niedziela, 18 marca 2007
It is 325 km from Arequipa to Puno, we got there around 2 am. Wake up call at 6 am, continental breakfast :/ and a taxi takes us to the harbor, from where we set off to lying between Peru and Boliwia lake Titicaca. We sail for one of the islands floating on the lake.
On the island our guide tells us about the lake and the islands, helping himself with some funny teaching aids:), gives us some cane and shows solar panels on a nearby... i don't know, something he calls a house. An island like this is usually populated by one family. In case there's a need the islands can be divided, joined and of course moved, so an indian Lego blocks.
The guide says nothing about guinea pigs, a breeding of which i discover by one of the „households”... Their quantity definitely tells the destination of those pigs, but do not tell it to your kids.
On a subsequent island Szczepan solemnly passes to a local kid pens, as our input in his education, to our surprise the kid shows no happiness and in a while uses the pen in a way totally not fitting a pen's normal usage... Some sadist wrote somewhere in a guide that those children need school accessories, then someone else repeated it and now tourists from all over the world bring those children crayons and pens. What's more, one can buy them in harbor, because the traders probably think a tourist cannot live on the islands for two days without pencils. Later these kids look at as surprised...
What is it with those pens? You could give a sole, or a dollar, after all one cannot eat a crayon...
On this island, there probably was the commercial part of the lake, there was a restaurant, a supermarket, the island can also pride itself on its own website!
Later we cruise three hours to an island, where we will spend the night. We cruise and cruise... slowly... boredom... nothings happening, like in a polish movie, only one cannot leave! Gladly all things come to an end and finally we reach the destination. In the harbor we are greeted by a pack of woman, one of which house the four of us for the night. We get a chamber on the second floor, inside four beds occupying fully the room, which is not more than 190cm high. Our host serves us dinner, in my opinion the food is awful, the boys claim differently, however as I look now on their looks I have serious doubts concerning honesty of those declarations!
After dinner we go sightseeing, not always the view is pleasurable, a few kids accost me again for money, I buy them lollipops. All houses built from clay bricks dried in the sun, I am a bit surprised, when in one of such not-too-good-looking houses I see a very solid, good quality oaken door! Some of those houses have corrugated sheets instead of doors! And here perfectly fitted, sensational door! I was in such a shock that in amusement I failed to make a photo, unfortunately...
In the evening there was a party; by a kerosene lamp a group of youngsters pretended they can play, and the host pretended that dancing with us is any fun for her... pretended poorly, because she was chewing a gum in a boorish manner... Summing up the day: tourists everywhere (probably there are more of us than locals), three hours looking at the water and listening to the engine is too much, awful food, host not nice and ill-bred, children begging on the street... But those views... it has to be admitted that those views compensate for all!
In the morning I make a photo of a electoral poster, my attention is drawn by the pictures in the bottom, I don't know if I am figuiring out correctly, however this looks like agitation for the illiterate through picture-language... only what does a crossed broom mean? A voting postulate for woman not to sweep? Should anyone know, please explain.
Anyhow after breakfast as awful as yesterdays dinner and supper we set off bidden farewell by thinned farewell committee.
On our way back lies , the last island we visit. There's a signpost on the island, I do not have a protractor, but a glance at the arrows and a few calculations in my mind tell me to doubt its reliability. Apart from that the island is similar to others, here also one can buy a coke and a snickers, the children look equally poor and as elsewhere try to beg, or sell i.e. braided bracelets.
On the island we visited a school in which two embarassed girls finally got persuaded by the teacher to sing a song for the tourists.
Titicaca lies in northern part of Altiplano basin (area between east and west Andes range) and it is the largest high mountain lake on Earth. Situated at 3821 m above sea level, is over 230 km long and 97 km wide, at the deepest point there's 304 m between the surface and the bottom (the level of the lake can change seasonly by 5 meters). There are 41 islands on the lake, some of which are inhabited. The Incas believe it was here, on an island that Viracocha and the first Incas were born: Manco Capac and his sister and wife Mama Ocllo, and the Sun itself – Inti.
We end our march through the island with a dinner and our guide's last lecture, who tells us about the local Indians customs. We learn that the young here, before marriage MUST live together for 6 months or 2 years. If they fail to get along than automatically they divorce, if they get a baby they marry automatically:). Wives wear small pompons, nubile girls big pompons, to get the attention of the future husband:). Depending on whether on the right side she has a black or a white pompon the boys know how to behave. If bright it means that she wants some adventure, if dark, than she i.e. is in a bad mood and it is better to stay away:). In spite of those means of safety woman often miss some teeth, I reckon it is the outcome of fights for a male. Men on the other hand wear caps, which can tell whether he has a wife already, or maybe that he's... an officer of the law:). Oh well, one man`s meat is another man`s poison!
We're going back to Puno... weather changes every minute, most of the time it's beautiful and the sun burns me more than I would wished... but in a while it gets cloudy, the wind starts to blow and one needs to get clothed, and heavy storm clouds are visible in the horizon.
At 8pm a taxi should arrive which will take us for a bus to Cusco, we barely have the time to repack and eat something... For the previous two days i have not eaten to the full, so the sight of a pizza made me particularly happy. Moreover i liked the pizza very much, no wonder, the lady first warmed up the wood-fired oven, later put the dough in for a moment, for it to grow a bit, afterwards formed it and threw inside along with the rest of the ingredients for the final baking.
We spend the night in a bus, which goes madly cutting through the bends and not overusing the brake, compensating it by not saving on gas... tourists bus drive in the dark, so that a sleeping gringo do not feel so tense... even should anyone wake up one prefers to go quickly back to sleep than look death into the eye. Buenas noches.