Monday, June 7, 2010

We got to sleep in again, which was nice. We had breakfast at the hotel, and then back at the room packed for the next week. We knew we were not going to be on planes after today, and we were going to be doing lots of trekking at high elevations, so we arranged clothes and accessories accordingly. While packing, we watched Into the Wild - that guy was a nutjob, well-intentioned or not. We checked out, then walked down to Plaza de Armas, then went East to who knows where, saw the Halls of Justice, and finally, a political rally back by the monastery. We were super thirsty (again) and Crystal got a bloody nose because of how dry it was. One sign caught our attention on the walk - some graffiti on a wall stating "No es importante ser importante" ("it's not important to be important").

We went to one of the restaurants on the upper level of the Plaza de Armas, got some water, plus Justin got a lemonade and Crystal got a Coke Zero. Since the streets are really crowded (mostly because they are narrow), it was nice to have no one around. We got a good view of the Plaza de Armas and the mountains off in the distance, plus some peace and quiet. The view is probably even better when there is no smog. During our time in Arequipa, there was lots of haze (not surprising since Arequipa sits in a valley), but the mountains as a backdrop are quite nice irrespective of the smog. This made us think that if/when we move to Hawaii, it'd be nice to have Mauna Kea in sight, with its little bit of snow at the top.

For lunch, we went to the La Trattoria del Monasterio. As with Justin's dinner a couple of nights earlier, it was quite good, with Crystal getting pizza and Justin getting ravioli. We lounged around at hotel for 15-20 minutes, then got picked up for the transfer to the airport. The airport was quite small, with nearly all the flights (85-90%) going to Lima. We were on the one flight not going to Lima, so we had to make sure everyone realized this, lest our bags (and all our warm clothes) end up in Lima. In the waiting area, we were an hour early, meanwhile, the flight boarding as we were sitting there saw 1/4-1/3 of the people board after the call for "final boarding call" - we've never seen anything like it. Most of South America is on "South American Time," but LAN is not, which tends to create problems.

The flight to Juliaca (just north of Puno) was only half an hour, with good views of the Andes along the way. Juliaca was (as the guide books and our own guide said) nothing to look at. It's a big hub for work in Southeast Peru, but there's nothing remotely tourist friendly about it. We drove through it on the way to Puno, and the only items of note were a parade that looked to be for a high school graduation, and a blatant ripoff of Bart Simpson on the sign for a pub. We were in Puno after a bit, and at least Puno has Lake Titicaca on its shores.

We checked in at our hotel (Casa Andina Private Collection) and went upstairs to our room. We had a nice balcony overlooking the lake, and while it was quite cold outside, the view was nice. We had dinner downstairs in the hotel restaurant, then watched some TV and went to sleep.