Cusco to Puno via the former Luxury bus!
Trip Start May 18, 2012
14Trip End Jul 30, 2012
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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
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..
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!