The days we spoke pig latin.
01.10.2008 - 03.10.2008
I place this blog in the category of luxury travel... with intense sarcasm.
On the 1st of October, we left Cusco and Torre Dorada (with great reluctance), to head to Puno. We chose to spend the extra money and ride the Andean Explorer train instead of the bus, and boy am I glad we did. The train was very nice, but I had a fun combination of motion sickness as well as altitude sickness, so I pretty much took some dramamine and passed out all day. The train ride was very pretty though, and I know Uncle Roger would have loved to see all the trains we got to ride on during this trip. We took pictures for him
Getting to the train station was a little hectic just because the traffic in Peru is craaaZy, AND the road to the train station was closed, but we made it there okay. Everyone honks all the time here, just as a way of telling people you´re coming. There are very few street lights, and you have to look both ways like five hundred times before crossing the street. Despite all of this, I did not, however, see any accidents yet. Interesting.
Anyway, so we rode the train out of town, and all the people came to the tracks to wave at us as we went by. It´s a beautiful little moment of belonging when that happens. It doesn´t matter who is on the train, they will wave at you. Especially the kids. The kids get SO excited when you wave back. I hope they all get a chance sometime in their life to hop the train and wave goodbye, even if just for a short while. I´m going to tangent right now for a moment, just because I am realizing on this trip how LUCKY I am to have been born where I was. To have the opportunity to come here. To travel. To choose my career. Good gracious, we are all so lucky. I can´t explain it. Actually, I´m quite thankful for all of the things that have happened in my life. Good and bad. Especially bad. I learned so many important things when I was so young that I really wish for some of the people I know to learn soon. I would have been a much different person if I hadn´t had to face some tough moments. I know that sounds so cliche, but what the hell, its quite true.
Back to the train. We got free pisco sours on the train, so I got to try Peru´s most famous drink. I didn´t drink very much since I had taken the medicine, but it was pretty good. Nothing too amazing, but hey I tried it! I don´t really like sour things very much, but it was alright. Then we had a fancy lunch included, and I got Andean sushi, vegetarian lasagne, black tea, and we had a yummy dessert of some sort of rice pudding and a mysterious pink fruit, all in a sugar-cone-like cup. It was really delicious. It reminded me of the black sticky rice at the thai place in missoula and how badly I want to go there right at this exact moment. Yum-o.
So after sleeping for most of the trip, I woke up and went to the open air observation car at the back of the train with Laura to watch Juliaca as we went through it and take some pictures. And, apparently, wave at people again. Unfortunately, this was also accompanied by some whistling and wildly inappropriate gestures from some of the men we passed. Oh, Peruvian machismo, how I will not miss you at all.
We arrived in Puno to discover that our hotel had not arranged a taxi to come pick us up like they said they would. So there we stood, out in the street, at night, in a strange city in a strange country where we hardly spoke the language. Good times. We got it figured out, but the hotel never did apologize for that. The hotel, also, was... um... a crap hole. I don´t want to think about it. It wasn´t THAT bad, but it was not a very nice place. But I think that in Puno, thats what most of the hotels were like. Puno was not a very friendly place. It was smelly, dirty, and the people were horribly unkind. A little old man who I´m pretty sure was drunk got up in my face one day and from my understanding of Spanish told me to get the &$%"!&% out of his way. So that was neat.
The next day, after sleeping fully clothed so our skin didn´t touch anything in our hotel room, we went for a tour on Lake Titicaca. This was also the day that we started to speak pig latin so we didn´t feel as awkward about not understanding people. Our tour guide was really nice and funny. His name was Angel. Except you don´t say it that way. We went to the Uros islands, which are floating reed islands. The only people who are allowed to live there are people that were born there, so the population is slowly declining. They have to continually replace the reeds on the top of the islands since the ones on the bottom rot. It´s pretty neat, actually, because they use the reeds for just about everything, and its all very cyclic and not wasteful. Laura took a ride in one of their reed boats, and I was too cheap to spend the money so I just took pictures of her.
Then we went to the Taquille island, which is an actual island in the middle of the lake. It was very pretty and we enjoyed our time just sitting and enjoying the views while the rest of our group ate lunch at the restaurant. On the way back a guy from Argentina and I chatted, and he was very nice. He looks EXACTLY like one of my friends from home, which freaked me out like crazy, so I´ll have to tell him when I get back that his twin is living in South America!
Later that evening we went to the Plaza and found a hotel to eat at. We got some thai-style noodles, which were delicious. However, they had a side of spinach and carrots with them, and Laura ate quite a bit of that. Pretty sure that´s why she´s been feeling quite ill for the last few days. I did finally convince her to take some medicine, so hopefully shé will be getting better soon. We also had some apple and fig (?) wontons for dessert, which were pretty yummy as well.
That night when we got back to our hotel we went up the hundreds of stairs to the top floor where the foosball table is and where they serve breakfast. It was very dark so we had to look out for the onsters-may. I charged my mp3 player upstairs since it sparked down in our room when I tried to plug it in, and I would rather not start a fire in Peru, and we also played some cards and some more bananagrams. We pretended like we were going to write our postcards, but that didn´t happen. It still hasn´t happened. Sorry folks. I´ll get on it soon.
The next morning we walked down to the bus station and dealt with the process of Laura being sick, waiting for hours for our bus, and then managing to get our tickets and get on the bus. It was sort of a blur and not that fun, so I´m going through it just as fast on here. We finally got on the bus, and made the 5 hour journey to Arequipa. They showed Pan´s Labyrinth and You, Me, and Dupree on the way, so I had something to focus on while I dealt with the motion sickness. I´m generally not that prone to it, but with the roads and transportation here, I´ve been getting motion sick just about everytime we´re on something that moves. Sometimes just walking down the street. No, I kid.
So, to summarize, I didn´t like Puno. At all. But at the same time, it was so good for me to go there, and I´m glad that I did. Because I needed the experience. That is what a lot of this trip is about for me, forcing myself to see the not so pretty side of life elsewhere. Even though I hated it, I´m glad our hotel sucked. I´m glad people yelled at me. And made me uncomfortable. But I´m also pretty glad to be gone from there now! I´m thankful for the experience though. It´s teaching me to not only be more aware of the unpleasant reality of life for some folks, as well as to be more thankful for what I have. Funny how that works.
Oh, I also want to touch on something someone told me before I left. They told me with such certainty that I would find that everywhere really is pretty much the same, just in a different location. I must say, not true.
Lyric o´the blog:
placed in neat little rows
Becoming a piece
of everything that grows
Some numbers, a name
to indicate you played the game
Came empty handed
and left the same
A soul is a soul
A shell is a shell
the border in between
is full of everything you´ve felt
Some cling to a cross
´cause they´re tired and lost
They leave it up to the weather
to measure the cost
And when the sould begins to reap
she´ll know me from the sleep
I keep caught in the corner
of my blood shot eyes
And if she has the nerve
to let me dump a couple last words
I´m ´a turn to the earth
and scream Love Your Life!
I never expected a bowl of cherries
I´m just a virgo
trynna find my own version
of the Virgin Mary
And when I let them carry me
to a cemetary
I wanna be buried
with a pocket full of clarity."