Tuesday, June 8, 2010
We got up early, around 6, for a 6:45 pickup for a 7:00 boat. The sunrise was nice, with bright light, some birds, and also some barking dogs, which reminded us of home.
But we didn't get picked up at 6:45, or even 7:00 for that matter. We got picked up at 7:05, and were raced to the dock. Fortunately it was not an issue, but we didn't know that at the time. We were in a group of 8, but were sharing the boat with another group of 8 that had a different guide. We unfortunately cannot remember our guide's name, but he was quite good. He was half Quechua and half Spanish, and was fluent in both, plus English. Our group had nifty badges too - they stated "Coca Leaf is not a drug," which only made us think of Rick James' skit on Chappelle's Show where he routinely stated "Cocaine is a hell of a drug."
It was a short boat ride to the Uros floating islands- much closer to shore than we expected. There were something like 40 different islands, and a tourist boat going to each of them. Rather than try to explain ourselves how the islands are formed, the videos below are the explanation we got while there.
At the first island we stopped at, we got some local songs, and then (to our horror) we had to sing ourselves, something from our country. Thankfully, someone had the idea to sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, much better than Justin's idea to sing "America, F*ck Yeah" by the South Park folks. We went inside the houses of the locals, then looked at some of the handicrafts they had for sale. We took a reed boat to the next island. On the way, we passed by several islands, which all looked similar (to us at least), but there was one that had shaped its lookout as a fish, so it stood out.
On the second island, we saw some of the same stuff on the first island (this time for a shorter period of time), then headed out to go to Taquille Island. The boat was embarrassingly slow, and it took forever to get to Taquille. On Taquille, we went to a Quechua village, saw some of their local customs, and participated in a local dance.
Justin had the video camera in his pocket, so Crystal didn't have the chance to take any video of him dancing. We had lunch with a great view, Quinoa soup and some local fish (or omelette). Either school let out for lunch, let out for the day, or there were a bunch of school kids just wandering the island, because we saw them everywhere. They were really interested in us, following us around and trying to communicate. They also grabbed at Crystal's backpack a couple times, we think to see if she wanted to play.
We walked along the paths through the countryside, then down several hundred steps to a different dock. The boat ride back took forever. Frankly, what was a whole day trip could have been done in just over half a day, or alternatively we could have wandered around Taquille Island a bit more.
When we got back, we got instructions for the next day regarding our Bolivia trip. We thought about going into "downtown" Puno, but decided just to stay at the hotel, lounging around the bar (even eating dinner there) and then going to sleep.