountains and exceptionally beautiful vistas our senses were being overloaded from every direction to the point were we could not crouch to pass through doorways. So with sore heads and several bumps we were dazed into the farmhouse kitchen to meet not only the family but also our partners in tourism Anna and orlando and perform our role within the Hispanic inquisition and sales pitch of hats, little hats, mittens, hats and hats, all of which had allegedly been home made but resembled every souvineer we had seen so far in every tourist trap in every place we had been. The only difference?... these guys had knitting needles and a baby! ... An elite unit - VERY CLEVER!

First test over we were ushered to the main square in a scene akin to any western round em up and then hearded with al other tourists in full view of the locals toward the only possible place any tourist ninja could expertly befuddle a tourist... the ruins on the hill during sunset. It was at this point we noticed the guns and smoke signals go off behind us. Completely unawares of what it meant we then witnessed what can only be described as rocket proppelled tourist ninjas racing up the mountainside in what turned out to be a descerned effort to get to their sniper placements before the tourists got too far up the hill via the traditional method of a path otherwise known as snipers alley!

In an incredible scene, at the b of the bang they were gone weathered and young alike (not easily distinguishable to the untrained eye but size and shape can sometimes be a give away) going for it, proppelling themselves towards their assigned positions with the orders to remove money from the walking tourist ATMs at all costs. Via carefully positioned blankets ad aimed charm these guys fought a tremendous battle using every weapon they had at their disposal including beads, necklaces, hats, more hats, gloves, trinkets of no dissernable worth, hats, more hats, jumpers, cardis, more hats, ornaments, needles and beer! Unfortunatley, dazed and confused by the sunset some of our boys did succumb to the charms of these warriors, mostly through the offerings of beer and braceletts but yours truly did not faulter. We rallied and fought the good fight. Despite the offers of "one photo one photo" we did not faulter and T even took a free horse ride at no cost other than the embarrasment of saying no when asked for money on disembarking!

Bouyed by our success we rallied and so after eating our evening meal we took on the ninja tourist snipers for one last battle at the local hall. Dressed in traditional attire, photoŽd up and refreshed via the local tipple, dancing and cries of drink beer nearly broke us but with skills akin to ninjas we managed to slip away into the night and survived to fight another day! May Mamma Pacha bless you Amantani!!!! You put up a brave fight!

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arndt on

we fought the snipers - and we won!! yeah!

jpandt on

we truly did sir!!!!!!

then we took Puno by its cocktails!!

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