The port of Puno

Well, Chad has now gone, leaving a big empty space in the group! 🙁 He was such an amazing tour leader and I was really sad to see him go, but our new leader Ysabel seems lovely and I’m sure she’ll make the rest of the trip just as enjoyable. I was glad to learn that she’s Peruvian, which is appropriate! Our group has also changed slightly again: Michelle has left and Jacquie joined us in La Paz.

I crossed the border into Peru this afternoon (my last country!), arriving in the small town of Puno. It sits on the shores of the stunning Lake Titicaca, which straddles both Bolivia and Peru and is apparently one of the highest lakes in the world. My jaw dropped lower and lower with every glance at the lake; I’ve never seen such clear, smooth, blue water in my life. I can’t wait for tomorrow when the whole group will get the chance to stay with families on one of the islands! 😀

One thing I’ve definitely noticed about Puno is the extent it has been affected by tourism, for better or for worse. Hordes of boys with polish and brushes in their hands line the plaza, practically forcing you to sit down so that they can shine your shoes. I politely refused one boy’s services (my trainers are actually brown now with all the dried in mud from my hikes and stuff, but they’re going to get even more wrecked on the Inca trail), saying that I might come back later if I had change. When I did walk back that way after using the internet, the same boy sought me out and waved his brush in my face! Thinking that the poor boy actually hunted me down in the massive crowd of people on the main street just for the possibility of earning some extra money made me feel quite strange.

There isn’t much to do here in Puno; it’s mainly a base for exploring Lake Titicaca. I can’t wait to go island-hopping tomorrow!

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