Day 14. .... Sitrep
Minimum sleep last night as I was on a coach from Cusco to Puno. We eventually arrived at just gone 5 this morning which as it turned out was perfectly timed to see the sun rise over lake Titicaca; it was one of those moments that will stick in the memory banks for a long time.
I was accosted by a 'Carlos' In the bus terminal, who was selling the usual tour packages you get offered every where. However in my tired state I somehow managed to ignore his strange odour and decided to try and save myself some hassle, by telling him exactly what I wanted to do today and asking how much would he charge to sort it all out? I estimate I was over charged by about 80 Peruvian soles, but when that equates to approximately £15 for removing the hassle of having to shop around I was happy, but still deeply suspicious about the root cause of the 'Carlos' aroma?
Great tour to the 'Star Gate' which is another ancient megalith with a strange mysterious local history to it involving gateways to other dimensions! (see 'The Signs').
We were harassed by the police on the way to the site, who were asking for cash but, in a strange role reversal that left me feeling very chuffed, I opted for the "no ablo Espanyol" approach, leaving the driver to pay up and generating a deep warm feeling that some of the £15 had been recovered.
HOWEVER. Whilst walking away from the star gate, a guy in a fluorescent vest appeared from thin air (this place is out in the middle of no where & it's not a monitored site) demanding 10 soles, all of which was accompanied by much nodding from my driver?
10 soles lighter, I asked the driver to follow me down the road with the car as I was going to to get a distance shot of the location. As I'm walking down the road, a guy who I guarantee was born at the beginning of the last ice age, sauntered towards me, stopped directly in my path, grabbed my hand in some Vulcan death grip, showed me his one toothed smile and, using 1000 year old sign language, informed me that he required 10 soles!
Feeling that I was slowly getting the grips with this place I told the 25000 year old emaciated corps in front of me, to go forth and multiply, at which he laughed loudly, walked forward 10 steps blocking the road and scrounged 10 soles off my driver!!!
On the way back into Puno I'm sure I passed Ewan Mcgreggor and his mate and film crew on their bikes. Be interesting to see if a South American trip is being filmed???
As I entered Puno I noticed that the smell I initially thought was 'Carlos' was in fact Puno itself, this smell can only be described as 'shit'. It also seems that this smell it replicates itself in the local cuisine, as instead of the double alpaca burger with cheese I ordered in the town square, I think I actually ate a shit sandwich.
As I type I'm about to cross the border into Bolivia and I'm heading for the Copacabana (the one on lake Titicaca), where Iv got a rather cracking looking hotel booked for the equivalent of two cigs and a wine gum.
Peru had been an amazing place, I recommend it to everyone.