Lake Titicaca [Titirrarra], Puno and dead sheep.

Hola!

Its time for a new update: A lot has happened, both good and bad, but mainly awesome. My salmonella and paracites are GONE, yes! I have renewed faith in my immune system, basically after starting on anti-biotics I felt fine and today I went for my check up and was completely cleared. The diet, however, was a fucking killer. I have never craved real food so much before, being in a supermarket was literally torture – all I could think about was “the forbidden fruits”. The worst part was Thursday, when we all went to a ceviche(raw seafood mariated in chili and lemon) restaurant with our students. Henry and I had to eat plain rice and boiled sweet potato, while having to watch the others devour the most delicoius looking food I have ever seen. Frustration!!!!However, we are coming back to that restaurant to take our revenge some time this week.

Thursday evening, we( Henry, Christine, Sara, Ashley, Irene and I) went to the bus station in Cusco to take the bus to Puno.  We mounted the bus and all was well, until some Peruvians insisted that we were sitting their seats. We discovered horrified, that we had paid for first class seats instead of the regular we had asked for. So we had to move to first class, it might not sound so bad, but we had been tricked into paying double price  when we had specifically asked for regular seats. So yea, after some shouting and swearing, we were on our way. We arrived in Puno next day at 5 in the morning, and went to our lovely hostel, which had a great roof terrace, nice breakfast and rooms. After a bit of sleep, we went out to see  Puno which turned out to be a charming place with lots of tuk-tuks, bikes and of course the great Lake Titicaca. Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world, which basically means that you cant put a boat higher than this (4000 meters). The lake is immense,  like an ocean and the Peru-Bolivian border runs through it.  We walked around Puno for some hours and had lunch at  a restaurant which showed us the standard of service in Puno. Ashely, who is vegetarian, had to send her dish out 3 times because, first they brought soemthing which had ham in it, then soemthing which had chicken, and lñastly the wrong thing. As a waitress, Puno was incredibly painful to be in. The service was sooooo slow, drinks took about 1/2 hour – dinner was a 2 hour affair.  I felt so good at my job, and if anyone from Wagamama reads this: You rock at your job, the people in Puno would last just about 30 seconds! Friday afternoon it was raining heavily so we retreated to the hostel and played cards for hours (I am getting a serious addiction) and then took a walk along the lake and had dinner in town. After dinner, we went to the main square, where traditional dancing and fireworks marked the beginning of the festival: Virgin de la Candelaria, which is the largest folklore festival in Peru. There were bands(78!) and parades all over town, and everybody were dancing the same dance. On our way home, we joined a parade of old women who were dancing. It was awesome, and so much fun. The locals were so astonished, that several people filmed us on their phones etc. Hilarious! just after this, I was standing in a crowd, when and old women past me and she grabbed my hair between her fingers and touched it with wonder – first I froze as a proper Scandinavian with intimacy problems would, but then we just laughed. All in all, great night.

Saturday was actionpacked, we started off at 9 in the mornign with a tour to the Uros floating islands. The Uros are islands in the lake which are made purely of reed and the Uro Indians have been living here for about 500 years. Originally, they  built the islands to escape the Incas, but somehow just stayed there. It is a very turisty experience, but nevertheless amazing, as the islands and boats are beautiful (Pictures will follow shortly). In the afternoon, we went to Puno’s other main attraction: Sillustani. Sillustani is a burial place for the pre- Inca tribes and Incas also. It consists of overground burial towers, overlooking the breathtaking Lake Umayo. The tallest tower, which was built by the Incas had perfectly carved stone, which had holes in the sides of them, so that when they were put together a space was created. The Incas filled the space with earth so that in case of earthquakes the vibrations would be absorbed, the the tower would remain. I am in such awe of these Incas, talk to me about white guilt when you have been to South America. The extent of damage that the conquistadores did is just unimaginable!

After Sillustani, a Quecha farm, naps and dinner. We joined the madness which was going on, on the streets. The city was filled with dance troups, all in costumes dancing about. However, at one point we retreated to a bar where we were subjected to an awful bad. The idea that South americans are good at playing instrumets and singing was turned into an urban legend – especially a cover of ‘Where is the love’ (Black Eyed Peas)  was so terrible that we could not do anything but laugh our arses of. Sunday, we went home after seeing more parades of dancers in the morning. The bus journey was a bit gruelling. Not only did it last 8 and half hours, we were also blessed with a fucking lunatic driver. In the middle of a game of 20 questions(for the professor- we were so bored, haha) we suddenly(had front row seats) saw the bus heading towards a flock of sheep crossing the road, and NOT slowing down. The next thing we heard was bum-bum-bum, the sound of animal bodies being crashed against the bus. We were so shocked, particularly as the driver just kept on going and did not stop until about 10 km after, to clean the bus. Most likely, he waited until we were far enough away so that no one would come after us. It was such disgusting behaviour, not only he had had the chance to slow down, it was a compeltely strainght road, it was also a complete disregard of the poor farmer, to who the loss of 3 sheep is detrimental, it is so much money – both wool and meat. Horrifying! Anyway, we made it to Cusco and today life is back to normal, except for the fact that our host mother told Irene and I that her village was completely destroyed this weekend when massive landslides came down as a consequence of the rain.The situation is still bad, therefore we are doing community work to help the farmers in the Sacred Valley next weekend.  So yes, you cannot say life is boring in Peru.

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