Nov 122014

Wed. 11/12/14.  Tour us to Puno via Andahuaylillas, Huaro, and Sicuani


Up nice and early and going already this morning, on the Puno/Lake Titicaca trip.  This should be another fun one!  Freddy, World Travel’s driver that stayed at the train station for so long on Monday night waiting for me, was really early this morning.  He got there at a bit after 6:15 and rang the “timbre” or doorbell to wake the whole place up.  I had wakened up nice and early this morning with plenty of time, but ran into a bit of a skid when I cut my hand on the metal bedpost, while I was making the bed, and then wound up in a mess of crazy-glue-like substance (glued my hand to my pajamas and a bunch of tissue) to get the bleeding stopped and band aids on.  Whew!

So when the driver rang the bell this morning, early, I was just walking out of my room for some breakfast veggie quiche that Pilar left me special from last night, but I didn’t even make it into the kitchen. :-(.   So I ate nuts and a big oatmeal cookie with, you guessed it, peanut butter, for breakfast on the bus.  And I have snacks for the road.  :-))))).   Plus, we have WiFi on this bus and it is working better than any Cusco WiFi has worked for me yet! Maybe because of the mountains surrounding Cusco???  Don’t know, but this so much fun getting emails on the road!
We are once again going into the Sacred Valley, where I have spent several days touring and traveling now.  It’s really big with lots of communities connected by the main 2 lane road that runs through them.  Also a bunch of much more isolated communities like the settlement that I stayed at in Huchoy Q’osco that don’t have electricity or any basic services.  And then we will climb up out of the Sacred Valley again to Puno this afternoon.  Apparently Puno is even higher than Cusco, so I may wake up with that low oxygen headache that I had when I first got here.  Oh well….
At 9:00 in the morning, we’ve already made 3 stops:  one for traditional bread in Oropesa, and then the 2 fancy baroque Jesuit churches in Andahuaylillas and Huaro.  Our tour guide is just doing his job, sounds tired, like this is the daily grind for him (compared to all the other tour guides that I have had here).  Oh well, can’t win ’em all.  He was not really into it at the churches, or at the ruins in Raqchi.  But buffet lunch (with soup and plenty of starches) in Sicuani was really good with live Peruvian musicians!  And now we are heading into the Departamento Puno, and out of the Departamento Cusco at 4315 m (I’ll do the math later).  This is the area of Peru called Altaplana or Highlands, and this is where they grow lots of quinoa, and many of the (now the number is up to) 3,000 varieties of potatoes that Peru grows.  The number changes depending on who you talk to.  We just left corn country.  It’s a bit lower for all the different varieties of the “choclo”, large kerneled colored corns that they grow and bake like corn nuts here in Peru.  It is arid dry land with little scrubby shrubbery and large open farming fields, unlike the smaller, greener, family owned, choclo fields in the lower lands.
We stopped one more time at a small Inca museum in Pukara, and then it was a long 2.5 hours to Puno because the tour guide didn’t tell us anything at all during that time.  We went through 2 different big communities, and people were doing something in a big body of water.  I mean they were physically standing in the water near the shores of this body of water, and maybe catching fish?  Or digging for shellfish?  Or maybe just doing laundry.  I have no idea, but I would’ve loved a bit more play by play.  Oh well, this guy really didn’t want a tip anyway, I think.
We arrived in Puno at 5:00 pm straight up, and I was picked up in the bus station right away by a tiny little woman named Ingrid (yes, basically they are all pretty tiny here, next to me), who brought me in a taxi to my hotel, and who will be back tomorrow morning at 7:00 to make sure that I get on the right boat to a couple of islands in the lake.  I went to the Plaza tonight and got myself a little cheese empanada and a big bottle of water and I am set for the night.  Gonna do some spanish drills, email, maybe read a little, and then hit it early.

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